An easy recipe and a great way to preserve veg and add a bit of spice to accompany your dishes:
· 1 KG chinese cabbage
· 80gr sea salt or kosher salt (see Recipe Notes)
· Water, preferably distilled or filtered
· 1 tablespoon grated garlic (5 to 6 cloves)
· 1 teaspoon grated peeled fresh ginger
· 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
· 2 tablepoons fish sauce or 3 tablespoons water (I use Tamari instead)
· 1 to 5 tablespoons Korean red pepper flakes (gochugaru), I just use chillis
· 200gr radish or daikon, peeled and cut into matchsticks (you can use any other veg like carrots, beetroots, fennel, green beans, turnips...)
· 4 medium spring onions, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
Cut the cabbage lengthwise through the stem into quarters. Cut the cores from each piece. Cut each quarter crosswise into 2-inch-wide strips.
Salt the cabbage. Place the cabbage in a large bowl and sprinkle with the salt. Using your hands, massage the salt into the cabbage until it starts to soften a bit. Add enough water to cover the cabbage. Put a plate on top of the cabbage and weigh it down with something heavy, like a jar or can of beans. Let stand for 1 to 2 hours.
Rinse and drain the cabbage under cold water 3 times. Set aside to drain in a colander for 15 to 20 minutes. Meanwhile, make the spice paste.
Make the spice paste. Rinse and dry the bowl you used for salting. Add the garlic, ginger, sugar, and fish sauce or Tamari, water and stir into a smooth paste. Stir in the gochugaru/ or chili flakes, using 1 tablespoon for mild and up to 5 tablespoons for spicy (I like about 3 1/2 tablespoons); set aside until the cabbage is ready.
Combine the vegetables and spice paste. Gently squeeze any remaining water from the cabbage and add it to the spice paste. Add the radish and spring onions.
Mix thoroughly. Using your hands, gently work the paste into the vegetables until they are thoroughly coated. Use gloves.
Pack the kimchi into the jar. Pack the kimchi into a 1l jar. Press down on the kim
chi until the brine rises to cover the vegetables, leaving at least 1 inch of space at the top. Seal the jar.
Let it ferment for 1 to 5 days. Place a bowl or plate under the jar to help catch any overflow. Let the jar stand at cool room temperature, out of direct sunlight, for 1 to 5 days. You may see bubbles inside the jar and brine may seep out of the lid. Check it daily and refrigerate when ready.
When the kimchi tastes ripe enough for your liking, transfer the jar to the refrigerator. You may eat it right away, but it's best after another week or two.