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Food

Simple Stay-Home Recipes: Homemade Kimchi to Impress

Last Updated: June 17, 2020

Written by Nicole Lam

You’d think that kimchi only comes in jars at the Korean section of the supermarket, but it turns out you can whip some up yourself. It might seem a little intimidating when you see the laundry list of ingredients but trust me, once you make your first batch, you won’t want to stop.

I have to admit, this recipe is a little step up from our usual Simple Stay-home recipes, but it’s easier than it looks. Plus, you can even pair this recipe with our Easy Kimchi Fried Rice, and you’ll be unstoppable.



Not to mention, fermented food and especially kimchi has many health benefits. For one, kimchi is chock-full of good bacteria that will do wonders for your gut health and is also high in vitamins and minerals.

Before we get down and dirty with good ole gochujang, I do have to mention that making kimchi is highly personal—you can put your own spin to it. So, don’t be too restricted by this recipe. If you like it spicy, go heavy on the chilli flakes; or if cabbage is not to your liking, then replace it with vegetable of your choice. Besides being the name of a dish, kimchi is also a method of cooking.

Ingredients

Homemade Kimchi 1

Vegetables

  • 1 medium napa cabbage
  • A liberal amount of salt
  • 1 medium carrot
  • ½ radish
  • A good amount of chives
Homemade Kimchi 27

Spice Paste 

  • 1 Chinese pear
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • ½ an onion
  • 1 small knob of ginger
  • 2 tablespoons of Korean chilli flakes (or more, if desired)
  • 2 teaspoons of cincalok (small fermented prawn)
  • 2 tablespoons of gochujang (Korean red chilli paste)
  • 1 teaspoon of fish sauce

Other ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon of flour
  • 1 tablespoon of water

Tools

  • Large bowl
  • Knife
  • Cutting board
  • Blender OR Food Processer
  • Small saucepan
  • Airtight jar or food container, preferably made of glass

Recipe Preparation

Preparation time: 50 minutes

Feeds four

  •  Slice the napa cabbage in half and cover the cabbage with salt.
  • Leave the cabbage to marinate for at least half an hour to overnight. The longer you leave the cabbage, the more water the salt will draw out from the cabbage.
  • In the meantime time, julienne the radish and carrot.
  • Next, chop the chives.
  • Skin and cut the Chinese pear into half. Peel the ginger and roughly chop it.
  • Peel the garlic cloves and set aside.
  • Place garlic, Chinese pear and ginger into the food processor and blend them till smooth.
  • Make a paste with the flour and water. Place two tablespoons of flour and water into a saucepan and stir until the mixture has a paste-like consistency.
  • Then, place the saucepan over medium heat and stir vigorously until the paste is thick.
  • Place all your chopped vegetables in a bowl and set aside.
  • In a separate bowl, combine your Korean chilli flakes, fermented shrimp, fish sauce, gochujang with the puréed pears and garlic.
  • Work the paste into your vegetables until they are evenly coated.
  • Remove the cabbage from the refrigerator and rinse the napa cabbage thoroughly to get rid of the excess salt.
  • Stuff the vegetables into the crevices of the napa cabbage. Repeat this process until your stuffed all the napa cabbage pieces.
  • You can enjoy your kimchi right there and then.
  • For a more pronounced flavour, place your stuffed napa cabbage into an airtight container or jar.
  • Then, store your kimchi in the refrigerator, and the flavour will continue to develop.

Recipe (In Pictures)

Homemade Kimchi 2

Step 1: Slice the napa cabbage in half. Make sure not to slice off the root; you’ll want the napa cabbage intact.

Homemade Kimchi 4Homemade Kimchi 3

Step 2: Then, cover the napa cabbage with salt. Make sure you get salt on every part of the cabbage, so really get in there.

Subsequently, leave the cabbage to marinate for at least half an hour to overnight.  You’ll start to see water pooling in the bottom of the bowl of the cabbages. The longer you leave the cabbage, the more water will draw out.

Step 3: In the meantime time, julienne your radish and carrot.

Homemade Kimchi 5

Here is how you do it: First, cut your radish into rectangles of even thickness.

Homemade Kimchi 6

Afterwards, stack the radish rectangles together and cut through. You should get these thin radish matchsticks.

Homemade Kimchi 7

The same goes for your carrots. It’s a new skill if you are a novice in the kitchen, but be patient with yourself—it will be a skill that will serve you for a long time.

Homemade Kimchi 8

Step 4: Next, chop the chives.

Homemade Kimchi 10

Step 5: Place all the chopped vegetables in a bowl and set aside.

Step 6: Skin and cut the Chinese pear into half. Peel the ginger and roughly chop them. You don’t have to be so fussy with this step since these are going into the food processor.

Step 7: Then, peel the garlic cloves and set aside.

Homemade Kimchi 9

Step 8: Place the garlic, Chinese pear and ginger into the food processor and blend them till smooth. Set this aside.

Step 9: Now, you will make a paste with the flour and water. Place two tablespoons of flour and water into a saucepan and stir until the mixture has a paste-like consistency. Then, place the saucepan over medium heat and stir vigorously until the paste is thick.

Homemade Kimchi 11Homemade Kimchi 13

Step 10: In a separate bowl, combine your Korean chilli flakes, fermented shrimp, fish sauce, gochujang with the pureed pears and garlic.

Homemade Kimchi 16

This is where you can decide how you like your kimchi, for something fiery add more Korean chilli flakes and gochujang. If not, you can ease up on the chilli flakes.

Homemade Kimchi 17Homemade Kimchi 20

Step 11: Work the paste into the vegetables until all the vegetables are evenly coated.



Step 12: Remove the cabbage from the refrigerator if you have left it overnight. Rinse the napa cabbage thoroughly to get rid of the excess salt.

Homemade Kimchi 22Homemade Kimchi 24

Step 13: Stuff the vegetables into the crevices of the napa cabbage. Repeat this process until you’ve stuffed all the napa cabbages.

Homemade Kimchi 25

You should end up with something like this. The best part of making kimchi is that you can enjoy your kimchi right there and then, should you want to.

Homemade Kimchi 26

For a more pronounced flavour, place your stuffed napa cabbage into an airtight container or jar. Then, store your kimchi in the refrigerator, and the flavour will continue to develop, the longer it ferments.

Homemade Kimchi 28

When you want to eat your kimchi, remove one of the cabbage heads and place it on the chopping board.

Homemade Kimchi 29

Cut your kimchi into even pieces, and you can serve or use it to make kimchi-jjigae. Even better, kimchi is best enjoyed with a slice of bossam (fatty pork shoulder)—those tangy, spicy flavours meld with richness of the pork.

While it might seem like a tedious process to make your own kimchi, it is utterly rewarding. I do have to caution that kimchi does have an exceptionally pungent smell, so when mixing the paste, you can use gloves. Also, be extra careful about how you store your jar. One wrong move and your entire refrigerator will smell like kimchi.



An impressive but relatively easy recipe to add to your repertoire, try this one out and tell us what you think!

Expected Damage: S$3 – S$4 per portion

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