Anything I’m Fermenting

June 9, 2008


Sorry about the dearth of posts recently – we just moved and this included a lot of repainting and other work on the new apartment. Now we’ve settled in a bit, and my itch to ferment has returned.

We now live not far from Korea-town or Little Korea, or whatever they call it. This means that one of the nearest supermarkets is Korean owned and managed, for Korean customers. They obviously sell all you need to make kimchi – nice big nappa cabbage, giant radish, fish sauce, shrimp paste, chili powder, etc.

Here’s my recipe:

1 (medium large) head nappa cabbage

1 (medium) ‘Korean’ radish

1 bunch scallions

4 cloves garlic

1 tsp ginger

sea salt

chili powder

1 tbsp sugar

1.5 tbsp fish sauce


1. Quarter cabbage, core, cut to 3 cm lenghts

2. Wash cabbage pieces, drain well

3. Take a good handful of cabbage pieces, place in plastic bag, sprinkle 1 heaping tbsp salt over cabbage, and mix thoroughly. Repeat for rest of cabbage.

4. Twist the bag of cabbage closed, place in sink to brine for 5 hours. As by bag had some small holes, evidently, the brine drained off, more or less.

5. After 5 hours, squeeze out excess moisture and brine from cabbage (and you should rinse it at this point). I didn’t rinse, as my radish was very large, relative to the amount of cabbage, so I felt it would absorb the excess salt that would have been rinsed off.

6. Mince and mash garlic and ginger, slice scallions (green onions) to 2.5 cm pieces – cut the lower, white part lengthwise first. Peel, quarter, then shred radish.

7. In large bowl or tub, mix brined cabbage, garlic, ginger, scallions, radish, sugar and fish sauce (I forgot to buy shrimp paste, so added a bit more fish sauce).  Add chile powder – I first added about 4 tablespoons, then felt it did not look red enough, so added another two. This is a bit vague, I know, but I think it will depend on how much cabbage and radish you have used.

8. Put mixture in clean container, that is not fully closed (to allow gases to escape). Store in cool place for several days while it ferments, then place in fridge. Enjoy?

Here’s a few pictures of the process, and the result:

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