I *love* Korean food but as any vegan knows, it is one of the most vegan unfriendly cuisines out there. I miss kimchi a lot so I finally decided to make my own. Korean shops are pretty rare around these parts so I had to order my Gochugaru (Korean red pepper powder/flakes) from HMart (along with a ton of other stuff including red pepper paste for other dishes).
I tried a few months ago but did not have the proper ingredients — namely Gochugaru. Despite what others say, it can NOT be substituted! Anyway, that first attempt was a total failure. This is attempt number two and even though it hasn't fermented yet, I think this is going to be very tasty. It was hard not to keep munching on it when I was mixing it up.
The picture above is my version of cabbage kimchi with radish, green onions, garlic and ginger ready to ferment. My "recipe" is a combination of a bunch of different ones I've seen on the internet and in a couple of cookbooks. I included a range for amounts of the last few ingredients because everyone's tastes vary. Next time I'll probably add even more Gochugaru!
Cabbage & Radish Kimchi
1 large head nappa cabbage
salt water (ratio: 4 cups water + 1 tbsp salt) or 1/4 to 1/2 cup salt (see step 1)
1 small bunch green/spring onions, chopped
1 bunch mild radish, sliced (I used "easter egg" radish because I didn't have daikon)
2 tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp minced ginger
1 to 2 tbsp sugar (to taste)
2 to 4 tbsp soy sauce (to taste)
2 to 6+ tbsp gochugaru (to taste)
salt (optional, to taste)
- Clean and chop cabbage into 2" pieces and place in a large bowl and use either the less salty or saltier method.
For a less salty kimchi, cover the cabbage with salt water mixture and weight cabbage down with a plate so that it is completely submerged. Leave out for 4 hours.
For a saltier kimchi, sprinkle the kimchi with 1/4 to 1/2 cup salt and mix well. Leave out for 1.5 to 2 hours.
- Drain and rinse cabbage well and squeeze out as much water as possible. Toss with the green onion, radish, garlic and ginger.
- In a bowl, mix the sugar, soy, gochugaru, salt (optional, to taste) and a little water so that it becomes a medium-paste (not too thick and not too thin). I used about 4 tbsp of gochugaru in the picture above but then later added 3 more tbsps (I like things spicy!). Mix the paste with the cabbage mixture until every piece of cabbage is coated. Taste a piece and adjust seasonings accordingly. If it's too salty for your tastes, add some extra water.
- Put the cabbage mixture in a tupperware or large jar and cover tightly. If you prefer your kimchi "fresh" and unfermented, you can eat it now or put it directly in the fridge. If you like kimchi more traditional (i.e., fermented), then leave out at room temperature for 2 to 4 days to ferment and then put in the fridge. Fermentation depends on temperature so the warmer it is, the faster it ferments. When you see tiny air bubbles in the kimchi, it means it's fermenting so depending on your room temperature, it might take only 2 days or 4 days.