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Should I attempt to make kimichi?!!

I LOVE korean food and my mother in law gives us tons of kimchi every few months but as the years are going by and I am starting to master more Korean recipes (I'm Korean by association ^_^) , the one thing I am too intimidated to attempt is making kimchi.
Does anybody have experience making some or is it going to be too hard/messy/easy to mess up,,,,?

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  1. Kimchi, kimichi (I've even seen it spelled Gimchi) is perhaps the easiest recipes I can call to mind. Just be sure that everything you use is impeccably clean (e.g. sterile) and you shouldn't have any problems.

    1. Please do try making some! I'm soooo not Korean (Irish-American, but in my defense, we do have our own cabbage thing going) but it's so easy, tasty, satisfying, and inexpensive. Instructions are easily available on the web. One good source: http://wildfermentation.com/

      I got my fermentation jars from this site:
      http://www.culturesforhealth.com
      but there's plenty of other places. Plus you don't actually need these, they just make it easier to keep things contained and clean.

      Would love to hear as you try and will try to help if you need. :)

      5 Replies
      1. re: DuchessNukem

        DuchessNukem - do you use Kefir Whey for your kimchi? I just made my first batch of kefir kraut, wondering if I can apply the same process to kimchi by using some of the recipes on this thread and simply adding a tbsp or so of the whey.

        Thanks!

        1. re: creativeusername

          Creative -- I just use whey from yogurtmaking. But seems no reason not to use kefir whey; when I googled "kimchi kefir whey", seems lots of folks use it. One discussion forum suggested it might make the kimchi mushy, but others seemed to have no troubles.

          Hoe did the kraut turn out? That's your first indicator of how the kimchi will go.

          1. re: DuchessNukem

            The kraut is delicious: crunchy, fresh, and with a bright flavor. Raw kraut is my new favorite sandwich condiment. I'll let you know how the kefir-kimchi goes!

            1. re: DuchessNukem

              fyi, kefir kimchi batch 1 turned out delicious. Not mushy at all. Super easy. And I'm lazy so I didn't pre-salt the cabbage like I've seen on some sights. For batch 2, I may a little more whey (I only used 1 tbsp for a quart jar...how much yogurt whey do you use?) and I will leave it to sit a couple more days before moving it to the fridge. I couldn't wait. It looked so good!

              1. re: creativeusername

                The basic recipe I use is Sally Fallon's from Nourishing Traditions (lots of really BAD science but terrific recipes). Four TBSP whey for 2 quarts of kimchi.

                Glad your kefir kimchi is great! This afternoon I'm decanting my mung bean kimchi, hope it's tasty.

        2. Yes, give it a go! Making kimchi at home has been very rewarding for me, especially because I am crazy about cucumber kimchi (so quick and delicious). I also love making my own napa cabbage kimchi because I can eat it fresh, as well as in soups and fried rice as it ages. I am still no expert, but my kimchi has definitely improved over the last few years. It's not as good as my mom's friend's, but better than buying it. I'd also use the expertise of your mother-in-law to find out any secrets she has to making her kimchi. My mom's korean friend always adds freshly chopped cayenne peppers. Good luck with this and I hope to read about your kimchi making soon.

          1. I've bookmarked the following site with all good intentions of making KImchi myself one day. This site has photos of each step along with the very easy looking recipe.

            http://drbenkim.com/how-make-kim-chi.htm

            1 Reply
            1. re: Gio

              Gio - thanks so much for this link! I just capped two large jars of this. I read your post this morning and got a craving for it. I didn't have time to go to the Asian market near me so I decided to try this with ground cayenne pepper instead. I think it worked beautifully! I also left out the pear because I forgot to pick one up. I made the onion/apple mixture in a blender and added the ginger and garlic to it, blended it all up and let it come to room temp while the cabbage soaked in the salt water. I also added some chopped carrots to the cabbage for extra crunch. I put it all together as instructed at the end of the day but night have gone a little overboard with the fish sauce, if such a thing is possible. It's crunchy, fiery, a little sweet, and has a depp fishy richness to it. Tomorrow night I'll put it in the fridge. Thank you so much for posting it.

            2. Whenever I went to a Korean market, I almost always purchased some Kimchi, but in the last year or so, I've notice it has basically doubled in price on the gallon size, and more so on the smaller sizes....all while the cost of the ingredients have not changed significantly in the same time frame.

              From a practical view, it makes sense to make it at home....especially,.as others have noted, how simple it is to make.