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Easy Kimchi Recipe: Simple Steps to Making Korea's National Dish

By K Ramen  •   2 minute read

Easy Kimchi Recipe: Simple Steps to Making Korea's National Dish

Kimchi, a staple in Korean cuisine, is a traditional side dish of salted and fermented vegetables, such as napa cabbage and Korean radishes, with a variety of seasonings including chili powder, scallions, garlic, ginger, and jeotgal (salted seafood). While there are hundreds of varieties of kimchi made with different vegetables as the main ingredients, this recipe focuses on an easy version of the classic napa cabbage kimchi. It's perfect for beginners looking to explore the rich flavors of this iconic dish.

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium napa cabbage (about 2 pounds)
  • 1/4 cup sea salt
  • Water, enough to cover the cabbage
  • 5 tablespoons Korean red pepper flakes (gochugaru)
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (about 5-6 cloves)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup julienned carrots (optional)
  • 1/2 cup julienned daikon radish (optional)
  • 4 green onions, chopped

Instructions:

  1. Prepare the Cabbage:

    • Cut the cabbage in half lengthwise, then cut into quarters. Remove the cores and chop into bite-sized pieces.
    • Place the cabbage pieces in a large bowl, sprinkle the sea salt between the layers, and toss gently to distribute the salt. Pour enough water to cover the cabbage and let it sit for 1-2 hours, turning every 30 minutes.
  2. Rinse and Drain:

    • Rinse the cabbage under cold water 3 times to remove the salt. Let it drain in a colander for about 15-20 minutes.
  3. Prepare the Kimchi Paste:

    • In a separate bowl, combine the Korean red pepper flakes, ginger, garlic, sugar, fish sauce, and soy sauce. Mix well to form a paste.
    • Add the julienned carrots, daikon radish, and chopped green onions to the paste.
  4. Mixing:

    • Squeeze any remaining water from the cabbage and add it to the paste. Using gloves, mix thoroughly until the cabbage is coated with the kimchi paste.
  5. Fermentation:

    • Pack the kimchi into a clean jar, pressing down on it until the brine (the liquid that comes out) rises to cover the vegetables. Leave at least 1 inch of space at the top.
    • Seal the jar and let it sit at room temperature for 1-5 days, checking daily and pressing down on the vegetables to keep them submerged.
  6. Refrigerate:

    • Once the kimchi is fermented to your liking, refrigerate it. It will continue to ferment but at a slower pace. Enjoy your kimchi cold!

Tips for Perfect Kimchi:

  • Make sure all utensils, bowls, and containers are clean to avoid unwanted bacteria during fermentation.
  • Adjust the amount of gochugaru depending on your preferred spice level.
  • Kimchi can be eaten fresh immediately after making or allowed to ferment.
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