Chinese cabbage kimchi

Chinese cabbage kimchi

By
From
Good Better Green
Makes
makes-medium-large jar

Please trust me when I say that this is simpler than it looks. Kimchi is chock-full of healthy gut-supportive probiotics and really quite delicious, adding spice and pizzazz to almost anything, from roast chicken or fish, to pancakes and polenta. The method of blending the apple with the spices is something I learnt from food preservationist extraordinaire, Michaela Hayes of Crock & Jar. I have kept this version vegan, so replaced the traditional fish or shrimp sauce with kelp flakes. But do add some sauce if you like – it is more authentic that way.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
1 head chinese leaf, you could also use green, white or Savoy cabbage, although the end result will be slightly different
65g unrefined coarse sea salt
6 garlic cloves
1cm piece of ginger, peeled and grated
2 shallots, roughly chopped
1 apple, cored and roughly chopped
2 tablespoons tamari
large pinch kelp ­flakes
2 tablespoons water
1-5 tablespoons gochugaru or regular dried chilli ­akes
3 medium carrots, peeled and cut into matchsticks or thin rounds
5 spring onions, green and white parts, trimmed and cut into 5mm slices
150g radishes, trimmed and halved if large

Method

  1. Cut the cabbage lengthways into quarters and then across into 4–5cm strips. Put into a large bowl with the salt. Massage the salt into the cabbage until it starts to soften (I usually wear kitchen gloves to do this), then add enough cold water, ideally filtered, to cover the cabbage. Put a plate on top, weigh it down with a few cans and set aside to brine for 2–3 hours.
  2. Rinse the cabbage well under cold water to get rid of most of the saltiness and set aside to drain in a colander for 30 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, process the garlic, ginger, shallots, apple, tamari, kelp flakes, if using, and water in a small food processor or using a stick blender, until you have a smooth paste. Mix in the gochugaru, using 1 tablespoon for a mild version and up to 5 for a spicy end result (I usually use 2½).
  4. Mix the paste into the carrots, spring onions and radishes. Gently squeeze any remaining water from the cabbage and return it to the bowl along with the vegetables and paste. Mix thoroughly with a large spoon or gloved hands.
  5. Pack the kimchi into a large jar that has ample room at the top to avoid any overflow, pressing down firmly on it until the juices rise to cover the vegetables. On the first day, the liquid might not be quite enough to cover all the vegetables, but it should be by day 2 at the latest. Seal the jar with the lid.
  6. Let the jar stand at room temperature for 2–5 days, checking and tasting it daily, always pressing the vegetables down under the liquid with a clean spoon. Remember to do this at least once a day, as you don’t want the gases to build up and the jar to explode. As soon as you like the taste, transfer to the fridge. I prefer my kimchi when it is not overly fermented or “ripe”, so usually eat it within a few weeks of transferring it to the fridge, but it keeps well for several months if covered in brine and refrigerated.
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