This beautiful kimchi recipe came from a collaboration between Sharon and the wonderful team running the Korean Festival. Sharon was honoured to be asked to present at the Korean Festival and make a kimchi for the festival-goers. There are as many kimchi recipes as there are kimchi makers, and this one is quite different to The Fermentary's usual recipe. Some of these ingredients can be tricky to find in Australian, so a quick trip to an Asian supermarket might need to be on the cards (always an enjoyable trip to suffer through!).
You might notice that this recipe makes quite a lot of kimchi, in fact it will easily fill 6 of our fermenting jars, or one of our beautiful hand-made kimchi crocks! We've kept the recipe this size because making kimchi in Korea is a collective community practice, called Kimjang. Each year, friends and families gather to reinforce their cultural beliefs of humans living in harmony with each other, and with nature. This is something the Korean consulate also saw in The Fermentary when they asked Sharon to speak (honouring us hugely!).
Traditionally, Kimjang preparations follow the seasons; spring is for beginning to ferment fish into sauce, summer is for buying salt, late summer is when the ubiquitous Gochugaru chilli is dried and ground into powder. All in readiness for wombok harvest and Kimjang in late autumn. Communities come together make and share large amounts of kimchi, so that each family in the community has enough to sustain them through the long winter ahead. It is also a time when ideas and stories are shared, during Kimjang the passing on of heritage and tradition is as important as the kimchi.
- 3 Wombok cabbages
- 15% brine (2L water and 300g salt)
- 2 white radishes
- 1 bunch of garlic chives
- 4 carrots
- 1 bunch of spring onions
- 30g ginger
- 150g garlic
- 200ml Korean fish sauce
- 70ml Korean shrimp sauce
- 220g Gochugaru
- 100ml plum extract
- 100g white sugar
- 50g Glutinous rice flour
- 30g Sweet potato flour
Brining the wombok cabbage
- In a large container, combine 2L of cold water and 300g of sea salt to make a 15% brine. (Make sure the salt has fully dissolved).
- Trim off the tough and dirty outside cabbage leaves and cut the cabbage into bite-size pieces. Place the pieces into the cold brine for 5 hours, with a good mix after 2 hours.
- Remove the cabbages from the brine, they should feel soft and spongy. Rinse them thoroughly under running water several times and place them in a colander to drain.
Making the rice flour porridge
- While the cabbage is brining, put a small pot over a medium heat, continually whisk the glutinous rice flour and sweet potato starch with 1 cup of water until it reaches a rolling boil.
- Keep whisking for 2 minutes until the paste looks like porridge. Remove from heat, transfer to a container and refrigerate until it cools.
Making the kimchi marinade
- Cut the white radish, carrot, spring onion, garlic chieves into small pieces (ideally, you want to julienne these). Mix them with the gochugaru.
- Blend all the Kimchi paste ingredients in the food processor until you get a smooth paste.
- Combine both the paste and the julienned vegetables with the cold kelp rice porridge. Mix well.
Place the brined cabbage into a big bowl, pour over half the kimchi marinade and mix well. Have a taste and, if you want a stronger flavour, keep adding the marinade until you have the flavour your want.
You can keep it fermenting in the bowl, or you can jar it. Press the vegetables down quite firmly with your fist or a pounder. You should easily have enough juice to cover all of the vegetables, so you don't need to weigh the kimchi down. Seal with your chosen lid and leave it on your bench for a few days. Pop into the fridge after 5 normal days or 3 hot days. Or ferment in the fridge from day 1 - this takes about 3 weeks.