This Korean kimchi recipe shows you everything you need to know about how to make traditional cabbage kimchi. With this small batch recipe, you’ll find it not that difficult to make good authentic kimchi at home.
3 - 4raw shrimps, about 2 ounces, finely minced or ground- optional
3tablespoonsmyulchiaekjeotfish sauce, 멸치액젓
1teaspoonsesame seeds- optional
1/2cupwater or dashima (dried kelp) broth
2large bowls or pots7 - 8 quarts
a large colander
3/4 - 1gallonairtight container or jar
Cut the thick white part of the cabbage lengthwise in half. Then, slowly pull apart by hand to separate into two pieces. Do the same for each half to make quarters. Running the knife through all the way would unnecessarily cut off the cabbage leaves.
In a large bowl, dissolve 1/2 cup of salt in 5 cups of water. Thoroughly bathe each cabbage quarter in the salt water one at a time, shake off excess water back into the bowl, and then transfer to another bowl.
Using the other half cup of salt and starting from the outermost leaf, generously sprinkle salt over the thick white part of each leaf (similar to salting a piece of meat). Try to salt all the cabbage quarters with 1/2 cup salt, but you can use a little more if needed. Repeat with the rest of the cabbage quarters. Pour the remaining salt water from the first bowl over the cabbage. Set aside for about 6 - 8 hours, rotating the bottom ones to the top every 2 - 3 hours.
The cabbages should be ready to be washed when the white parts of the leaves are easily bendable. Rinse thoroughly 3 times, especially between the white parts. Drain well, cut side down.
Meanwhile, make the optional dashima broth by boiling a small piece (2 to 3 inch square) in 1.5 cup of water for 5 minutes, and cool. Mix the rice powder with 1/2 cup water (or optional dashima broth) and simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, until it thickens to a thin paste, and cool.
Prepare the garlic, ginger and saeujeot. Combine all the seasoning ingredients, including the rice paste and about 1/2 cup water (or the optional dashima broth), and mix well. Set aside until the red pepper flakes to dissolve slightly and become pasty.
Cut the radish and optional pear into matchsticks (use a mandoline if desired), transferring to a large bowl. Cut the scallions diagonally into about 1-inch long pieces. Add the prepared seasoning mix to the radish, and mix well by hand. Throw in the scallions, and mix everything lightly. Taste a little bit. It should be a little too salty to eat as is. You can add salt, more salted shrimp or fish sauce, as needed. Let it sit for about 30 minutes to allow the flavors to meld nicely.
Cut off the tough stem part from each cabbage quarter, leaving enough to hold the leaves together. Place one cabbage quarter in the bowl with the radish mix. Spread the radish mix over each leaf, one to two tablespoons for large leaves. (Eyeball the stuffing into 4 parts and use one part for each cabbage quarter.)
Fold the leaf part of the cabbage over toward the stem and nicely wrap it with the outermost leaf. Place it, cut side up, in a jar or airtight container. Repeat with the remaining cabbages. If you have lose large leaves, you can use them to cover the top of the kimchi (see note 1). Once all the cabbages are in the jar or airtight container, press down hard to remove air pockets. Rinse the bowl that contained the radish mix with 1/2 cup of water (or any remaining optional dashima broth) and pour into the kimchi container. Close the lid.
Leave it out at room temperature for a full day or two, depending on the weather and how fast you want your kimchi to ripen. A half day is recommended during hot summer days. Then, store in the fridge. (See note 2.)
You can cover the top of the kimchi with large outer green leaves (as I did in the video) if available. Some people also use a plastic wrap to cover. But, this is not absolutely necessary, especially for this small batch kimchi.
Although you can start eating it any time, kimchi needs about two weeks in the fridge to fully develop the flavors. It maintains great flavor and texture for several weeks.