Kimchi is a traditional side dish (banchan) of Korea. It is basically fermented cabbage pickled with chili powder, garlic and a few other ingredients. Traditionally, nappa cabbage (Baechu) and Korean chili pepper (gochugaru) is used for making Kimchi. Unfortunately, they are not available in my town; so I decided I could try making it with substitutes available locally. The first time I tried my hand at Kimchi was out of curiosity. To my surprise it turned out really flavorsome and I was able to use it in various other dishes as well, resulting in new delicious recipes which I will certainly share them soon over here. If you are making it for the first time, it might take a while to get used to the pungent smell and taste. It is definitely worth a try though.
1 medium-sized head green cabbage
1 red onion (use scallions if available)
1 tsp chopped ginger
5-6 cloves garlic
3 dried red chilies
1/4 tsp red chili powder
3 tbsp salt
- Divide the cabbage into two halves and remove the core. Next, cut it into 2-inch squares.
- Place the cabbage in a bowl and add the salt and water (enough to cover the cabbage) to it. Cover it with a lid and leave it to ferment for 3-4 hours. Also, soak dried red chilies in water.
- Drain water and rinse the fermented cabbage in clean water. Add soaked red chilies, ginger and garlic in a mixer grinder and form a paste.
- Add red onions cut in julienne (or scallions and any other vegetables of you choice like radish and carrot), red chili paste and chili powder into the cabbage and mix well.
- Store it in an air tight container and refrigerate after a few hours. Give it a good shake at regular intervals. Let the cabbage soak in its juices for about a week. It will also change its color. That’s when it will taste best. Although, you can have it right away as well. Consume within 30 days.
It definitely tastes very different from the real Kimchi but pleasing to the palate. Change the flavor according to your taste. Add sugar or more chili if you like.