Recipes: Korean Traditional Kimchi

  • Updated: September 26, 2012 - 2:25 PM

Also: Stuffed Cucumber Kimchi, Golden Beet Water Kimchi, Sweet and Sour Zucchini Kimchi and Spicy Ginger Kraut.

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Traditional Korean kimchi is usually prepared with napa cabbage.

Photo: Amy Thielen, Special to the Star Tribune

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KOREAN TRADITIONAL KIMCHI

Makes 2 quarts.

Note: This whole-leaf napa cabbage kimchi can be cut just before serving. Napa cabbage is the one with frilly leaves. Fish sauce is available in the Asian section of most supermarkets, under a variety of names. Salted shrimp is available at Korean markets, such as Kim's in St. Paul. Recipe adapted from Minam Morris.

• 1 tbsp. sesame seeds

• 1 large napa cabbage

• Coarse sea salt or kosher salt (about 1/2 c.)

• 1/3 c. Korean pepper powder (or 1/4 c. paprika and 1 1/2 tbsp. cayenne pepper)

• 1/4 c. fish sauce (or 11/2 tbsp. salted shrimp) (see Note)

• 1/3 c. hot water

• 1 tbsp. minced fresh ginger

• 11/2 tbsp. minced garlic

• 1 large carrot, julienned

• 1/2 unpeeled Asian pear (or tart apple), julienned

• 4 green onions, trimmed and thinly sliced

Directions

To toast sesame seeds: Heat them in a dry pan over low for a few minutes, until fragrant and slightly brown, stirring occasionally.

Cut the napa cabbage in quarters, leaving the root end intact, and rinse well in a large bowl of water. Drain, shaking dry. Rub each leaf with salt, opening the leaves as you go. Pile the salted quarters into a large container and let rest for 1 to 2 hours, or until the leaves taste salty. Rinse the cabbage well and press it to remove excess water.

In a large bowl, combine Korean pepper powder, fish sauce and hot water, and mix well. Add ginger, garlic, carrot, pear, green onions and sesame seeds; use your hands to combine it thoroughly.

Spread a little of this red paste on each of the cabbage leaves and around the outside, as well. Fold each quarter into a tidy bundle and lay in a non-reactive (plastic or glass) container in which they will fit snugly. Spread the remaining paste over the cabbage and pack it into the container. Press a sheet of plastic wrap to the surface, and cover. Leave to ferment at cool room temperature for 3 to 7 days, until pleasantly sour. Move to the refrigerator and store for a couple of months or until it grows too strong for your taste. Highly fermented kimchis are rescued by cooking, and often find their way into stews flavored with big slabs of meat.

 

STUFFED CUCUMBER KIMCHI

Makes 1 quart.

Note: For this recipe it's essential to use small cucumbers, such as Kirby or small Israeli cucumbers. Fish sauce is available in the Asian section of most supermarkets, under a variety of names. From Jason Lee.

• 1 lb. garden cucumbers (4 to 5 Kirby)

• 3 tbsp. coarse sea salt or kosher salt

• 2 tbsp. Korean pepper powder (or 4 tsp. paprika and 2 tsp. cayenne pepper)

• 1 tbsp. fish sauce (see Note)

• 2 tbsp. hot water

• 2 garlic cloves, minced

• 1 tsp. minced fresh ginger

• 3 green onions, sliced

• 1/2 c. very thinly sliced onion

• 1/2 bunch chives, cut into 2-in. lengths

• 1/4 c. julienned carrot (cut in matchsticks)

Directions

Halve the cucumbers horizontally, and cut each through with a deep "x," leaving about 1/2 inch at the end to hold the cucumber together. Rub the slit cucumbers inside and out with the salt and let sit for 1 hour. Cover with cold water, drain and repeat, rinsing until you have removed all surface salt from the cucumbers.

In a large bowl, combine Korean pepper powder, fish sauce and hot water, and mix well. Add garlic, ginger, green onions, onion, chives and carrot.

Drop the cucumbers into the bowl and stuff each with a little of this mixture. Pack the cucumbers into a non-reactive (glass or plastic) container into which they will fit snugly, spread the remaining paste over the top and pack down.

Press a sheet of plastic wrap to the surface, and cover. Leave to ferment at cool room temperature for 3 to 7 days, until pleasantly sour. Move to the refrigerator and store for a few weeks.

 

GOLDEN BEET WATER KIMCHI

Makes 3 cups.

Note: Fish sauce is available in the Asian section of most supermarkets, under a variety of names. From Rachel Yang of Seattle, who uses 3 tablespoons of 3-Crabs brand Southeast Asian fish sauce and 1 tablespoon Korean fish sauce in this recipe).

• 1 lb. golden or Chioggia beets with their greens

• 2 tsp. coarse sea salt or kosher salt

• 1/2 large onion, thinly sliced

• 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

• 2-in. piece of fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced

• 1/4 fish sauce (see Note)

• 2 tbsp. Korean red pepper powder (or 4 tsp. paprika and 2 tsp. cayenne pepper)

• 2 c. water, or enough to cover

Directions

Trim and peel the beets, and slice them very thinly, preferably on a mandoline. Chop the beet greens in 1-inch lengths and toss both the beets and greens with the salt.

Add the sliced onion, garlic, ginger, fish sauces and red pepper flakes; add enough cold water to just cover the vegetables.

Pack into a non-reactive (glass or plastic container) and press a sheet of plastic to the surface of the water. Leave to ferment at cool room temperature for 3 days, or until pleasantly tangy. Store in the refrigerator for one week.

 

Sweet and Sour Zucchini Kimchi

Maes 1 quart.

Note: This is an Americanized kimchi, one that omits the fish; it's devised to be a good topper for a burger -- whether beef, pork or chicken. Use firm, young zucchini with undeveloped seed cavities. From Amy Thielen.

• 2 lb. small zucchini, thinly sliced (about 1/8 -in. thick)

• 2 tbsp. coarse sea salt or kosher salt

• 3 tbsp. Korean pepper powder (or 2 tbsp. paprika plus 1 tbsp. cayenne pepper)

• 3 tbsp. sugar

• 3 tbsp. hot water

• 2 tbsp. grated fresh ginger

• 4 garlic cloves, grated

• 1/2 c. shredded carrots

• 1/2 c. chopped (1-in.) chives

• 1/2 c. thinly sliced tart apple

Directions

Mix zucchini with salt in a wide bowl. Let sit for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Cover with cold water, drain, and blot dry on towels.

In a large bowl, combine Korean pepper powder, sugar and hot water, and mix well. Add ginger, garlic, carrot, chives and apple, then the zucchini. Mix well with your hands to saturate the zucchini.

Pack the kimchi snugly into a container, cover the top with a slip of plastic wrap pressed to the surface, and cover. Leave to ferment at cool room temperature for 3 to 7 days, until pleasantly sour. Refrigerate and consume within a month.

 

SPICY GINGER KRAUT

Makes 2 quarts.

Note: This is more like spicy sauerkraut than a proper kimchi, but it utilizes cabbages and has a recognizable kimchi kick. Fish sauce is available in the Asian section of most supermarkets, under a variety of names. From Amy Thielen.

• 5 lb. cabbage, freshly picked, thickly shredded

• 3 tbsp. pickling salt, plus more for leaves

• 1 tbsp. sugar

• 4 tbsp. Korean red pepper powder (or 3 tbsp. paprika and 1 tbsp. cayenne pepper)

• 2 tbsp. minced fresh ginger

• 1 tbsp. minced garlic

• 2 tbsp. fish sauce, optional (see Note)

Directions

Combine all ingredients and mix well with your hands.

Pack the mixture into a clean, sterilized crock or food-safe plastic container. If, when tightly packed, the cabbage doesn't exude enough juice, add cold water just to cover. Lay large pieces of whole (or mostly whole) cabbage leaves over the surface of the shredded cabbage. Rub these with a little more pickling salt to wilt.

Cover with three heavy plastic bags filled with water, to seal out the air, and then a clean towel. Set on wooden risers to prevent mold growth on the bottom of the crock. Ferment at cool room temperature, about 65 to 70 degrees, for about 7 to 10 days, or until pleasantly sour.

Pack into sterilized quart or pint jars and screw on sterilized lids. Store in the refrigerator, where it will last for a couple of months.

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