Korean traditional kimchi includes fish paste, Gochujang (Korean red pepper paste), cabbage and daikon, which means not only is it not vegan, but is uses obscure ingredients. Tradition is important, and is a food obstacle for many vegans, but so is accuracy.
Did you know that basically every Korean with a mother and a kitchen has done their Kimchi differently? So let’s make our own!
Here is an easy recipe with 9 grocery store ingredients, many you already have:
1 medium-large Napa Cabbage (about 2 lbs) removed from stalk and chopped into 2 inch pieces.*
1/4 cup fine sea or kosher salt
6 cloves of garlic, minced**
1 inch minced ginger, or 1 tsp ginger powder
1 tsp organic sugar, or juice/syrup*** of choice (no artificial, fermenting NEEDS sugar!)
3 tablespoons of tamari, or soy sauce or liquid aminos
5-6 tablespoons Sriracha, or 6-7 tablespoons red chili pepper hot sauce
8 oz (two large handfuls) of a crisp vegetable: Carrots, cucumbers, daikon radish, or the common red radish (known as the Cherry Belle), sliced into matchsticks. More can be used if desired, and so can combinations!
4 scallions, cut into 1/2 pieces
Massage the salt into the cabbage in a large bowl, working in the salt until the cabbage gets soft. Then cover with water. Now the trick is to keep the cabbage below the water line, so I usually take a plate, and can of something, and put it in the bowl to weigh the cabbage down to soak in all the brine! Let soak 90 minutes.
Mix the seasoning ingredients with 2 tablespoons of water to mix.
Rinse and drain with cold water, a couple times to ensure thorough rinsing. Squeeze the water out of the cabbage and add the crisp vegetables, scallions, and the seasoning mix. Massage to incorporate fully, and press into a tight sealed jar, leaving 1″ of airspace at the top, and pressing down so tightly that juices rise to cover the veggies completely.
Let it ferment. This means keep it away from hot, cold and sunlight, for 3-5 days minimum, making sure the liquid always covers the top. shaking he jar can help raise the juice back up, and the occasional opening to compress the veggies below brine is good too! The longer it ferments the tangier it will be, and when you like the taste, move the jar to the fridge and enjoy your preserved healthy Kimchi for a long, long time.
*Or substitute a leafy green cabbage (to learn more about cabbage types check out this article)
** How to mince garlic, great knife skills!
*** sweet food for thought! Fruit sweeteners