Napa Cabbage Kimchi / Baechu Kimchi
Kimchi is the national dish of Korea but it didn’t originate there. Kimchi comes from China but the Koreans adapted it and made it their own.
My mother always told my sister and I that there are over 600 types of kimchi! It’s made with seasonal vegetables and I’m sure there are imperial recipes that are retired, or you have to be someone extremely fancy to get someone to make them for you, so I like to believe it’s true.
Kimchi is a fermented food, like sauerkraut, that contains loads of probiotics. Probiotics are extremely important for gut health. It also contains garlic and ginger which are amazing as well. So for simple gut health, cancer fighting properties, and help with lowering blood pressure, among other things, kimchi packs a punch for your immune system.
While I give a basic recipe below I really encourage you to use it as a guideline. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself striving for authenticity. All families make all foods differently and it all boils down to personal taste because, let’s face it, you are the one that is going to eat it. If it’s too salty or too spicy you’re never going to try it again and where’s the fun in that?
I will warn you that it is very pungent so eat it on the days that you aren’t sitting on a packed bus, in a crowded movie theater, or on a date that you are hoping for a kiss:)
- 1 head napa cabbage
- 1 cup coarse sea salt
- 2 -3 bunches of green onions, sliced
- 2 -3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 thumb ginger, peeled and julienned
- 2-4 tablespoons red pepper flakes
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce or soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons water
- Quarter the head of cabbage by starting at the core and working your knife towards the tips of the leaves. Rinse and drain well. Place in a bowl and sprinkle sea salt between the leaves and leave 4 - 24 hours for salt to pull out moisture and flavor the cabbage.
- While waiting for cabbage to develop flavor, go ahead and make the pepper paste by mixing remaining ingredients and letting sit in a covered dish.
- Taste the cabbage by breaking off a small piece and rinsing. If the desired flavor is reached then rinse the rest of the cabbage and squeeze excess moisture out.
- Spread pepper paste between each leaf and pack tightly into a glass jar. Let sit out on the counter for at least 24 hours. When the smell becomes slightly sour then the fermenting process has started and you should place it in the refrigerator. Enjoy.