My Mom’s Kimchi Recipe
I’m not sure what took me this long to begin making kimchi. I hadn’t always loved kimchi. As a child, I wanted nothing to do with it. As I got older, my mom would make kimchi jigae (with hot dogs and bacon) and my brother and I would only eat the spicy meat discarding the kimchi. It wasn’t until I became an adult that I finally acquired the taste for sour, fermented cabbage! I think that kimchi is seeing its spotlight as American palates, too, have come around. I have assisted my mother a handful of times when making kimchi, but I asked her to walk me through the recipe. The tough thing with Korean moms though is that they don’t keep recipes. They always say, “season to taste” so they throw in a little bit of this and a little bit of that until it tastes the way they want. When I sat with my mom to make kimchi, whenever she threw in a little bit of this and a little bit of that, I caught it before it hit the bowl and I measured the ingredients. I took notes and took photos. I have now made kimchi from this recipe and I feel comfortable sharing it with you. My mom is my hero and the greatest person I know and it means the world to me that I can finally make this beloved Korean dish. I hope you give it a shot and share it with your loved ones!
NOTE: THIS IS FOR ONE HEAD OF CABBAGE. I RECOMMEND STARTING WITH ONE HEAD OF CABBAGE AND THEN AS YOU ADD MORE HEADS OF CABBAGE, MULTIPLY THE FOLLOWING INGREDIENTS.
Head of Chinese Cabbage
½ pound of daikon radish (diced into ½ inch squares)
½ cup of Korean Salt
3 tablespoons of rice flour
half a yellow onion (or 6 green onions)
8 garlic cloves
2-3 tablespoons of raw ginger
½ cup of Korean red pepper powder (Gochugaru, add more if you want it spicier)
3 tablespoon of salted shrimps (IF MAKING VEGAN, REPLACE SALTED SHRIMPS WITH RED MISO PASTE, SAME MEASUREMENTS)
Inspect the Chinese cabbage and discard any bad leaves. Quarter the head of cabbage, cut out the triangle stalk in the cabbage and discard. Chop the cabbage into 2 inch pieces. Wash, rinse, and clean the cabbage. Drain as much of the water as you can. Add ½ cup of Korean salt slowly into the wet cabbage doing your best to evenly distribute the salt throughout the cabbage. Let the cabbage sit in the salt for 3 to 4 hours stirring occasionally to continue to distribute salt throughout all the cabbage. While you wait for the cabbage, boil 1.5 cups of water. As the water boils, slowly add the rice flour, constantly stirring. Once you’ve stirred the rice flour into the water and the water starts to boil again, put a lid on the pot, and take off heat. Put the pot in the refrigerator for 20 to 30 minutes to cool the rice flour mix more quickly. In a food processor, process the onion, garlic cloves, ginger, and a cup of the cooled down rice flour mix. Add the processed ingredients with the remaining rice flour mix. Put to the side. After the cabbage has been sitting for 3 to 4 hours, rinse the cabbage twice. Do your best to drain as much of the excess water as you can. Dice the daikon into 1/2 inch squares. Add the daikon to the washed cabbage. Get the onion/garlic/ginger/rice flour mix and add it to the cabbage mix. Add red pepper powder and salted shrimp. Mix thoroughly. Taste some and if you want more spice, add more red pepper powder. Jar the kimchi and let ferment for about 48 hours at room temperature. Put it in your fridge and enjoy whenever you are in the mood for kimchi. Make sure you put it in the fridge for a little while before opening as it could explode! The kimchi will continually ferment even in the fridge. Share with the people you love! Kimchi is meant to be shared!