My parents made this a few times when I was a kid, and I still remember the enormous crock in the kitchen weighted down with a glass plate and a ten pound weight. Guests would come over and my parents would apologize. "Sorry for that ripe smell. I know it smells like something's going bad, but it's just the kim chi..."
I adapted this recipe to suit what I had on hand. The basic idea is so simple that you can easily make changes. Carrots are good in here, and chili powder is more traditional than red pepper flakes. My kids are scared of chili powder, but they will try something spiced with red pepper flakes, so I'm hoping for the best here. My dad adds dried anchovies to his kim chi, but I haven't fully embraced that particular addition yet. Eventually I want to try making sauerkraut and a few other ferments this way as opposed to salting them directly.
I own a gaggle of Korean cookbooks, but Cecilia Hae-Jin Lee's Eating Korean is my favorite. This recipe is adapted from her recipe for quick kim chi. .
2 small tender Napa cabbages sliced into 2 inch pieces
3 small tender daikon, peeled, halved lengthwise, and sliced into half inch moons
3 cucumbers, halved lengthwise and sliced into half inch pieces
1/4 cup coarse sea salt or kosher salt
2 tablespoons minced ginger
5 cloves of garlic, minced
red pepper flakes to taste (or chili powder)
1. Put the cabbage, daikon, and cucumber into a big bowl. Dissolve the salt in one cup of water and pour it over the vegetables. Stir it up a little with clean hands and set it aside overnight.
2. Strain the vegetables, but SAVE THE LIQUID. Add in the scallions, ginger, garlic, and red chili flakes. Mix it well and transfer the vegetables to a gallon jar. Smoosh and press the vegetables down and then pour the liquid over the top. Make sure there is at least one inch of space left at the top of the jar or it might bubble over as the vegetables ferment.
3. Leave it out on the counter for three to five days. I tasted my last batch at three days and it was ok, but tasted way better after at least five days. How much you like to let your kim chi ripen is a personal preference.
I love trying new foods, cooking, and gardening. I hope to share these experiences on this site. Thanks for taking a look!