How to Make Kimchee (Kimchi) from Scratch: Step by Step Guide with Photos!

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Kimchi has been one of my favorite things to eat for as long as I can remember. Unfortunately, many of the store bought brands have preservatives in them that do not allow fermentation to happen. Once I learned that a couple years ago, I began making my own. After years of friends asking me for the recipe, I am finally ready to share – I just needed time to get the taste down to my exact liking.

This is what  you’ll need:

  • 2 heads of Napa cabbage
  • kosher salt
  • Half a bulb of garlic (More if you prefer more, less if you prefer less)
  • 1 medium onion
  • a chunk of fresh ginger (again… add more if you like a prevalent ginger flavor)
  • 5 organic green onions
  • coarse hot pepper powder (found at the Asian food store)
  • HOT chili powder (optional)
  • Red Boat fish sauce (optional)
  • Food processor

Now here’s how you do it…

Buy two or three heads of Napa Cabbage (2 large or three small). I have seen organic Napa at a select few places, and I always prefer that to conventionally grown, but use what you have available.  Clean with cold water, rinsing in-between each leaf as well as you can.

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Cut the cabbage in half length-wise and rinse again with cold water. Then cut a small slit into the core of the cabbage as seen below:

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Sprinkle Kosher salt in between each leaf, gently massaging the salt into the leaf and be sure to get down towards to core. The salt gives the cabbage flavor and also tenderizes it.

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After I am finished salting, I pile up the cabbage into a large pot and leave them for two hours. Then I turn them over and let them sit for two more hours. There are ways to speed up this process, but from my experience, I personally enjoy the flavor and texture best when I salt the cabbage for four hours.  Towards the end of the four hours, I’ll clean and prep my garlic, onion, green onions and ginger.

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After salting, rinse the cabbage with cold water 3-4 times to remove the salt.

Now it’s time to grab the food processor. Toss in the garlic, ginger and onion. Pulse until it is evenly chopped up and put into a bowl.

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Cut up the green onions into about 1″ pieces. I use the green and white portion. Add the green onions to the bowl as well. Then add in the hot pepper powder(s). The amount of heat you want your kimchi to have will determine how much hot pepper you add but I add about 1 cup of the powders total.

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Then add 1-2 tablespoons of fish sauce. I specifically say Red Boat fish sauce because it is only made from black anchovies and sea salt – no added water, no MSG, no preservatives.

Mix everything together and there you have your kimchee base.

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Grab the Napa cabbage, remove the cores and chop it up into bite size pieces. Once you have chopped it all up, grab the kimchi base and combine it with the cabbage.

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Once mixed evenly, store the kimchee in sanitized, air-tight jars and leave on the counter for 5-7 days. You must “burp” the kimchi daily – this means open the jar, push down the cabbage and let any excess air escape. I do this twice a day, but I’m kind of obsessive over and I like to take a big wiff of it too. After 5-7 days, store in the fridge.

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You do not have to follow my recipe exactly. I tried a lot of different versions before I found what I liked best. Play around with the ingredients until you come up with what you like. If you are looking for a very hot kimchi, add more spice. It will turn out great no matter what. No two batches ever turn out exactly the same. I suggest taste testing the kimchi daily so you can see how as it ferments, the taste changes.

I’ve learned that kimchee makes everything taste better so be adventurous!

Enjoy!

Homemade Kimchee/Kimchi with Scrambled Eggs – Why Eat Fermented Foods?

Homemade Kimchi with eggs -  MinnesotaFromScratch.wordpress.com

Homemade Kimchee is one of the most satisfying things I have made. It is something that I have loved since I was a toddler thanks to the expanded tastes of my elders.  It is and always has been one of my favorite things to eat and last fall my friend and I finally made it.  Our first batch turned out so hot that no one could eat it.  Talk about a huge disappointment! We both love spicy food but it unfortunately turned out to be inedible to us and everyone we tried to pawn it off on.  But after a couple of alterations to the recipe, our second batch turned out great!

I have purchased many brands of Kimchee sold at local grocery stores and one brand in particular is out of this world delicious. Unfortunately, I recently learned that does not have the “good belly bacteria” in it that I thought it did and that’s why it’s even more of a reason to make it homemade. Fermented foods provide all sorts of benefits to our health: they are packed with good-belly-bacteria (lactobacilli) that promote healthy functioning of the intestinal tract , they have tons of minerals and essential vitamins ( including A and C – antioxidants) and are said to boost your immune system.

Kimchee is also very low-calorie and VERY flavorful so I can eat a ton and feel satisfied and not guilty! I love to mix it with brown rice for a quick snack,  have it over eggs, or eat it as is. My grandpa likes to put it on his sandwiches and I have heard of it put on pizza as well. It’s frickin amazing no matter how you eat it.

Take care, Stephanie

Have you ever made or eaten Kimchee? Did you like your experience?

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