Many families prepare kimchi, a traditional Korean dish, during fall.
Want fermented cabbage with your pumpkin spice? Kimchi, a staple in Korean culture, is a spicy fermented cabbage dish. Starting in the fall season, families begin to celebrate Kimjang by making kimchi.
“[Kimjang] is like a big family tradition to make kimchi, usually around fall,” freshman Jenny Won said. “[My family] usually makes it around Korean Thanksgiving in October or November. It’s based off the lunar calendar.”
From 57 B.C.E. to 668 C.E., the Three Kingdoms Period, people salted radishes in brine during winters to preserve it and eat all season long, according to Zen Kimchi.
People added more modern ingredients like fish paste, sweet potato and spices. These Japanese and New World ingredients reached Korea through trade and war.
“I like how it’s spicy and its sourness. [Kimchi] has a good mixture of flavors, and it suffices your appetite,” freshman Mary Wong said.
By lactic acid fermentation, bacteria converts glucose into lactic acid, killing off harmful bacteria and souring the batch.
The most popular type is baechu-kimchi, which is made from Napa cabbage leaves. Here is a basic recipe, but change the ingredient ratios based on your preference.
One head Napa cabbage, cut into 2-inch wedges
Minimum 12 cups cold water
One cup and one teaspoon coarse salt
One bulb garlic, peeled and chopped
One 2-inch ginger root piece, peeled and minced
One cup daikon radish, peeled and grated
½ cup red pepper flakes (kochukaru)
Four scallions, cut into 1-inch strips
¼ cup fish sauce
Two teaspoons sugar
Wash and cut cabbage into two-inch chunks.
Dissolve one cup of salt in 12 cups of water. Submerge cabbage in salt-water for three to five hours.
Remove and squeeze water out of cabbage by hand. Place into large bowl.
Mix flavorings in a separate bowl: garlic, ginger, radish, kochukaru, scallions, fish sauce, salt and sugar to taste.
Stuff flavoring mix in between cabbage leaves. Layer together.
Transfer batch into airtight jar(s) with lids. Leave one inch of headspace.
Let sit in a cool, dark place for two days at room temperature.
Open jar(s) after two days and sample. Refrigerate after opening.
This recipe will store for 12 months in a closed container with refrigeration. Enjoy your delicious, nutritious kimchi in a hot pot, in fried rice or just by itself!
This recipe was adapted from Ann Lee and Keith Kim.