Kimchi is a traditional fermented Korean side dish made of vegetables with a variety of seasonings and staple dish number one. A few years ago when we had Koreans over for dinner, I had made some kimchi, they had not had any kimchi for over a week and finished everything.
There are many of varieties of kimchi made from chinese cabbage, radish, scallion, or cucumber as a main ingredient. One of my favorite kimchi when I lived in South Korea was the one made with cucumber.
This variation is a very traditional kind made with chinese cabbage
1 kg Chinese cabbage
1.5 dl sea salt
5-6 cloves crushed garlic
1 teaspoon finely grated ginger
1 teaspoon sugar
2-4 teaspoons shrimp paste
1-5 tablespoons Korean chili flakes
250 g daikon
Cut the cabbage lengthwise. Salt the cabbage, using your hands (gloves optional), massage the salt into the cabbage until it starts to soften a bit, then put the cabbage in a big container and add water to cover the cabbage. Put a plate on top and weigh it down with something heavy. Let stand for 1 to 2 hours
Rinse the cabbage under cold water 3-4 times and drain in a colander for 20-30 minutes with the cut surface turned downwards
Combine the remaining ingredients in a bowl except the daikon and scallions.
How much chili you want to use is up to you.
Gently squeeze any remaining water from the cabbage. Rub the seasoning paste on each of the cabbage leaves and try not to brake the cabbage, and put some shredded daikon and strips of scallion in between the cabbage leaves
The gloves are optional, but I highly recommended to protect your hands from stings, stains, and smell.
Pack the cabbage back together and cut the cabbage into 4-5 cm wide strips. Try to keep the cabbage together when you put them in clean jars.
The reason why I made the kimchi this way is that it will look nicer when served. But you can cut the cabbage into smaller bits before you salt and soak. Put everything in a clean bowl and just follow the same procedure.
Pack the kimchi into jars, pressing down on it until the brine rises to cover the vegetables. Leave at least 1 inch of head space and seal the jars.
Let the jar stand at room temperature for 1 to 5 days, remember to put the jars on a tray with edges. When the vegetables start to ferment bubbles might develop and brine may seep out of the lid.
Check the kimchi once a day, pressing down on the vegetables with a clean spoon to keep them submerged under the brine. This also releases gases produced during fermentation. Taste the kimchi and when the it tastes ripe enough for your liking, put the jars in the fridge. The kimchi is ready to eat, but i is best after a week or two.