Baechu Kimchi (Korean Kimchi)
Baechu kimchi is the classic Korean kimchi made from Napa cabbage. This recipe is for a jarful of kimchi, which you can then store and eat for a while. You can eat the kimchi fresh, or let it ferment and get ripe -- everyone has their own preference for when to eat kimchi.
- 1 cup of coarse sea salt
- 1 gallon of water (for soaking)
- 1 head of large napa cabbage (5 lb), (baechu 배추), quartered
- 1 small round (approx 2 lb) Korean white radish, thinly shredded (moo 무)
- l/2 cup of hot red pepper flakes (gochugaru 고추가루)
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 tsp of sweet rice flour (chapssalgaru 찹쌀가루)
- 1/2 medium sized yellow onion
- 1 clove of garlic, peeled
- 1 small piece of ginger root, peeled (about 1" long)
- 3 bunches of green onions sliced lengthwise
- 3 tbsp of clear fish sauce (aekjeot 액젓)
- 2 tsp of sugar
- 1 tbsp of pickled shrimp (saewoojut 새우젓)
- 1 tsp of roasted whole sesame seed
- Rinse cabbage quarters (or halves if the heads are small) thoroughly.
- Put one cup of coarse sea salt into a bucket and add 1 gallon of water. Dissolve salt completely and dip in quartered cabbage pieces and press down using an heavy object, clean round rocks or an empty jar filled with water - soak it for over night or longer than 12 hours, turning around a couple of times.
- In the meantime, prepare the stuffing. Get a large bowl handy. Shred the white Korean radish with a mandolin or food slicer into the bowl, using the medium-sized blade. Slowly add the 1/2 cup of red pepper flakes into the shredded radish and mix well, coating evenly. Set aside.
- In a small sauce pan, bring l/2 cup of water to a boil. Stir in 1 tsp of sweet rice flour and mix. Cool it and set it aside. (This liquid is called pulmul (풀물) and is in almost all kimchi recipes).
- Roughly chop the yellow onion. Add the yellow onion, garlic and ginger root into a food processor and grind finely. Add the mixture into the large bowl. Also add the fish sauce, pickled shrimp, green onion, sugar and roasted sesame seed – mix it well with your hands (plastic gloves work well). This is the stuffing for the kimchi.
- The soaked cabbages should look a bit blanched by now; take them out of the salt water and wash them under the running water. Put in a colander and set aside to drain for 5-10 min. Squeeze off the excess water.
- Using the plastic gloves again, take a handful of the stuffing mix and stuff inside the cabbage, going all the way to the root of the leaves (between the leaves) and rubbing the mixture around the outside of the leaves. Try to wrap the stuffed cabbage with the outer green leaves to enclose the stuffing – it’s ok if not all wrapped. Any leftover stuffing can be mixed with broken cabbage leaves and put at the top of the jar.
- Stuff the kimchi heads into a large glass jar, pressing down firmly. Close tightly. Store the jar at room temperature for two days and then put it in a refrigerator if it’s in warm weather. If it's the winter, you can store the jar in the garage, or outside. It tastes better if it’s fermented at outside temperature than in the refrigerator.
- You can start eating the kimchi after 3-4 days. You can also eat fresh kimchi, the same day you made it - some people prefer fresh kimchi over ripe one. When you serve, take out a head of kimchi and chop the head into more manageable pieces.
Serving Size: 20
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Preparation Time: 30 minutes