What is Kimchi?
Kimchi is a popular and common side dish in Korea. Kimchi consists of salted vegetables that can be allowed to ferment. Some versions of kimchi are served fresh. Recipies of this side dish can vary, but most seem to include salt, chili powder, garlic, among other ingredients.
A Video of Homemade Kimchi
Recently I had the opportunity to record how homemade kimchi is created. In the video above, I cover all of the steps that my mother has gone through to make kimchi. Even though the footage includes every single action taken, some things are still not evident. So, I will go into more depth about each step below.
After acquiring a Chinese cabbage, gently rinse the outside and remove any unwanted bits from the exterior. A thorough cleaning is not needed, because we will wash the cabbage two or three times, later. Halve the cabbage, and remove the woody root core. Next, the goal is to cut dice the Chinese cabbage into the size you like.
Once your cabbage is diced to the size you want, salt the cabbage using a small amount of water. The water will help the salt adhere to the cabbage, but don’t use too much water, or the salt may merely wash away. Toss the cabbage and ensure all pieces are coated. Once salted let the cabbage sit 1.5 – 2 hours.
Next, we created a binding or thickening agent made out of sweet rice powder. The sweet rice powder was mixed into a bowl with water as a small pot of water was being heated. Next, heat the sweet rice powder mixture until large bubbles pop through, it will take on a thick sticky looking consistency. Once the texture has been achieved, cool off the rice powder mixture by placing the pot in water.
Use red pepper powder, sesame seed powder, fresh minced garlic, fish sauce, and honey to make the kimchi base. Other ingredients can be added or taken away. For example, ginger is more commonly used than not. Also, if you are watching sodium intake, then be mindful of fish sauce.
After the cabbage has sat for up to 2 hours, rinse it off 2 or 3 times. Remove the excess water off the cabbage surface. Use any method you’d prefer: let it drain, use a salad spinner, wring out each piece of cabbage, etc.
The penultimate and most visually rewarding step is to stir everything together. Mix the cabbage and a sliced half onion with the rice powder mixture and kimchi base. Continue mixing until all pieces of cabbage are coated in the kimchi base, congratulations you have kimchi. Finally while jarring the kimchi, leave some room at the top of the container to for fermentation bubbles, or else fluid might leak under the lid
Continue making kimchi regularly for several decades while modifying the recipe to your liking, and you’ll have perfect homemade kimchi 😉