Jars of bright-red homemade kimchi

Kimchi

  • makes 1kg
  • Easy

Time and patience is what you need to make kimchi, a Korean staple of fermented vegetables. This makes a perfectly soothing weekend project

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Make this easy kimchi recipe, then check out our alternative versions such as cucumber kimchi and red cabbage kimchi. We’ve got lots of recipe ideas for using this homemade fermented cabbage, including kimchi noodles, kimchi grilled cheese toastie and kimchi-baked tofu

Also read our guide on how to make kombucha for another fermentation project to try at home.

Deliciously sour, spicy and umami, kimchi is the national dish of Korea. It’s traditionally made with cabbage, though it can be made from almost any vegetable and can vary in levels of heat and funkiness. This is my take on a classic cabbage kimchi. You can leave out the fish sauce to make this vegan – although it does add a pleasing savoury depth.

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Ingredients

  • chinese leaf cabbage 1
  • sea salt flakes 1 tbsp
  • rice flour 1 tbsp
  • onion 1, chopped
  • garlic 4 cloves
  • ginger a thumb-sized piece
  • gochugaru (Korean chilli flakes – see cook’s notes below) 60g
  • fish sauce 50ml (use tamari for a vegan kimchi)
  • mooli ½, peeled and cut into matchsticks
  • carrot 1 medium, cut into matchsticks
  • spring onions 3, cut into 3cm pieces

Method

  • Step 1

    Cut the cabbage into four long wedges, then chop into 8cm pieces and tip into a bowl. Sprinkle the salt evenly over everything and toss well. Turn every 30 minutes for 2-3 hours until the cabbage has softened. Rinse lightly under cold running water, then drain well.

  • Step 2

    Put the rice flour in a small pan with 100ml of water and cook over a medium heat, stirring, until a thick paste forms.

  • Step 3

    Whizz the onion, garlic and ginger in a blender until completely smooth (add a few tsp of water to loosen if needed), then tip into a bowl with the gochugaru and fish sauce. Use three-quarters of this paste to massage into the cabbage – you should notice some liquid forming in the bowl. Add the mooli, carrot and spring onions, and the remaining marinade, and mix everything really well.

  • Step 4

    Pack everything tightly into a 1-litre jar, pressing to remove any air pockets, then pour over any liquid from the bowl. When you press the mixture down there should be liquid that rises up to keep everything submerged. If not, dissolve 1 tsp of salt into 100ml of just-boiled water, then pour this over the top. Use a fermentation weight or wrap a piece of cardboard in foil and use a tin of beans on top to keep the cabbage underneath the liquid. Close the lid or cover with a piece of kitchen paper secured with an elastic band. Leave at room temperature for 1-2 days in a cool, dark place, tasting it twice a day until it is beginning to sour and become a little funky.

  • Step 5

    Transfer to a plastic tub with a good seal on the lid (it keeps the smell in) and keep in the fridge. The longer you have it, the funkier it gets. It will keep for a month in the fridge.

Cook's notes

Gochugaru are Korean chilli flakes. They’re mild in flavour with a slight fruitiness and give a bright, vibrant red colour. Available online and in Chinese and Asian grocers.


Find more Korean-style recipes here

Korean Chicken Stew Recipe with Gochujang

 

Nutritional Information

  • Kcals 27
  • Fat 0.5g
  • Saturates 0.1g
  • Carbs 3.8g
  • Sugars 2.2g
  • Fibre 1.4g
  • Protein 1.2g
  • Salt 2.3g
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