When my mom posted pictures of her freshly made Kimchi on facebook, I knew it was time for me to try and make my own Kimchi again. I’d made some Kimchi a few times before but I was always disappointed by the result. It just wasn’t as good as my mom’s Kimchi that I grew up eating. Admittedly I don’t have all the ingredients needed for traditional Kimchi. I don’t like to buy the shrimp juice they sell at Asian markets because honestly… they just look kinda gross. I have no idea whether or not they are really fresh… Since my mom used to buy only the fresh shrimp chunks in juice, or simply because I just didn’t see those little shrimps in my mom’s Kimchi, it was all good… But the little shrimps they sell at the Asian markets around here.. they are not so little. So I skip it and use Korean fish sauce only. But by all means, if you do like the little shrimps in your Kimchi, go ahead and use some.
This isn’t really the traditional kind of “Kimchi”. Koreans call this version of Kimchi “Gutjeri” which means “Freshly made without the fermenting process”. I really like freshly made Kimchi. It’s probably more popular in Korea than the traditional fermented Kimchi throughout the year. People tend to think that all Kimchi are fermented underground but that’s not really true. Some still do bury it underground, maybe, but it’s extremely rare. They used to do that when there was fridges available, years and years ago. Nowadays, everyone seems to have a special fridge made for Kimchi, they call it a Kimchi fridge. A lot of Koreans make Kimchi in the beginning of each Winter when all the cabbages are in season. Since cabbages are not available during cold and harsh winters in Korea, they make a lot of Kimchi before Winter and store them all in their Kimchi fridge (or underground traditionally). And the Kimchi ferments throughout the winter. Some really like the fermented taste but I was never a big fan. I’ve always liked the freshly made ones. Fermented Kimchi is often used in soups and stirfried banchan dishes.
Gutjeri is a little bit different from the traditional Kimchi in that it’s not fermented and that it’s freshly made in seasons that’s not winter. You don’t have to make a bunch all at once, just one or two at a time. That way, you make Kimchi fresh every other week or so to enjoy fresh Kimchi at your table each day.
I really like this recipe. You can pretty much make it however you want. You can add more gochugaru (Korean red pepper flakes) to make it spicier, more salt, less salt, more garlic, less garlic.. You know what I’m saying. :) I made mine a little spicy because I love spicy Kimchi. Luckily, my husband is the same way. He loves all the spicy Korean food! Kimchi is good with just about any Korean food. Now I will share the recipe step-by-step so you can see how it’s done!
First cut one cabbage in quarters shown in the picture #1. I used one cabbage but you can use more, just adjust the recipe accordingly.
#2: Cut the Napa cabbage in bite sizes (or you can cut them a little bigger, you can cut it however you like it).
#3: Prepare Korean coarse salt, especially made for Kimchi. The salt helps cabbages bring out all the water stored in them.
#4: Sprinkle about two handfuls (about 1 cup) of the coarse salt to the cabbage.
#5: Stir the cabbage and salt together by hand to make sure the salt is evenly distributed. Set aside for 1 hour. After 1 hour, stir again and set aside another 1 hour.
#6: After two hours, the cabbage will have brought all the water out of it.
#7: Rinse the cabbage thoroughly in cold water, about 2-3 times. Make sure to squeeze all the water out of the cabbage as much as you can. Set aside.
#8: Make the Kimchi Yangnyum (Kimchi flavoring paste) by combining 1 1/2 cup gochugaru (Korean red pepper flakes), 6 tablespoons minced garlic, 1/2 tablespoon minced ginger, and 6-10 green onions, chopped.
#9: Cut about 1/4 of a Korean turnip or daikon into thin 2 inch long strips and add to the paste.
#10: You will need some Korean fish sauce called “Kanari”. Add about 2-3 tablespoons according to your taste. I don’t like to use too much fish sauce in my Kimchi but use about 3 tablespoons if you like fish sauce in Kimchi.
#11: Add 3 tablespoons sugar to the paste.
#12: Prepare sweet rice water by combining 5 tablespoons sweet rice powder (or sweet rice flour) and 3 cups water together. Stir well until smooth. Add the sweet rice water to the paste and stir well with a spoon to mix.
#13: Continue to stir until the paste looks like thick water, kind of like milkshake texture. Not too thick but not too watery. If you keep stirring, the paste might become more of a desired texture. If you think the texture is too thick, then add a little bit of water to the paste and stir.
#14: Add the cabbage to the paste.
#15: Stir the cabbage in the paste by hand.
#16: And tada! Kimchi will be ready to be eaten in just overnight. Keep Kimchi in a tight container or a jar.
Red and spicy! Just the way I like it!
- 1 Napa cabbage, cut in quarters, then cut into bite sizes
- 1 cup Korean coarse sea salt
- Kimchi paste: 1½ cups gochugaru (Korean red pepper flakes)
- 6 tablespoons minced garlic
- ½ tablespoon minced ginger
- 2-3 tablespoons Korean kanari fish sauce (or shrimp sauce)
- ¼ Korean turnip or daikon, cut into 2 inch long thin strips
- 6-10 green onions, finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 3 tablespoons sweet rice powder or sweet rice flour
- 3 cups water
- See the post for step by step instructions.
Don't miss a post!