Kimchi recipe as requested:
2 very large bowls
1 large head napa cabbage, about 2 ½ to 3 lbs.
1/4 cup (4 tbsp) kosher or sea salt
1 1/2 cup water
1/4 cup sweet rice flour (also called mochiko flour, or chapssal garu) (optional, see below)*
1/2 cup pureed or minced garlic
1 tbsp pureed or minced ginger
1/2 cup pureed or minced onion
1/2 cup fish sauce
1 1/4 cup gochugaru (Korean hot pepper powder), or more or less depending on your spice preference
4-5 green onions, sliced into two-inch pieces
1/4 cup julienned carrot (optional)
1-2 leeks, sliced into two-inch pieces (optional)
Trim off the discolored outer leaves of the napa cabbage. Slice into fourths, remove the core, and chop into bite-sized pieces. Wash thoroughly.
Soak the pieces of cabbage in cold water, drain, and place into one of the two large bowls. Your next task is to make sure that each piece of cabbage is salted. In order to do this, I worked in batches, putting the cabbage batch by batch into the second bowl and salting each as I went. I used at least 1/4 cup of salt for one head of napa cabbage, if not a bit more.
After salting, the kimchi will need to wilt in the salt for the next 1 ½ to 2 hours. Every 30 minutes, turn the cabbage over to salt evenly. I just transferred the cabbage from one bowl to the other every 30 minutes.
After 1 1/2 hours, the cabbage should have shrunken to about half the size it was originally. Rinse the cabbage in cold water several times (I did it in batches in a smaller bowl) to clean it thoroughly, then drain. At this point, taste it to make sure it’s salted enough. If it’s not salty at all, you may need to add more salt and let it soak for a bit longer.
Next, make the porridge. Combine 1 1/2 cups of water and 1/4 cup sweet rice flour in a small pot over high heat and bring it to a boil. Keep stirring until the porridge makes thick bubbles – about three to five minutes – then take it off the heat and set aside to cool.
Once the porridge is cool, add 1/2 cup of fish sauce, 1 1/4 cups of gochugaru (depending on your taste), 1/2 cup of minced garlic, 1 tbsp of minced ginger, and 1/2 cup of minced onion to the porridge and mix thoroughly. You can also purée the garlic, ginger, and onion together in a blender or food processor before adding.
Add the green onions and carrot and mix thoroughly. You can also add leek if you have it.
Finally, pour the kimchi paste over the drained cabbage and mix by hand until all pieces are well-coated. (Again, I did it in batches.) Finally, store in airtight glass or plastic containers. The kimchi will need to ferment at room temperature for at least 24-48 hours before it is ready to eat. You will know when it’s ready when the lid pops when you open it and you can see bubbles rising to the surface. (It’ll also announce itself with a very strong smell.) If you want to eat fermented kimchi right away, go ahead and leave it at room temperature right after jarring it. If you’d like to keep some for later, put it straight into the fridge without letting it ferment at room temperature. Then, when you’re ready to eat, take it out and let it sit at room temperature for the required time. It will likely only take one day, rather than two, depending on how long it’s been in the fridge.
*If you don’t have sweet rice flour, it’s fine – all the flour does is help create a porridge to more evenly distribute and infuse the kimchi paste flavor. Just replace the mochiko flour with 1 tbsp sugar to make up for the sweetness
We don’t usually have any real garlic, so we use more elephant garlic, which is technically a leek.
I recommend the rice flour, it really helps. Also the pepper is a little too much for most people. And the optional carrots do make it better I think. And I like it heavy on salt. But all of that is personal preferences. And it can be kept in a refrigerator for a long time. We are still eating some of last year’s batch. It gets a little stronger over time.