Jess Commons | Deputy Editor | Sunday, 8 May 2016

Ace Food Alert: How To Make Excellent Kimchi At Home

Ace Food Alert: How To Make Excellent Kimchi At Home

The Debrief: A recipe for how to make the Korean pickled cabbage dish kimchi at home

Korean food is the hipster dish of choice this year (last year was all about the ramen, FYI) and there's nothing more insanely moorish than kimchi -a traditional fermented Korean side dish. We asked Freddie Janssen of F.A.T London how to make some all on our own. Because if learning how to make one deceptively simple side dish isn't a sign of impending adulthood, we don't know what is. 

'You need sugar and salt so it can brine and all the juices start to come out' explains Freddie when she shows us how to make kimchi at her lovely, lovely flat. 'To get rid of the excess salt I use spice paste.'

There's lots of weird and wonderful cabaages that can go in kimchi. Chinese leaf is the classic one but Freddie says not to stop just there. 'You can add things like spring onions and grated carrot, daikon (a sweet and crunchy big white carrot thing), jaicama which is inbetween a pear and daikon - it's this crazy root, really fleshy and crunchy.'

Once you've chucked everything in together, it's a case of waiting for it to brine. 'Let it bring for about two weeks.' Says Freddie. 'I've been pickling for so long but I forgot I used to get quite intimidated and freaked out when it started growing mold. But it's fine!' She says. 'You just scoop the mold off and it's fine underneath!'

Ingredients for kimchi

2 large Chinese cabbage 600g-700g (1 lb 5 oz– 1 lb 8 oz) each
2 tablespoons sea salt
100 g (3 ½ oz/ ½ cup)
granulated (raw) sugar, plus 2 tablespoons
3. tablespoons gochugaru
(Korean red chilli powder)
3 garlic cloves, peeled and
crushed or finely chopped
1 thumb-sized piece fresh
ginger, peeled and grated
60 ml (2 fl oz) light soy sauce
50 ml (2 fl oz) sesame oil
5 spring onion stalks
(scallions), finely chopped
3 tablespoons sesame seeds
Makes 1. kg (3 lb 4 oz) 

How to make kimchi 

1 Rinse the cabbage well and drain. Chuck out any damaged outer leaves.

2 Slice the cabbage in half, then cut it into 4 pieces lengthways. Next, chop the cabbage into slices about 1 cm (½ in) thick.

3 Put the cabbage into a large plastic container and add the salt and 2 tablespoons sugar. Toss well, put the lid on the container and chill in the fridge for 24 hours.

4 Remove the cabbage from the fridge. (Ideally, you want to do this an hour before handling it to keep your hands from getting super cold.) Take handfuls of cabbage, and squeeze out as much of the liquid as you can.

5 In a separate bowl or plastic container, add the gochugaru, the remaining sugar, garlic and ginger and mix well. Add water if it’s too thick, then stir in the soy sauce and sesame oil.

6 If you’re scared of garlicky fingers, wear disposable gloves. Add the cabbage, spring onion and sesame seeds to the slurry and use your hands to mix really well, squeezing the paste into the cabbage.

7 Return the cabbage to the large plastic container, put on the lid and refrigerate. The kimchi will taste nice within 1 week, and start to build up a nice funk after 2 weeks. After those 2 weeks you can keep fermenting it as it will
just get fizzier and funkier. This will keep for up to 1 month.

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Tags: Food, Food Glorious Food, ReciPLEASE, Recipes