The napa cabbages have grown jy-normous! Harvested six and had no room for any of them in the fridge, so did what I usually do: make kimchi with most of it, and keep a bags worth in the fridge for stir frying or soup.
Not only is it delicious, it’s good for the gut due to probiotics from the fermentation process, and thus affects overall immune health positively. Kimchi also boasts nutrients such as Vitamins A, B6, K, and C, folate, iron, amino acids, and minerals.
Chock full of nourishment, it’s scrumptious in stir fried rice, with brown rice and steamed broccoli, in wraps, and always in a wee bowl by itself.
It’s really easy to make and all that’s needed, aside from the napa cabbage, is garlic, ginger, grated carrots and daikons, sliced scallions, chilli flakes or gochugaru, salt, and fish sauce . . . . which I use according to how gingery or garlicky or spicy or fishy I want it.
To a dozen heads of napa cabbage, washed, shaken, and chopped into roughly one or two inch pieces, I used a four inch long knob of ginger and two whole heads of garlic, peeled, then blended to a paste with 1 cup of brown sugar, 1/2 cup of fish sauce, and 1/3 of a cup gochugaru powder (Korean red pepper).
Also a cup of sea salt, a dozen grated carrots, and a big bunch of scallions chopped into half inch to one inch lengths. All this makes about two gallon jars worth, and is a rough estimate as not all napa cabbages are exactly the same size; I grow Rubicon Napa Cabbage from Fedco Seeds. You can add more or less ginger, garlic, carrots, scallions, fish sauce, sugar and gochugaru depending on what your taste buds like.
But first: the chopped napa goes in a bucket, is sprinkled with the salt, then massaged and let sit all day.
It releases a lot of juice.
At the end of the day, add the prepared carrots and scallions, then the blended paste and massage again.
Add more gochugaru and fish sauce after tasting, if needed.
Pack into jars and pour the juices on top.
Save any extra juice in a jar for later.
Put a big leaf or two on top and use fermentation weights to keep them (and the kimchi) submerged, so as not to come into contact with air.
If you don’t have weights, instead put a ziploc bag into the jar, pressing down to create an airless seal over the kimchi, and secure it around the rim of the jar. Then put a small jar weighted down with water and rocks into the bag to keep it pressed and weighted down. Then pour water into the bag to add more pressure.
Set the jars on a plate of their own to catch the drippings, when the kimchi bubbles and ferments liquid escapes. Liquid also spills out when initially weighting it down.
Check to make sure it stays submerged and adjust water and pressure so that it does.
Empty the plate drippings and keep them clean too, or change them from time to time.
My kimchi is usually ready in about ten days to two and a half weeks, in a humid and warm Virginia environment.
When its done (I try it and determine hmm, not yet or YES!), I put a lid on the jar, tighten, and put it in the fridge until it comes out to be ‘et.
You can use shrimp paste instead of fish sauce, use green cabbages or bok choy, add grated apples, grated turnips, and grated daikons as well . . . adjust my quantities to meet your needs.