Homemade Kimchi [RECIPE]

Good Morning Everyone!

How are you doing today? Happy Saturday to you! Yay! We made it to another weekend. Around my house things have been getting spicy and fishy… because of our annual Gimjang, or in other words, our annual kimchi-making gathering. For three years now I’ve been making a huge batch of kimchi to last us all year long. As a family of three, 10 pounds of kimchi will usually carry us until the end of the year. It all began a few years ago when I got really into Korean food.

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That k-pop laden country became something so much more when I curled up to watch “The Kimchi Chronicles” on Hulu. The small nation (divided) became a vast world of cultural traditions, a fascinating language spoken, and of course… a culinary adventure for me to dive into.

Kimchi. What is it and why should we bother eating it?

Kimchi is the Korean version of sauerkraut. Interestingly enough, when you examine food you can often times find parallel dishes across cultures. That is one thing that I love so much about cooking. Food can always bring people together. And like European dishes where fermented cabbage is paired with various meat dishes, so too is kimchi paired with meat in a variety of ways. However, in Korea kimchi is almost a way of life. It is a way to bring the family together to practice ancient agricultural methods.

It is a way of keeping traditions alive while creating a nutritious banchan (or side dish). Or, simply put, it’s one of those dishes that is far more than a condiment. It’s a… “if you have nothing else, at least you have kimchi and rice” type of dishes. Many people eat kimchi on its own! So why bother eating it? Well, it’s wonderful for digestion. The spices help speed up the metabolism, and it’s only 34 calories per cup! Now I’ll admit that yes, kimchi does get sour the longer it ferments, but fresh kimchi (which is my favorite) is spicy, flavorful, and incredibly tasty. You can take a simple fried pancake like the Japanese okonomiyaki (cabbage pancake) and ramp it up ten notches to create Kimchijeon (kimchi pancakes)!

Now I’ll admit that the first year I was nervous if it would be difficult to make kimchi. Three years in and I can tell you it couldn’t be easier. So here is the recipe below, folks, and I hope you give it a try. Have a wonderful weekend and as always, keep on cooking! 😀

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Homemade Kimchi

Yields: 10 pounds

Courtesy of: Maangchi

Ingredients:

  • 10 pounds Napa Cabbage
  • 1 cup salt
  • 1 lb. squid
  • 3 carrots
  • 1 daikon radish
  • 1 bunch green onions

For Porridge:

  • 3 cups water
  • 1/2 cup rice flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar

For Kimchi Paste: 

  • 1 cup fish sauce
  • 2.5 cups hot pepper flakes (Gochugaru on Amazon.com)
  • 1 cup minced garlic
  • 2 tbsp. minced ginger
  • 1 cup minced onion

Instructions: 

Begin by taking chopping up your cabbage into bite sized chunks. Discard discolored leaves.

Next, toss everything into a super large bowl or pot. Fill with cold water until the cabbage is submerged. Pour in 1 cup of salt and mix until well combined. Soak for 1.5 hours.

Then drain the cabbage and rinse off the salt as best that you can. Set aside.

Now it’s time to make the porridge. Think of this as the sticky part of the kimchi paste. It’s incredibly easy to make! In a saucepan over medium heat combine 3 cups of water, 1/2 cup of sweet rice flour and continually stir for several minutes until it thickens into a porridge. Then add 1/4 cup sugar. Stir to dissolve. Then set the pan aside to cool down completely.

Finally it’s time to make the kimchi paste! Grab your food processor. Add 1 cup of fish sauce, 1 cup minced garlic, 2 tbsp minced ginger, and 1 onion chopped. Blend until minced.

Meanwhile get ready to clean your squid. This is much easier then it looks. Pull off the head and remove the guts. Discard. Chop off the top of the tube to create a hole for water to run through. Then carefully pull out the backbone of the squid. (It will look like a plastic feather when you remove it!). Discard. Rinse the squid well and chop into bite sized pieces.

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Grab your porridge (now cooled) and add to a large bowl. Combine your kimchi paste mix of garlic, ginger, and onion into the porridge along with the chopped squid. Add 2.5 cups of hot chili pepper flakes and mix well.

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Now add your vegetables. Add the 3 chopped carrots, 1 daikon radish, and 1 bunch of green onions. Mix, mix, mix! (Pro tip: use a spiralizer if you have one to chop up the veggies. So much easier!)

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Add your chopped kimchi and mix (with gloved hands!) really well until the cabbage pieces are well coated.

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Store the kimchi in a sturdy Tupperware or kimchi container like this! Enjoy!

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