Kimchi has been one of my favorite things to eat for as long as I can remember. Unfortunately, many of the store bought brands have preservatives in them that do not allow fermentation to happen. Once I learned that a couple years ago, I began making my own. After years of friends asking me for the recipe, I am finally ready to share – I just needed time to get the taste down to my exact liking.
This is what you’ll need:
- 2 heads of Napa cabbage
- kosher salt
- Half a bulb of garlic (More if you prefer more, less if you prefer less)
- 1 medium onion
- a chunk of fresh ginger (again… add more if you like a prevalent ginger flavor)
- 5 organic green onions
- coarse hot pepper powder (found at the Asian food store)
- HOT chili powder (optional)
- Red Boat fish sauce (optional)
- Food processor
Now here’s how you do it…
Buy two or three heads of Napa Cabbage (2 large or three small). I have seen organic Napa at a select few places, and I always prefer that to conventionally grown, but use what you have available. Clean with cold water, rinsing in-between each leaf as well as you can.
Cut the cabbage in half length-wise and rinse again with cold water. Then cut a small slit into the core of the cabbage as seen below:
Sprinkle Kosher salt in between each leaf, gently massaging the salt into the leaf and be sure to get down towards to core. The salt gives the cabbage flavor and also tenderizes it.
After I am finished salting, I pile up the cabbage into a large pot and leave them for two hours. Then I turn them over and let them sit for two more hours. There are ways to speed up this process, but from my experience, I personally enjoy the flavor and texture best when I salt the cabbage for four hours. Towards the end of the four hours, I’ll clean and prep my garlic, onion, green onions and ginger.
After salting, rinse the cabbage with cold water 3-4 times to remove the salt.
Now it’s time to grab the food processor. Toss in the garlic, ginger and onion. Pulse until it is evenly chopped up and put into a bowl.
Cut up the green onions into about 1″ pieces. I use the green and white portion. Add the green onions to the bowl as well. Then add in the hot pepper powder(s). The amount of heat you want your kimchi to have will determine how much hot pepper you add but I add about 1 cup of the powders total.
Then add 1-2 tablespoons of fish sauce. I specifically say Red Boat fish sauce because it is only made from black anchovies and sea salt – no added water, no MSG, no preservatives.
Mix everything together and there you have your kimchee base.
Grab the Napa cabbage, remove the cores and chop it up into bite size pieces. Once you have chopped it all up, grab the kimchi base and combine it with the cabbage.
Once mixed evenly, store the kimchee in sanitized, air-tight jars and leave on the counter for 5-7 days. You must “burp” the kimchi daily – this means open the jar, push down the cabbage and let any excess air escape. I do this twice a day, but I’m kind of obsessive over and I like to take a big wiff of it too. After 5-7 days, store in the fridge.
You do not have to follow my recipe exactly. I tried a lot of different versions before I found what I liked best. Play around with the ingredients until you come up with what you like. If you are looking for a very hot kimchi, add more spice. It will turn out great no matter what. No two batches ever turn out exactly the same. I suggest taste testing the kimchi daily so you can see how as it ferments, the taste changes.
I’ve learned that kimchee makes everything taste better so be adventurous!
Megan June says
Ok. That sounds simple enough. I might have to make that this summer.
Can you tell me how summer heat might change the fermenting times? We don’t have air in our new place. Fermenting may be different at 67 degrees as compared to the 90 degrees I plan to endure this summer in my kitchen. I could ferment them downstairs in the basement. Yes. Problem solved. Unless you have another better Soloution. Thanks for the not-scary-at all recipie!
Yep! You answered your own question… keep it in the cool basement, just don’t forget about releasing the air daily or you’ll end up with a red kitchen like Eric and Rhonda did a couple months ago 😉
Allison A says
Yum. I had kimchee with bone broth this morning. Does it get any better?
Such an overachiever you are 🙂
It is truly the best thing ever. I can’t stop making bowls of it. The kimchee flavoring makes the broth taste so perfect. Mmmm I actually just finished a bowl myself, AFTER dinner. haha
This looks quite tasty I will have to try it!
the RIB KING AKA Captain Heavy says
Stephanie i hear you make a killer pickle beets can you place it on the website
thank you Rib King AKA captain Heavy
I will work on getting that recipe up for you!
Just delicious; I think, if I made this for my family, I would add pepper flakes to reduce the heat. This is a great idea to get veggies while spicing it up.
I’ve never had this before nor have heard of it. Would love to try it,but most definitely will not be making it,(cooking challenged) lol what origin is it?
It’s actually Korean.
My husband has a friend that eats kimchee and it STINKS! Does it stink? Just curious!
My husband says it stinks too, but personally, the smell of garlic and ginger just makes my mouth water. You either love it or hate it. I LOVE it!!!
Looks yummy!!! WIll be trying this!! Thank you for sharing.
Allison A says
Just got done with my third batch 🙂 I added some cayenne pepper and smoked paprika to the recipe, worked great. Thanks again for posting this.
Bali tour says
Thanks for the recipe