Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Dec 4, 2007 05:36 PM

Kimchi mess. HELP!!!

I just made cabbage Kimchi and left it out two night to ferment on the counter. This morning, I opened the container and the liquid was bubbly, which I thought was good, until I prodded it with a chopstick and realised the damned thing was sticky. And stringy. And mucus like. And the cabbage pieces were stuck together in the mucus-like liquid. It smells, strong. Is it possible for Kimchi to be spoiled? Room temperature around here is generally 30-32 degrees C. The kimchi has rice flour in it but I don't think it's enough to give the stringy mucus like texture. And I'm not sure the cabbage was brined enough to begin with. Can anyone help, please???

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I'm pretty sure that the rice flour made it stringy and mucous like.....and after you put it in the fridge then it should probably subside a little bit.

    I'm pretty sure your kimchi is okay. Did you taste it?

    1 Reply
    1. re: bitsubeats

      thanks, I'll try putting it into the fridge. My husband tasted it last night. The strange thing is, I left it out for a night and a day and it was fine last night, the liquid was liquid. The mucus-like texture only kicked in this morning. And neither of us has dared to try and taste it.

    2. I've only tried making kimchi a couple of times, but I haven't seen a recipe that calls for rice flour. What is the flour for? I'd be interested to see your recipe if you feel like posting or linking to it!

      My biggest problem is that I failed to rinse off enough of the salt after brining the cabbage! My first two tries were intolerably salty.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Kagey

        I have a kimchi cookbook which calls for rice flour in a lot of the recipes, though I have never used one of those.

        1. re: Kagey

          rice flour is to add texture to the makes it thicker. I add it once in a while, but sometimes I don't feel it needs it. Depends on what kind of kimchi you are making.

          it's good to use when you want to stick a chunky sauce in between each cabbage leaf. If the sauce was thin, all the sauce would leak out....but when thick and chunky it'll stay in the leaves and stays on them when you smear them.

          1. re: bitsubeats

            Just curious - is the kimchee book japanese? Japanese kimchee is different. The only store bought kimchee I have ever had that had a thicker sauce was Japanese.

        2. I've made kimchee a few times but i've never used rice flour. In fact, i don't ever remember my mom or my sister using it when they make it.
          Did you put green onions in there? Sometimes that makes it mucus-y.
          Go ahead and taste it. I doubt it went off.
          If you can get over the texture, I'm sure it's fine.

          1 Reply
          1. re: hotsauce28

            Agreed. If you added a lot of chopped green onions, it will make it mucus-y.

          2. Rice flour is used in some versions of kimchi as both a flavor enhancer and a thickener. When used it is most often used with types of radish or green onion/scallion kimchi, but in some cities(region) the rice flour is used with cabbage kimchi.
            To get past the problems with too much thickening, you can substitute boiled rice water for the rice flour and get the same flavor benefit.
            As far as repairing the texture, I don't know of anything that would work.

            6 Replies
            1. re: hannaone

              I used a recipe off the kimchi making video I saw on Evil Jungle Prince's website. I added green onions, but only about a tiny sprig for a head of cabbage.

              I tossed it in the end. The container sort of had a mini explosion all over my counter by the end of the second day. The first thing that came to my mind on seeing the bloated container and blood-like splashes all over my counter was 'botulism'. Not good.

              Kagey, my first batch of Kimchi suffered from being deadly salty as well. I think I will lay off attempting any more kimchi making until my trip to korea next year when I can get someone there to teach me how to make it properly.

              1. re: Alex.Chen.Tay

                Sorry to hear about your having to throw it away. I don't blame you. The explosion couldn't be that encouraging...but at least you know you got the fermentation!

                You're so lucky you'll have the chance to learn from someone who knows. When you come back from your trip to Korea, you must post what you learn!

                1. re: Kagey

                  Kagey, what kind of kimchee are you trying to make?
                  I'm meeting my aunt and sister tonight and can ask them exactly what they do and let you know tomorrow.

                  1. re: hotsauce28

                    Thanks for that. I usually try to make regular cabbage kimchi. Some batches have been better than others!

                2. re: Alex.Chen.Tay

                  Very important to leave room for expansion in your container. Don't fill it all the way to the top. If you are letting it sit on a counter for more than 24 hours, check it and release some of the pressure.
                  Traditional Korean crocks let the pressure leak out as the kimchi ferments.

                  1. re: Alex.Chen.Tay

                    I've made kimchee several times now. Using hannaones' recipe and instructions, I have been very happy with the results! I'm not sure about the rice flour, the recipe I use doesn't call for that. I prefer a tangy, very spicy, sour and crunchy kimchee.
                    I am sorry to use my flickr account, but I am unable to upload a photo on ch...

                    I made this and left the jar on my pantry shelf to brew. The weather was pretty warm if I recall. It continued to ferment in the fridge but it will slow it down considerably. Hannaone should be able to direct you very well with this project, and also provide you with a very good recipe!
                    Note: Yes very important to release the pressur, smell it, and to flip it upside down to sit also (to ensure even fermentation). good luck!

                3. I posted a recipe for Napa Kimchi that several people, including chef chicklet, have used with good results.
                  Napa Cabbage Kimchi (Baekju gimchi)

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: hannaone

                    Tried to leave a comment to follow-up on the recipe page, unfortunately the submit a "comments" area is broken. Anyway.. thanks!

                    1. re: chef chicklet

                      Kagey, yeah the one thing living in the tropics has going for it is the amazing heat and humidity that will ferment anything. How it turns out is a whole other matter altogether. I can't wait to see how kimchi is done properly in Korean either. It's going to be one interesting trip.

                      Hannaone, thanks for the recipe. I'll try it when I can get the nerve up again.

                    2. re: hannaone

                      I will try it, thanks, hannaone. One question, though: how do you rinse the brine off? Do you soak, or just run under water? I'm asking because I've found it tricky to tell when I've rinsed it enough. But I'm also worried about rinsing too much in case there's too little salt left and instead of fermenting, it rots! I'm probably overthinking it, but would appreciate your thoughts.

                      1. re: Kagey

                        Just run under the water. You can taste test the cabbage for saltiness, if it still has a grainy texture from the salt/tastes very salty give it one more quick rinse.