Thursday, February 24, 2011


Kimchi is a wonderful, traditional Korean dish made from fermented cabbage. It's a probiotic, full of "good bacteria" that help your body be healthy. Best of all, it's simple to make, with just a little effort spread over a couple of days. This recipe aims to make a somewhat minimal kimchi, with flavors of fermented cabbage and fresh ginger dominating.

Brine the Cabbage

  1. Start with two small or one large head of cabbage. Discard any outer, wilted leaves.
  2. Cut into quarters, and then cut out the stem from the bottom. Cut the wedges into slices so that you end up with 1/4" strips of cabbage. Pack into a glass bowl.
  3. Mix salt and water, 1/4c salt per 4c water. Pour over cabbage and pack. Cabbage should be fully submerged.
  4. Turn a plate upside-down on the brining cabbage and rest a heavy container on top (I'm using a quart of water). The weight keeps the cabbage well-packed in the brine. Refrigerate for 3 to 4 hours.
  5. Rinse and drain cabbage; press out excess moisture in between two kitchen towels.

Prepare the Kimchi

  1. Slice two bunches of green onions into 1/2" strips. Add 2 1/2T grated ginger, 2 cloves pressed garlic, 1 to 2 T sriracha hot sauce, 1T fish sauce, 1/4c kefir whey* (or water) and cabbage. Stir to combine well.
  2. Press into jar with airtight lid. Let sit at room temperature for a couple of days to ferment. You'll have to check it on a regular basis to see how it's progressing—it should lose its crunch and weep some water.
  3. Once finished fermenting, refrigerate. Keeps for a few weeks.

*NOTE: What's kefir whey? First, what's kefir? Kefirpedia defines it: Kefir is a fermented milk beverage, similar to yogurt, that originated 1,000 years ago in the Caucasus region. It is easy to make at home and is a rich source of good bacteria that can help your digestion, is easy to digest due to low lactose, and can boost your immune system, among other health benefits.

Kefir whey is what you get when you separate they curds from they whey; pour a cup of kefir into a coffee filter and the cream stays in the filter while the whey passes through.

The point of using kefir whey in this recipe is just to add a good source of healthy bacteria. If you don't have it, don't worry—the cabbage has plenty of bacteria on it.

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