Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Napa Cabbage Kimchi

Before I get into my kimchi post, here's my interview with Made in Kitchen. Thank you very much Rochelle of Acquired Taste




Last December I was busy making and selling daifuku (mochi filled with adzuki bean paste) for Christmas. Making 120 pieces of mochis a day is not what I have in mind. But at least I know not to make a huge batch in one day. Then, the other day, when my brother saw four bottles of kimchi on our kitchen countertop, he teased me, “So you’re selling kimchi now instead of mochi?”

“Uhm, yes, why not?”

Well, the last syllable rhymes but he forgot to mention the gnocchi that I was making last the two months. But anyway, I’ve been making kimchi these past three months doing different variations every time I make them, starting with Napa cabbage as the main ingredient and building up ingredients from Korean radish to carrots, while garlic and ginger are always added for extra zing and character. Making kimchi is more of an experiment than following a recipe to heart. I'm still not yet done with my other variations. And don't be surprised if you see a bitter gourd kimchi.



I also added some pureed apple, pear and onion to the mixture (an idea from Dr. Ben Kim.) for extra sweetness. Most kimchis in Korea are made by cutting the Napa cabbage in half lengthwise and filled with the spicy mixture in between the layers of salted leaves, but I prefer to cut them into smaller pieces and toss with the other ingredients. The first time I made kimchi, I was only using a moderate-size bowl. The second time, I’m using a bigger bowl and finally I’ve been using two large bowls because I don’t have a bowl bigger than the one I have. Other kimchis have additional ingredients such as rice flour mixed with water to aid in the fermentation process and some people add tiny salted fish to add flavor to it. Well, kimchi could be insipid sometimes but adding  fish sauce or soy sauce should also be used moderately.


Kimchi is a lacto-fermented product that is a good source of probiotics. The procedure of adding salt at the very beginning deactivates the bacteria so it can be stored for a longer period of time. While the salt acts as natural preservative, the lactic acid is produced during the maturing process which suppresses the growth of harmful bacteria.



Koreans are known for their flawless and beautiful skin and that is one of the many benefits of eating kimchi. The health benefits are numerous but I mentioned the benefit of having beautiful skin because people would be encouraged to eat it, just like mom. :) She doesn’t want to eat it but the moment I mentioned that, she actually asked for it. Although she only asked for it once. When I did a post about kefir, I mentioned that it greatly benefits the digestive system, and kimchi and other fermented food does the same thing. They are beneficial for restoring the intestinal flora by promoting and multiplying the growth of good bacteria. While minerals cannot be produced in the body, you can synthesize vitamins in your small intestine by eating fermented foods.


Napa Cabbage Kimchi

Makes enough kimchi to fill about 6 bottles of 500 gram jars

2 whole Napa cabbage (about 2 pounds)
½ cup coarse sea salt
warm water

2 large carrots
3 –inch piece fresh ginger root
½ garlic bulb
8 green onions (Philippine size)
½ Fuji apple
2 fragrant pears
1 small onion
½ cup water
½ cup whey

½ cup Korean red chili powder
½ cup warm water
2 tbsp naturally fermented soy sauce

To prepare the cabbage, cut it in half and remove the core in the middle. Cut each half into 2-inch pieces crosswise. If the cabbage is huge, I cut the lower sturdy part into four. Rinse the cabbage thoroughly. Place the cabbage in a large bowl and sprinkle with salt. Toss to combine. Then add the warm water just enough to cover the cabbage. Let it sit for four hours. 

To prepare the other ingredients, peel and grate the carrots, ginger and garlic. Wash, trim and cut the green onions into 1-inch pieces. Peel the roughly chop the apple, pears and onion, then place in a blender with the water and whey, and blend until pureed.

To prepare the kimchi, drain the cabbage and gently squeeze to remove the excess water and transfer to a bowl. Add the grated carrots, ginger, garlic, chopped green onion and the apple, pear and onion puree. In a small bowl, combine the chili powder and water until it forms to a paste. Add to the cabbage mixture. Then add the soy sauce. Now, put on a pair of gloves and toss all the ingredients together. While I’m tossing the mixture, I also lean the cabbage to release some of their juice. When done, divide the kimchi into 6 individual clean glass jars pressing it down to remove the air bubbles. Cover and leave the bottles at room temperature for 1 to 3 days.

Notes:

Gluten-Free; Vegetarian; Dairy-Free (if whey is not used) 

Fill the bottles only three-fourths of the jar. The contents will expand as the kimchi ferments.

If you prefer kimchi that is less sour, ferment them for only 1 day. They will continue fermenting even if you store them in the refrigerator.

I check on the kimchi the following day up to day three by pressing cabbage leaves with a spoon so they are covered with the liquid mixture.

You can use water if whey is not available.



Here are other variations of Kimchi from other food bloggers I know.
Have fun and enjoy.


Love and light,



Print Recipe


41 comments:

  1. divina! (*drool*)I LOVE KIMCHI!!!! ur last pic is soo good, as if i can hold the spoon and eat a mouthful of that kimchi=)i like eating kimchi with fried marinated beef with steamed rice, will make this soon...

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  2. Oh wow, your kimchi is gorgeous! The colour is so vibrant. Your version sounds fantastic especially by adding in pear & apples. This is a keeper. Must try this version soon. Thanks and have a great day!
    Regards, Kristy

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  3. Beautiful kimchi! though I'm not fond of those, heehee...it is an acquired taste. I see you got some ideas from Dr. Ben Kim too :D

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  4. Your pics are so vibrant... I can almost taste the kimchi ;)

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  5. Oh..Oooo...your kimchi looks so beautiful. My Korean friend taught me how to make kimchi before but I found yours more interesting by adding apple and pear. Must try this some day.

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  6. I'm not a big fan of Kimchi, but your pictures look so amazing. I love the new site look, did I tell you that already? :-D

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  7. Everyday that goes by, a new taste to it. Love this stuff!

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  8. wonderful kimchi,divine!and wonderful interview,congrats !
    in romania,we make the cabbage finely sliced combined with the salt,thyme and sometime with cumin .in a few days ,at the room temperature ,fermentation is ready and the mixture is good for 1-2 week,kept in the fridge.the cabbage,in all the forms,raw or prepared (fermentation,pickled or boiled in different ways) is a swab for our intestines and is a continuing recommentation of abdominal surgery for prevention of colon cancer.my boy ,simon likes salads with cabbage, a lot!

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  9. You have just given me one more strong reason to make my loving kimchi : ).

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  10. You make Kimchi-making look so easy, I would like to give this a go. And now I know why my mom have beautiful skin, she loves kimchi, more than I do!

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  11. Very beautiful colour. Your kimchi looks perfect. Kimchi is just so delicious. My daughter actually just eats for fun on it own!

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  12. I love kimchi! Yours looks absolutely fantastic!

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  13. Divina,
    Love your post on kimchi. I don't know why kimchi is very expensive here. Now I can make my own for the sake of my own skin beauty and healthier digestive system, heehee. Thanks a lot.

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  14. I already adore kimchi, though I've never made it at home, but you really sold me when you wrote about how it's good for flawless skin. Though I doubt kimchi will be able to help me, it's a perfect excuse to eat more! Gorgeous pictures - this is the prettiest kimchi I've seen!

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  15. Love it!! Tried a apple kimchi recently... it was delicious. We make our own kimchi too. Yum Yum... perfect for the colder weather.

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  16. Wonderful! I've only recently learned to appreciate the deep flavor of kimchi, but all I can find are bottled versions at the market. Not having tasted a great variety, I'm not sure if I know what really good kimchi is supposed to taste like, but I figure that the more I try, the more I'll know! Would love to have a taste of your version. 8-)

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  17. Your recipe looks so neat and precise. So comforting, but when I make it, I think I will be sweating and reeking of kimchi smell, not to mention red stained gloves?

    May I buy a bottle or two instead? LOL

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  18. Fantastic interview, Divina. You really showed your beautiful spirit and passion.

    This is such an informative post on kimchi. I learned so much that I didn't know.

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  19. looks great cool you sell food would love to try your mochi

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  20. Your kimchi looks gorgeous! I love the photos!

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  21. HI Divina, I love kimchi and usually eat it so fast when we buy it. Had not thought about making it before because I thought it takes a while to ferment. 3 days? I will try this. Thanks for sharing.

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  22. gorgeous pictures! love kimchi but had no idea that it was possible to make at home, for me it was this mystery ingredient like ketchup, it comes already made :) Great post and thanks, I might one day try to make it.

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  23. gorgeous! love the vibrant photos!

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  24. Kimchi looks great! Beautiful photos

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  25. One of the best things about coming to your blog is reading about something new. I have never heard or tried kimchi before. But the flavours just sound amazing. I must try this.

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  26. I love the sourness of kim-chi and have been inkling to make my own so ensure its great taste. These are wonderfully lit shots Divina..great job of capturing the essence of kim-chi!

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  27. omg Divina your pictures of kimchi are beautiful. I absolutely love kimchi -- my best friend is Korean so she actually introduced me to the beauties of this side dish. I love kimchi pancakes, dumplings and of course by itself. Who knew it had so many health benefits hahaha, now I have more the reason to eat copious amounts of it :) I am glad I am back, my eyes have missed your beautiful words and pictures!

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  28. I love kimchee and I'm proud to say that I finally convinced my French boyfriend to jump on the bandwagon! Now I have the green light to make this at home!

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  29. I have a jar of kimchi in my fridge at all times. I can't get enough of it. I've been toying with the idea of making my own and really like the addition of apple and pear in yours. Just wonderful!

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  30. Lovely kimchi. Though not very fond of it but a small bite is always very appetizing. Great photos!

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  31. Good job on the kimchi! It looks totally awesome! I love kimchi.

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  32. Japanese loves kimchi too, but most are ready-made. Your home-made kimchi is fabulous! Ooh, I need it now!!

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  33. I adore kimchi, but didn't know that it was great for the skin! This looks like a great recipe to try at home.

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  34. Never had kimchi. I better give it a try!

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  35. I love making my own condiments and I am definitely going to try this next! I love the use of apple and pear.

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  36. Looks delicious! I saw a lot of Koreans when I was there, I bet you could sell it:-)

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  37. Thank you so much for this recipe! I'll have to make it soon. My dad loves kimchi. :)

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  38. Divina, how did I miss this?! Your Kimchi looks wonderful and one that I am going to try!! I love the color and will be picking up some Korean red chili powder to use :)

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  39. i've always wondered what i can eat kimchi with. not really familiar with this food ^^;

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  40. I love traditional fermented foods and kimchi is one of them. So much as that I've even written an article about probiotic foods on my blog. So I can't help leaving another comment here after reading about your kimchi project (you're so talented!). I've not tried making myself yet because I'm afraid that the fermentation will go wrong and poison my entire family. But I enjoy eating them so much. Thanks for writing about kimchi! :)

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  41. i really like kimchi
    it is my favourite food in korean
    ;-)

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Your comments, suggestions, feedback are all welcome.