This recipe is a Chinese cabbage (leave) or Napa cabbage Kimchi.
To make kimchi there are several essential ingredients. For the chilli powder must be Korean chilli powder which is mild and very deep red in colour, other chilli powder just won't do. I bought this from Chinese supermarket, also available in all Korean supermarkets.
Many kimchi use raw oysters for fermentation and flavour. I won't dare yet not sure if I will get food poisoning using raw seafood to ferment food. Instead I used another Korean ingredient i.e. salted baby shrimps I bought from a Korean supermarket in London. Salted shrimps give a nice (savoury/seafood) flavour than without. This bottle of salted shrimps looks similar to Malaysian salted and fermented shrimps called cincalok. Korean salted shrimps smell a lot fresher and less pungent than cincalok.
Another flavouring is fish sauce either Korean or Thai. I used Thai fish sauce.
**Vegetarian Kimchi is feasible but not as flavourful, just sub fish sauce with light soy and leave out the salted shrimp.
Here is my recipe:
2 heads of Chinese leave (napa cabbage) around 1.2 - 1.6 kg
1/2 cup of any salt (but not table salt)
40g of sweet rice flour (glutinous rice flour)
4 - 5 tbsp sugar
1/3 cup fish sauce
300g daikon radish or mooli, peeled & coarsely grated
1 large Korean or Chinese pear, peeled & coarsely grated
1 bunch of spring onion, sliced into long thin strips
30g garlic, finely chopped (less if you don't like very strong garlic taste)
40g ginger, grated
2 tbsp salted shrimps, pounded or mashed (if you cannot find this, can leave out)
80g of coarse Korean chilli powder (less if you like less spicy, mild use 2 - 3 tbsp)
- Cut the cabbage into quarter. Sprinkle with salt all over and in between the leaves. Leave for 3 - 4 hours till the cabbage is soft and limp. Rinse with water to remove the salt. Squeeze to remove excess water. Cut the core off and cut the leaves into 2 inches long.
- Grate the mooli and Chinese pear. Squeeze out the juice. Keep the pulp with the rest of the vegetables. Measure the juice and top up with water to 1 cup. Stir into the glutinous flour till no lumps. Cook this gently till the mixture thicken to a paste. Leave to cool slightly then add fish sauce and sugar, stir.
- Prepare the rest of the ingredients.
- Mix all the ingredients together with a large mixing bowl. Gloves are strongly recommended.
- After mixing, store in containers.
This kimchi is ready to eat straight away, very fresh like a spicy salad. No acidic taste. Freshly made kimchi is quite dry. After a day or two it should give a liquid juice. Can keep in fridge right away.
To give a more acidic flavour, leave the kimchi to ferment at room temperature for few hours up to 1 day. Then keep in fridge for as long as you like. It's very tasty don't think it will stay very long in the fridge before you are ready to make another batch.
This kimchi has been left on the worktop for about 6 hours, looks a lot more juicier and tastier.