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December 23, 2010 / Michelle Ferris

Kim Chee Recipe

My grandma taught me how to make kim chee. I have always loved it. It takes time, but very little actual work. Just patience while you wait for the flavors to develop. Since I found out I am allergic to fermented foods, this is a real treat for me (read: I can’t eat it often, but I love to cheat by eating it), so I learned to make it in a much less fermented fashion than is traditional. Really, though, it’s close enough to the real thing that it works for me. Instructions below are not my cheatery way, but I’ll enlighten you after the kim chee recipe.

1 head napa cabbage

1/2 C salt

1 C daikon (long, white radish), julienned

1/4 C carrots, shredded

1 bunch green onions, cut into 1″ lengths

1 tsp paprika

1 to 3 Tbsp cayenne, depending on how spicy you want it

6 cloves garlic (half pressed, half chopped)

1 Tbsp ginger, minced

1 Tbsp salt

1 tsp sugar

1 tsp fish sauce

  • Start with fresh, washed ingredients.
  • Cut cabbage into bite sized pieces (Slice across it into rounds with about 1″ between cuts. Improvise when you get to the base to make the most out of what you have.).
  • Drop cabbage and julienned daikon into a large bowl.
  • Sprinkle heavily with salt and rub so that it’s all well salted. Let stand for 40 minutes.
  • Rinse well. Taste the cabbage. If it tastes very salty, continue rinsing and squeezing out excess water until it tastes mildly salty.
  • Once fully rinsed out and squeezed of excess water, add in all other ingredients (however, use salt to taste. 1 Tbsp is an estimation.).
  • Mix well – use gloves and massage in, if possible. If not, use a mixing spoon – the cayenne really gets into your hands if you don’t.
  • Put a weight over the cabbage mixture (try using a plate with heavy cans on it), put saran wrap loosely over the top, and put it in a dark spot if possible (the back of a cupboard or pantry is perfect). Let sit for two days.*
  • Pack kim chee in jars and refrigerate. Your kim chee is ready to nom on.

*This is where I stray. Rather than fermenting for two days, I simply let it sit on the counter, weighted, for two to four hours, then pack it up in jars and put it in the fridge. From there I eat it whenever I want. It’s not quite perfect, but much less doom for my joints.

One Comment

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  1. Lee Purell / Dec 24 2010 1:47 pm

    Your kimchee recipe sounds really good. I will have to try it.

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