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Sep 9, 2009 01:34 PM

Making kimchi - who has a great recipe?

I have made kimchi a number of times and am trying to perfect my recipe. I notice that some people salt the cabbage when it's quartered, while others cut the cabbage into smaller pieces before salting, so there's no chopping of salted cabbage required.

What do you do? What is your recipe?

Any recipes welcome, even if they diverge from the common napa cabbage kind.

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  1. i am not a kimchi expert but do make it quite regularly, and have learned from my mom so very little precision of ingredients are involved. here are some things i have learned over the years:

    for me, the size of the cabbage varies depending how long I want to store the kimchi: if I am doing a long term kimchi, jars that will keep for few months with slower fermentation time, I cut the cabbage in half or quarters, salt, drain then pickle with chili paste-garlic-fish sauce. if I am doing a kimchi that i want to eat within days, i cut the cabbage into bite size or tear them into strips before salting to wilt, then pickling, as i find these ferment faster (also helped by keeping it outside the fridge for a day or two)

    if I am doing the larger cabbage halves or quarters, i have found it is enough to soak them in a warm-water-salt brine for a few hours without the need to salt them overnight (as that was traditionally done, by my mom anyways); i make this by taking boiled hot water, adding salt, then adding more water to make enough to cover the pail/bowl of prepared (washed/cut) cabbage; it should be as warm but not hot (smthg like the heated milk bottle you would give to your baby)

    as to the amount of salt in the brine, i have found that it is enough if the tastes just right to your tongue ie. not as salty as dill pickles, say, but like a nicely salted chicken soup broth - that usually signals enough salt for my kimchi.

    for more precise recipes, i recommend www.maangchi.com whose instructions are very easy to follow and usually accompanied by a video

    i usually use the same kimchi seasoning recipe to make the following kimchis:
    cucumber, radish, rapini, perilla leaves, green onion

    have fun!

      1. re: hannaone

        Some pics of my wife's kimchi making

        1. re: hannaone

          Oh wow, thanks!!! Your wife is quite the kimchi queen!!!

        2. Are you supposed to wash off the salt, or just not put too much on so that it will not be too salty?

          4 Replies
          1. re: luckyfatima

            We always rinse the cabbage after brining and prior to seasoning.

            1. re: hannaone

              Ah, okay. The recipe I used a couple of times didn't mention what to do at that step. It came out really salty the first time, but I used less salt a few other times. I will try rinsing next time I make it.

              By the way, if I don't havde brined baby shrimps or sand lance sauce available, what other subs can I use? I thought a Thai fish sauce would be too weak, but Thai fish paste is available where I live...would that suffice or what else should I sub?

              1. re: luckyfatima

                I use fish sauce with my kimchi and make a paste using onion, ginger, garlic, and hot pepper powder.

                1. re: luckyfatima

                  Fish sauce or fish paste are both good subs. Just be sure to taste as you go since different brands have different strengths.

            2. I am posting my kimchi recipe for Davwud. I have used a variety of recipes, and modified them to my own taste. Everybody has their own preferences, so ingredients can be adjusted accordingly, including the amount of ginger, garlic, onion, red pepper powder, and fish sauce. Enjoy!

              2 Napa cabbages
              1 Korean radish
              1/2 cup kosher salt, plus more, if needed

              6 green onions, chopped into 2" lengths and then chopped again lengthwise into slivers
              1/2 bunch Chinese chives, chopped into 2" lengths
              1 bunch Korean watercress, chopped into 2" lengths

              2 heads garlic (about 25 cloves)
              3" piece of ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
              1 white onion, roughly chopped
              1-2 cups fish sauce
              2-3 cups Korean hot pepper powder

              Cut the cabbage in half lengthwise.
              Cut the core of each half in half again, but not the leaves. (Leave the leaves intact.)
              Soak them in water for a few minutes, then rinse them, and give them a little shake to get most of the water off. (They don’t need to be dry!)
              Sprinkle about ¼ cup salt on radish cubes, just so coated and set aside in non-reactive bowl.
              Salt cabbage by lifting leaves, layer by layer, and rubbing salt in between. Set aside in non-reactive bowl.
              After two hours, turn the radish and the cabbage, so they are evenly coated in the salt/salty brine.
              After two more hours, rinse the cabbage and radish with cold water three times.
              In a food processor fitted with the blade, put the paste ingredients except the Korean hot pepper powder. Blend until all ingredients are finely minced and a paste forms. You may need more or less of each ingredient, depending on the flavour and texture of the paste—and your preference!
              Add the hot pepper powder and blend just until mixed. Taste to check that you like it! Make adjustments, if not...
              Mix the paste with the chives, watercress, and radish.
              Wearing gloves, spread this mixture onto each cabbage leaf and place the cabbage into an air-tight glass or plastic container by alternating layers of cabbage and the radish mixture.
              Place the sealed containers into a cool place for 24 hours; after 24 hours, the kimchi should be bubbling a little bit. (If not, you can leave it up to another day or so.) Put the containers into the refrigerator.

              Note: I don't wear gloves, hahaha, but some might need to. Also, I usually put my kimchi in those glass "snap-lock" containers. When serving the kimchi, I take it out of the container, piece by piece and chop into 1 - 2" lengths.

              1. Hope this isn't too off topic (wasn't sure if I should revive this thread or start a new one) but I was wondering if anyone has any experience using "NOH Kim Chee Seasoning" for their paste - while looking for Korean hot pepper powder, it was all I could find in our local stores and I'm not sure if I should give it a try or just wait until I have the proper ingredients to make my paste fro scratch.