Love Korean food since I was in the university, kimchee is definitely one of my favorites, and any time go to a Korean restaurant, kimchee is one of the side dishes I must order, no question. Finally, the first time I made my own kimchee, and it turned out as good as the ones I had at any restaurant, here the recipe is!
|To soak the cabbage:|
napa (Chinese) cabbage
1 large one, or two small ones, up to around 5 1/2 pounds
plus extra for sprinking
or more as needed
daikon (chinese icicle radish)
or turnips, about 2 1/2 pounds, slice into 1/8-inch matchsticks
scallions, spring or green onions
cut into 1 to 1 1/2-inch long, white and green parts
red chili peppers
up to 1 cup
about 12 cloves
peeled and coarsely chopped
peeled, half coarsely chopped and half cut into 1/8-inch matchsticks
To soak the cabbage:
Remove the rough outer leaves (about 2 to 3 leaves) from each cabbage, set aside.
Cut the cabbage into half lengthwise, open up and rinse them.
Sprinkle some salt onto the white stem part of each leaf of the cabbage, ensure to put the salt on each leave and the end of the stem. Be careful do not break the leaf.
In a deep and large food-safe bucket or container, add 3 cups of salt and 30 cups of water, stir and let salt dissolve completely.
Arrange the cabbage halves facing up and press them down so the water will go through each layer.
It is fine if your cabbages are not completely covered in the salty water.
Cover the cabbage with the reserved green leaves, cover with one or two large plates, and place heavy rocks or cast-iron pan or pot on top.
Allow it to soak for overnight or at least 8 hours, turn the cabbages to the other side, cover and press with heavy stuff to push down, soak for another 4 hours at least.
After 12 hours, try to bend the white stem part of each cabbage. If they are willing to bend without broken, it's finished.
If not, sprinkle a little more salt on the white stem part and soak for 2 or 3 more hours.
Remove the cabbages and the rough leaves from the salty water and rinse 3 or 4 times.
Cut the cabbage halves into another half.
Now you should have 8 cabbage quarters.
Drain the cabbages in the colander or basket in a sink or on top of a bowl for at least 2 hours to drain out the water thoroughly.
Cover with a large bowl or plastic wrap to prevent them from drying out.
To make the rice glue:
In a small pot, add the rice flour and water, stirring, bring to a boil until it gets bubbly and thickened. Let it cool.
To make the filling:
In a blender or food processor, add onion, garlic, ginger and half of the pear, process until smooth.
Add chili flakes in a large mixing bowl, stir in the garlic mixture purée, the cooled rice glue, sugar and sesame seeds until well mixed.
Mix in sliced daikon and the scallions to the chili mixture until well combined.
At this stage, the mixture looks like radish and green onion mostly.
Allow to sit for at least 30 minutes, then the daikon will extract their moisture and get wilted.
The filling should be spreadable.
Break a little piece from cabbage, add a little amount of filling and give it a taste to see if need more chili pepper or salt.
To assemble the cabbage and filling:
On a large baking sheet, hold the end of cabbage piece upward with your left hand and release the outside leaf to be flat on the sheet.
With you right hand take some of the chili filling and spread all over the leaf, put down another layer one at a time and repeat spreading until all the leaves are done.
No need to spread too much filling on each leaf, just enough to cover.
When all the layers are spread with chili filling, fold the leafy green part of the cabbage toward the stem, holding them together and wrap with the reserved rough green leaves tightly.
Arrange each cabbage pieces in an air tight container.
Pour 1 cup of water to the mixing bowl and swirl around to rinse the leftover filling pieces in the bowl, pour it over the cabbage in the container.
Seal the container tightly and let it sit at the room temperature for 1 to 2 days depending on how hot your room is.
Then keep your Kimchee in the fridge.
It can be kept for several months.