(Yield: 1 gallon)
2-3 large heads napa cabbage
1 cup sea salt
1 gallon filtered water
1 bunch of spring onions, roots trimmed, cut diagonally into 1" long pieces
1/2 cup grated or sliced carrots
1 cup grated or sliced daikon radish
4-6 garlic cloves, minced (or more!)
1-2 tbsp freshly grated ginger (or more!)
2 pieces of kombu, or any type of seaweed, cut into bite-size strips
1/2 cup dried kimchi chile aka gochugaru
FISH OPTIONS (OPTIONAL)
(check labels to ensure items are preservative free)
~2 tbsp fermented fish sauce (or more!)
2 tbsp salted shrimp (decrease one tbsp of salt above)
fresh or canned clams roughly chopped
fresh or canned oysters roughly chopped
SWEET RICE FLOUR PASTE
1 cup cold water
2 tbsp sweet rice flour
In a large bowl or crock, dissolve 1 cup of sea salt in gallon filtered water. Peel off two outer layers of cabbage leaf and set aside. Cut your napa cabbage lengthwise in half. Then cut each half again, making quarters. Submerge cabbage quarters and two outer leaves in brine using a plate as a weight to keep them submerged. Brine for 6-8 hours at room temperature.
Meanwhile, make a slurry with the rice flour + ¼ cup cold water. In a small sauce pan, bring the remaining 3/4 cup water to simmer. Whisk in the rice flour slurry and stir constantly to cook for about 20 seconds. Turn off heat. The mixture should resemble white glue. Remove from pan, transfer into a medium bowl and allow to cool completely.
After brine time, remove cabbage and drain well, cut side down.
Combine the garlic, ginger, fish choice and gochugaru with the sweet rice flour paste and mix well. Then add the carrots, daikon and spring onions. Taste and adjust as needed adding more of whatever ingredient you want! If you did not use salted shrimp or fish sauce, add a little sea salt to taste.
At this point you can opt to chop your brined cabbage into ~1-inch pieces and combine with the paste or keep them quartered. If you’d like to keep them quartered, cut off the tough stem part from each cabbage quarter, leaving enough to hold the leaves together. Place one cabbage quarter in the bowl with the paste. Spread the mix over each layer of cabbage leaves, getting the flavor into every nook and cranny! Fold the leaf part of the cabbage over toward the stem and nicely wrap it with the outermost leaf. Place it into your gallon jar or crock. Repeat with the remaining cabbages. Be sure to leave about an inch of headspace from the top of the vessel as carbon dioxide, which is naturally produced, will cause everything to expand. Once all the cabbages are in the vessel, lay the two reserved whole cabbage leaves on top of the packed kimchi and submerge in the liquid. Press down hard using your fist or a Pickle Tamper to remove air pockets. If you don't have enough liquid covering the veggies, add 1/2 cup of water to the bowl that contained the paste and pour over the kimchi to ensure there’s enough liquid brine to cover the vegetables.
Use a ceramic weight or other creative weight if necessary to keep vegetables submerged. Cover loosely with a lid. Or, if you are using an airlock lid from our Fermenting Vegetable Kit, add water into the airlock chamber and secure lid onto the jar. (If using a Pickle Pipe - stye airlock, no water is necessary). Let ferment in a dark spot (out of direct sunlight) for a minimum of 5 days and up to 30 days for a more complex and sour ferment. The large cabbage leaves on top are there to provide an extra layer of protection against surface mold. Taste the kimchi below every couple of days for your desired flavor. Transfer into the refrigerator to store for 6-12 months.
The cabbage leaves on top of the kimchi are there to provide an extra layer of protection against surface mold. Don't worry too much about mold! Simply discard the outer leaves if mold appears.