Hi Gudrun and Tim,
Here is one of my recipes for 배추(cabbage) 김치 (kimchi), this is a 'base' recipe and you can adjust it for your taste. Don't be afraid to try new things.
I usually make 2 standard size kimchi "jars" at a time, and this recipe reflects that.
Ok, we are going to start with 5 medium to large "Napa" also called "Chinese" cabbages and two cups of natural sea salt, do not use table salt.
1. Discard any outer leaves that are obviously damaged. Don't get carried away, a little nick or bruise is not a problem.
2. Quarter the cabbages -slice the cabbages in 1/4ths from top to bottom, next knock off some of the excess inner yellow leaf tips, you don't need that many of the fine thin parts in your kimchi.
3. Rinse the cabbage quarters and set them in rack or large colander to drain off excess water for a few minutes.
4. Apply a thin coat of sea salt to the cut surfaces of the cabbage quarters, if you can imagine how much of the coarse sea salt would stick to the cut surfaces if the surface were pressed against the salt, that is about the right amount.
5. Set the salted cabbage slices in a colander or rack where then can drain easily and allow them to "weep" for about 4 to 6 hours as much as 2-3 quarts of water can weep out of the cabbage.
6. Rinse the cabbage in fresh cold water and allow it to drain while you make the sauce.
Note, I use the "handful" method of measuring but here is a close approximation for this recipe):
* Salted baby shrimp (you can just use shrimp) 1/4 cup
* Fish = Pollock or Oyster or Crab 1/2 cup
* Korean red pepper 2 cup
* Natural sea salt 1/2 cup
* Green Onion 3 bunches
* Garlic 1/2 cup
* Ginger 1/4 cup
* Large white Korean radish (무) 1
* Carrot 3 large
* Seaweed (미역) 2 tablespoons - finely ground (blender or coffee grinder)
* Honey 1 tablespoon -or- a ground pear
A word about the red pepper - a dark earthy red is generally a milder spice and more robust flavor than the more orange colored ones -- look for BIG flakes -- make sure it's "Korean" if it says "Product of China" on the bag do yourself a favor and put it back on the shelf. I recommend a blend of at least two red peppers, one for heat and one for flavor. I like my kimchi hot!
7. Grind the salted baby shrimp and "fish" in blender with 1/2 cup water and pour through fine strainer, and press; we will only be using the liquid. Coarsely dice garlic and ginger (do not blend), coarsely grate the radish and carrots, slice the green onion into bite size lengths.
8. Mix sauce ingredients in a large bowl.
9. Now put all the ingredients together in a new large plastic kitchen/cooking bag (a new kitchen trash bag works too but they are probably not designed for having food in them) tie the top of the bag and work the bag around until the sauce is evenly distributed. The Old Method is to apply the sauce to the cabbage in large tub. Be sure to work the sauce between the leaves.
Now the hard part, getting the salt right:
10. Taste a thick part of several cabbage leaves and adjust the salt. If it tastes a little too salty you are probably ok, after it ripens it should be all right, if it tastes way too salty you probably let the cabbage weep too long or put too much salt on it to start - anyway let it ferment and if it is still too salty use it in soup or kimchi pancakes 부침개. If it tastes a little insipid you need to add only slightly more salt at a time and wait... and taste again. Be careful because coarse sea salt does not 'melt' immediately so it may not taste salty right away. A rule of thumb is that a freshly mixed batch should taste just slightly more salty than you want the finished batch.
Once the the ingredients are all well mixed place your kimchi in the desired containers. Pack it down tight but leave some space at the top, be sure to leave jar with lid slightly loose for initial fermentation or the jar can burst -- at very least the lid will pop. Of course you can also use the square plastic kimchi tubs. I just started using them and find them much more convenient than the old glass jars. I usually put one jar in the refrigerator right away, and leave the other one out on kitchen counter 1-3 days to start ripening a little faster. However you don't want the kimchi to ripen too quickly or it changes the flavor. Also remember it will ripen much faster in warmer weather. They tell me a kimchi refrigerator is best but I've never used one.
Real kimchi is a fermented food and is VERY high in "good" bacteria (great for digestion) when ripe, I have personally seen this under high powered microscope and it is amazing, the numbers are staggering.
Good luck with your kimchi making and
Last edited by trutherous on June 13th, 2010 6:35 am, edited 3 times in total.