Napa Cabbage Kimchi.
It's a dish Koreans eat in practically every meal. Whether you're having breakfast, lunch, or dinner, kimchi accompanies or is the key ingredient in countless dishes.
It's thrown into soups, stews, stir fries, Korean pancakes, noodles, rice rolls, and so much more. Many Koreans think that a meal is not complete without kimchi.
Unfortunately, this quintessential dish is usually seasoned with fish sauce, fermented salted shrimp, and other seafood. And as a result, kimchi found in Korean restaurants or grocery stores are not suitable for vegans.
Kimchi is quite popular these days, and I see so many folks uploading vegan kimchi recipes online. However, many of them are inauthentic or include ingredients that are either seasonal or hard to find.
That's why I decided to develop a vegan kimchi recipe that was straightforward and easy to make. With just two hours of your time, you can have delicious kimchi for months at a time at a fraction of the cost of grocery store kimchi.
Please give this recipe a try and let me know what you think! :)
Yield: 8 pounds (3.6 kg) of Kimchi
Active Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 2-2.5 hours.
For salting cabbage:
For making porridge:
Prepare and salt the cabbage:
1. Fill your kitchen sink with cold water. Make sure it's clean!
2. In the meantime, cut a slit at the base of the cabbage down the middle - enough to get a grip of each half. Then, gently tear each half apart till the cabbage splits open.
3. Cut each half at the base down the middle, and gently tear them into quarters.
4. Cut out the core of the cabbage, then slice cabbage leaves into bite size pieces. Place chopped cabbage into sink filled with water. (You can either discard the core, or slice it into thin pieces and place in sink with chopped cabbage leaves). Follow steps 1 through 4 for the remaining cabbage.
5. Once the cabbage has been dunked in the water, put the wet cabbage into a large basin a handful or two at a time. Season each portion of cabbage with a generous pinch of kosher salt. Repeat this process till all the cabbage has been dunked in water, transferred to basin, and salted evenly.
* 1/2 cups of kosher salt will be used to salt 6 lbs of napa cabbage.
6. From now on, we will turn the cabbage over every 30 minutes to salt evenly (for a total of 2 hours). As time passes, the cabbage will shrink considerably and release lots of water.
7. After 2 hours of salting the cabbage, fill your sink with cold water once again. Dump the salted cabbage into your sink and mix the cabbage around in the water to clean it. Clean your basin with water (as there may be dirt from the cabbage), then transfer the clean cabbage into the basin to drain.
Drain water from your sink, clean out any dirt at the bottom, and fill your sink with cold water once again. Repeat the rinsing and draining process 3-5 times till your cabbage is clean. The number of times depends on how dirty your cabbage is. If clean, 3 times is plenty. If dirty, make sure to wash it at least 5 times.
After the final rinse, drain the cabbage in a colander and set aside.
Make the porridge:
1. Put 1.5 cups of Korean vegetable stock or water in a pot with 1/4 sweet rice flour, mix well, and bring to a boil over medium heat. Keep stirring till the mixture gets bubbly and thick (around 5-6 minutes). Careful not to burn.
3. Add 2 TBS sugar and stir for a few more minutes until it is translucent.
4. Remove from heat and let it cool, preferably in a cold water bath.
Make Kimchi Paste:
1. Place 1 heaping TBS (around 0.1oz) of dried seaweed (miyeok/wakame) in a bowl and soak in water for around 15-20 minutes till it expands and softens. Then, drain water and chop into small pieces so it blends more easily.
1. In a food processor or blender, add seaweed, onion, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, and miso. Blend till smooth and pour into a large bowl.
2. Add cooled rice porridge, desired amount of hot pepper flakes, and mix to combine. I added 1/2 cup for a mild kimchi, but feel free to add up to 1.5 cups if you want it extra spicy! 1/2 to 1 cup should suit most people.
3. Then, add julienned radish, carrots, and chopped green onions to the bowl. Mix thoroughly to combine.
Time to make kimchi!:
1. Prepare large mason jars or air tight plastic containers, your kimchi paste, drained cabbage, and a large bowl. If you'd like, put on rubber or plastic gloves to protect your hands from the spice.
2. Transfer a handful or two of cabbage into a bowl. Add a scoop of kimchi paste, and mix till cabbage is thoroughly coated with the paste. Transfer the mixture into your container, making sure to press down with your hands to remove any air pockets. Repeat this process till all your cabbage and kimchi paste is used up and placed in your containers.
3. Be sure to leave at least 1-2 inches of space at the top of your container since the kimchi can bubble over as it ferments. Wipe off the mouth of your mason jar or container and close the lid!
Your kimchi is done! Yay! I like to portion out a small amount of kimchi I'd like to eat immediately. The small jar will be left out on the counter in room temperature for 8 to 24 hours in warmer climates or 24 to 48 hours in colder climates. This allows the smaller jar to ferment faster so that you can have tasty kimchi right away. As it sits out, you should see it bubble up and smell sour. This is a sign that it is fermenting well. :)
The remaining kimchi should be placed in the fridge immediately so that it ferments slowly and you can enjoy it for months at a time. Place it in the back of the fridge, so that temperatures are stable every time you open the fridge.
As long as you keep it well refrigerated, kimchi can last practically forever! As it ferments, it will get more and more sour and pungent. Each stage of fermentation produces different flavors.
In the beginning, fresh, lightly fermented kimchi is perfect along side rice and other side dishes. As it becomes sour, you can make things like kimchi stew, pancakes, or fried rice.
Hope you give this recipe a try! Please let me know what you think! :)
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After going vegan, I missed eating Korean food I grew up with. Seeing the lack of resources on plant-based Korean cooking, I decided to develop and share delicious and easy vegan Korean recipes that anyone can make!
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