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Recipe: Spicy Kimchi (Kimchee)

  • Author: Katie Kimball

Scale

Ingredients

  • 1/2 head green cabbage or Chinese cabbage, shredded
  • 1 bunch green onions or 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 1 c. shredded carrots
  • 3 cloves crushed garlic
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper (dried)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/4 c. whey

Instructions

  1. Mince garlic (I use the food processor).
  2. Shred the cabbage or slice with a knife.
  3. Grate carrots.
  4. Slice green onions or red onion.
  5. Mix all the chopped vegetables together in a large bowl.
  6. Add the crushed red pepper and sea salt, and 1/4 cup whey (from yogurt or other cultured things, not just cheesemaking).
  7. Stir everything together well. Cover with a tea towel (or lightly with the lid would work too) and let sit for 30 minutes as the salt pulls the juice out of the vegetables (over processing also helps do that!).
  8. You need to bang and smash your cabbage to get the juices to come out. You can use a potato masher, a meat hammer, or even the bottom of your measuring cup. Pretend you’re angry with the cabbage. It feels good to get your aggression out in an acceptable way!
  9. You can let it go another 30 minutes, which I recommend, and then mash and smash once more. When you have some good juices seeping, it’s time to load into jars. One half of a normal sized green cabbage or one whole Chinese cabbage tends to fill one quart jar, which is what this recipe is written for. Press the vegetables down with a spoon or your fist to try to keep them submersed in the liquid as much as possible, adding a bit of filtered water if necessary.
  10. Cover your jars with clean lids and leave at room temperature to ferment 3-10 days. Check the contents and press down with a clean fist or utensil a few times during the first day especially to keep the veggies under the liquid.
  11. Taste as you go to determine when to put the jars into the refrigerator to “finish.” I recommend writing the date you began on your jars.
  12. How to serve:
  13. Usually these fermented vegs are eaten as a condiment, a little bit on the side of the plate to be eaten before a meal. Sometimes they’re mixed in with rice or on top of a soup or eggs, perhaps, but careful not to cook it or get over 116F so the enzymes and probiotics aren’t killed.
  14. Cook’s Notes:
  • If your home is warmer or cooler than 70F, the ferments will just move faster or slower. Watch more carefully at higher temps or find an alternate place to ferment (basement?).
  • If you have to leave your ferments and go on vacation, you can refrigerate, then put back on the counter and it will continue fermenting after a break.
  • Mold? I know, problem. Gross. BUT. With should be able to scoop the mold off the top, and as long as everything else is submerged, it’s likely ok to eat. Trust your nose.
  • Lacto-fermented foods keep for months in cold storage. Make your best attempt to push the veggies back down into the liquid after serving each time.
  • Bubbles? Yes! That’s normal and tells you your fermentation is working!
  • If your lid is tight, open it every day to “burp” the air bubbles.
  • Dairy free? Don’t have whey? Just double the salt, omit the whey, and you’re rocking and rolling again!