Baechu kimchee (Napa cabbage kimchee) is a staple in Korean cuisine. Making a full jar of kimchee is definitely a time committment but after making it, the kimchee can be stored in the refrigerator and eaten over the course of several months. Overly fermented kimchee is difficult to eat as a side dish because it becomes too translucent and sour. But do not throw it away because overly fermented kimchee is perfect to use for making kimchee and tofu stew, also called kimchee jjigae.
- 2 whole Napa cabbages
- 1 medium white radish
- 4 tbsp ginger
- 2 garlic bulbs
- 6 green onions
- 5 cups salt
- 3 large spoonfuls salted shrimp
- 3 tbsp fish sauce
- 5 large spoonfuls red pepper flakes
Napa Cabbage Preparation
- Cut Napa cabbage at base into halves or quarters depending on their size.
- Dissolve 5 large scoopfuls of salt into a large bowl of cold water until completely dissolved.
- Soak cabbage pieces in salt water. It is very important that the salt mixture soaks throughout each cabbage piece by separating the cabbage leaves while submerged them under the salt water. Set the soaked cabbage pieces aside and leave the salt water mixture.
- Sprinkle salt evenly on leaves of each cabbage piece, adding more salt towards the thicker base section. Salting the cabbage in this way extracts the water from the cabbage pieces and makes them softer.
- Place the salted cabbage pieces in a large bowl and pour the salt water mixture in until full.
- Cover and store in a cool place for approximately 4 hours. It is very important to check the texture of the kimchee after every hour. The kimchee will become more soft the longer it stays in the salt water. Once the kimchee becomes too soft, the cabbage will be ruined.
- Once the cabbage is the correct softness, rinse the cabbage pieces 3-4 times in cold water. When rinsing, make sure the cold water washes away all the salt from every leaf of each cabbage piece. Place the cabbage pieces into a strainer to remove any excess water.
Hot Pepper Marinade Preparation
- Peel, cut off ends of radish, and rinse.
- Cut radish into thin slices, then into thin strips.
- Add ¾ piece of grated ginger, 2 minced bulbs of garlic, 6 green onions cut into 1″ strips, 3 large spoonfuls of chopped salted shrimp, 3 tbsp fish sauce, and 5 large spoonfuls of red pepper flakes into a large bowl and mix thoroughly.
- Add the marinade to the radish strips and mix thoroughly. Cover the marinade and let sit until cabbage pieces are ready.
- Squeeze any excess water from cabbage pieces.
- Rub and place the radish marinade between the leaves of each cabbage piece until each cabbage piece is a rich red color.
- Wrap each cabbage piece tightly before placing each piece into a large glass container.
- Let the kimchee sit at room temperature for 1-2 days. During this time, bubbles may begin to form while the kimchee ferments and ripens. After 1 day, remove any excess liquid from the top of the jar if the jar begins to overflow. Place entire jar in refrigerator and let the kimchee ferment for several more weeks.
- Once the kimchee is the correct ripeness, cut the kimchee on a cutting board into 1-inch x 1-inch pieces and place in a serving bowl.