This is my first attempt at making kimchi. It turned out pretty nice.

Kimchi ingredients

  1. Chinese Leaf Lettuce ( This is what it's called in Morrisons. But it is also known as Chinese cabbage and nappa cabbage in other online recipes.) I used about 500g of it.
  2. Half a tablespoon of sea salt
  3. 8 radishes
  4. 4 spring onions
  5. 1 carrot
  6. 3 cloves of garlic
  7. 2 tablespoons of fish sauce (I got mine from Morrisons in the stir fry/oriental food section. The brand being Blue Dragon.)
  8. 2 cm square of fresh ginger
  9. 2 tablespoons of chilli paste
  10. 1 tablespoon of demerara sugar

Method

  1. Prepare the Chinese lettuce the day before. Quarter it, then chop it into short strips, spread salt on it, scrunch it around a bit with your hands, cover in water, and let it stand overnight.
  2. Next day rinse the brine and salt off.
  3. Chop the garlic, radishes and ginger, add the fish sauce and sugar and mix and mash it up.
  4. Chop the spring onions.
  5. Chop the carrots into matchsticks
  6. Mix everything together
  7. Squash it into a Kilner jar
  8. Place on counter at room temperature for a few days
  9. Watch bubbles appear as it begins to ferment
  10. Burp the jar every now and then to release any pressure
  11. After a few days of fermentation store in the fridge

That worked for me and it was delicious.

Background

First off, what is kimchi?

Kimchi is a Korean dish, or more accurately, a condiment that is widely used in Korea.

As far as I know, kimchi is used as a condiment or a base for other dishes. I’ve never eaten kimchi before I’ve only read about it, so this is all new to me and a learning experience.

It is said that there as many versions of kimchi in Korea as there are families. Everyone has their own version and there are regional variations.

Some kimchis are very spicy and some are mild, most, I think, use cabbage but some are mooli (daikon radish in US) based.

But they are all fermented.

My kimchi process

My goal is to make a UK version with ingredients that are readily available here.

So here I’ve used regular radishes rather than mooli (which is available but not that common. I will make a mooli based kimchi at some point).

And the only other ingredients I was worried about were the rice flour and the fish sauce.

Kimchi starting to ferment

Kimchi starting to ferment

The rice flour is to thicken the kimchi paste. You do this by boiling it in some water and adding the rest of the paste ingredients. A lot of people do this with ordinary wheat flour. I wanted to try it without this time, it worked fine. Next time I may try it with the thicker paste.

It turned out the fish sauce was readily available in my local supermarket.

Also I’m quite lazy in the kitchen so I don’t like a lot of faffing about. I don’t mind a little bit but I have my limits.

In the traditional way of making kimchi the cabbage leaves are left quartered and the paste is smeared between them by hand (see maangchi’s method ) . I couldn’t be bothered with that so I just chopped the cabbage up small and mixed the ingredients together with a wooden spoon. I’m all for making life easier for myself.

Conclusion

I wasn’t sure if the fermentation was working at first because I didn’t see the bubbles for a couple of days, but eventually it got going.

It didn’t bubble quite as vigorously as the sauerkraut I’ve made before but enough to reassure me that there was a fermentation process going on.

And when I came to taste it 5 days later the taste told me that it had worked.

So what did it taste like?

Delicious!

(I need to develop my taste description skills for this blog.)

Spicy, wholesome, tangy.

My favourite way to eat it so far is with fish, and fish dishes.

Have a go it’s amazingly tasty, (and healthy too).