Quick and Simple Kimchi
(recipe, Jessica Prentice)
This is an easy starter version of kimchi, but it is delicious. After it is fermented, I make a quick meal by serving it in a bowl topped with soba noodles drizzled with toasted sesame oil, and a well-seasoned beef or chicken broth. You can add some cooked meat or just a sprinkling of scallions for an easy lunch or dinner.
- 1 head napa cabbage
- 1 daikon radish
- 1 black Spanish radish (these are common in local farmer's markets—if you can't find it, just leave it out or replace with another kind of radish)
- 1 turnip
- 2 carrots
- 2 Tbsp. sea salt
- Filtered water
- 1 4.0 -inch piece ginger, peeled
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 bunch scallions
- 1 Thai bird red pepper (Optional. This makes the kimchi quite spicy—you can add 2 if you like it very spicy. You could also just use a pinch of cayenne to add some spice, but not too much.)
- Rinse the cabbage and cut into ½- inch strips (not the tough core). Cut the radishes, turnip, and carrot in half and then slice thinly on the diagonal. Mix the vegetables together in a bowl and sprinkle generously with sea salt. Cover with filtered water, cover with a towel, and let sit for 3 hours.
- Meanwhile coarsely chop the garlic, ginger, and scallions. Remove the stem and seeds from the pepper and cut the skin into a few pieces. Put these ingredients into a mortar and pestle (what I use) or a food processor and mash into a paste.
- Drain the soaking liquid off the cabbage mixture and reserve.
- Mix the ginger paste in with the cabbage mixture and pack into a mason jar. Press the mixture down repeatedly with your fist until liquid begins to rise up. Then add enough of the soaking water into the jar so that all the vegetables are covered with liquid.
- Now gently weigh down the top of the mixture, with a smaller jar filled with water as for the Quick Kraut above, so that the liquid rises above the solids. This pushes the vegetables down but allows the liquid to come up over the top.
- Place the jar with the weight inside on a counter and drape a cloth napkin or tea towel over it.
- Ferment at room temperature for 1 week, checking daily to make sure the vegetables are submerged in the brine. (If you find that you need more brine, dissolve 1 teaspoon sea salt in ⅓ cup water and pour enough liquid into the jar so that the brine coverer the vegetables.)
- Remove the plastic lid and weight, screw the top on the jar, and transfer it to the fridge. This will last for several months.