Traditional Napa Cabbage Kimchi (pogi kimchi) typically involves cutting the whole cabbage into quarters. However, this version uses pre-cut small pieces for easier serving without the need for additional cutting.
The remaining ingredients the same, but the cabbage is prepared differently, including the cutting, salting, and mixing with the paste.
This recipe uses 1 napa cabbage, suitable for small batches. Feel free to modify the quantities of the ingredients according to your preference, especially if you want to prepare a larger batch..
The seasoning for kimchi can differ from one household to another, as each may have their preferred or secret ingredient, or follow a recipe handed down from their grandmother. Common seasoning ingredients typically include Korean sea salt for brine, gochugaru (Korean red pepper flakes) for spice, apple or pear for sweetness, salted shrimp or fish sauce for saltiness, as well as onion, garlic, and ginger. Additional vegetables like garlic chives, green onions, radish, and carrots are often included. In some variations of kimchi, squid or oysters may also be added for extra flavor.
A porridge made by cooking sweet rice flour with water is added to the paste, acting as a binder when mixed with the cabbage.
After making the kimchi, store it in an airtight container or mason jars at room temperature for 1-2 days (1 day in summer, 2 days in winter). You will notice bubbles and liquid forming on top after 1-2 days, indicating fermentation.
For further fermentation, store the kimchi in the refrigerator for a few days up to a week, depending on your preferred level of sourness.
Step by Step Instructions: Make Napa Cabbage Kimchi Quick and Easy
- 1 napa cabbage (4-5 pounds)
- 1 cup of coarse sea salt or kosher salt, whichever you prefer.
- 2 cups water
- 2 tablespoons of sweet rice flour or all-purpose flour can be used.
- 6 garlic cloves
- 1/2 inch peeled ginger
- 1/2 onion, roughly chopped
- You can use 1/4 of an apple or pear, or substitute it with 1 tablespoon of sugar.
- 3 tablespoons fish sauce or chopped salted shrimp (saeujeot)
- 3 green onions, also known as scallions, chopped into small pieces.
- 1 bunch garlic chives (optional)
- 1/2 to 1 carrot, peeled and sliced into thin strips
- 1 to 2 cups peeled and sliced radish
- 1/2 to 1 cup Korean red chili pepper flakes (gochugaru), depending on desired spice level.
Begin by cutting the cabbage in half lengthwise, and then into quarters. Remove the core and proceed to slice it into bite-sized pieces. Rinse the cabbage thoroughly and allow it to drain.
Next, in a large bowl, combine the cabbage and salt. Toss the cabbage well, ensuring that the salt is evenly distributed. Let it sit for approximately 2 hours until it becomes wilted, tossing occasionally to ensure the salt is evenly absorbed.
While waiting, proceed to prepare the porridge, seasoning, and vegetables.
To make the porridge, bring water and flour to a boil in a saucepan. Cook for a few minutes until thickened, whisking constantly. Set aside to cool.
To make the seasoning, blend garlic, ginger, onion, apple, and fish sauce or salted shrimp in a blender or food processor until smooth. Set aside.
Slice the radish, carrot, green onion, and optionally, the chives. Set aside.
Rinse the cabbage a few times and let it drain in a colander.
In the large bowl, mix together porridge, seasoning mixture, and red pepper flakes. Add chopped vegetables and mix well using kitchen gloves. Add drained cabbage and mix until combined. Taste the dish and make any necessary adjustments to the seasonings.
Transfer to an airtight container or jar, pressing down gently to remove air pockets. Leave about 2 inches of space at the top as the kimchi will expand during fermentation.
Allow the kimchi to ferment at room temperature for 1 day (on hot days) to 2 days (on cold days). Afterward, open the jar and press it down to release any trapped air. Transfer the jar to the refrigerator and let it ferment for 3-7 days before consuming, adjusting the duration based on your desired level of sourness.