What do you do with 15lbs of nappa cabbage? Throw a kimchi making party. Two friends of mine came over and we washed, chopped, salted, and packed over 3 quarts of kimchi (we didn’t put a dent in the amount of cabbage…). We didn’t use any particular recipe, just eyeballed and adjusted to taste as we went. All of the ingredients except the ginger were sourced from the farm that day, the dried peppers were from last season.
One of mine and A’s favorite places to eat is a restaurant in town called Deep Ellum. On their menu they have a corn kimchi that is delicious, so I used some of my mixture to experiment with that. Downgrade the Cat is super interested in what is in the jars (she has just started eating canned cat food so thinks anything that comes out of the fridge is hers to eat).
(For regular kimchi, just don’t add the corn and it should turn out delicious)
1 head nappa cabbage, about 3 lbs
3 hakurei turnips
about 6 new carrots, about 3″ long each
3 bulbs of green garlic
3 ears of sweet corn
1 dried pepper
1″-2″ of ginger
1/4 cup water, give or take
1 T Pickling salt
Prep jars by submerging them in a boiling water bath before you begin you kimchi making. This will give them time to cool before you fill them with your kimchi mixture.
Wash all of your vegetables thoroughly, use a soft scrub brush to ensure all of the tiny cracks in the carrots and any holes in the turnips are free of dirt. Kimchi relies on a healthy bacteria balance to properly ferment, we don’t want to introduce anything potentially harmful.
Peel all of the outer leaves of the cabbage off, composting the hard core. After washing, stack them on a cutting board and slice into strips about 1/4″ wide. I like to hand slice compared to shredding with a food processor or a food grater – the pieces are more satisfying to bite into and I can control the consistency better. Toss all of the cut cabbage into a nonreactive bowl (plastic works well) and sprinkle the Tablespoon of pickling salt over it. Lightly toss and then let rest while you prep the rest of your veggies.
In a food processor, blend the garlic, pepper, ginger, and water. Set aside.
The turnips will be sliced into matchsticks, the carrots into rounds, the scallions roughly chopped, and the corn cut from the cob. I like to have this variety in shapes and textures mostly for visual satisfaction, but I also think it makes eating more enjoyable. These veggies will all be tossed together with the garlic/ginger/pepper mixture from earlier.
Once thoroughly coated, add this mixture to the cabbage, and toss again. By now the cabbage should have lost a good deal of water. This water will be the brine used to top off the jars at the end of the process, be sure not to toss it out!
Using a pestle or drink muddler, pack the kimchi into the jars tightly. I like to fill it an inch at a time, pack it down, add more, pack it down, and so on. Do this until the jar has only about 1/2″ of head space, if the veggies are not already covered in brine, pour off some from the cabbage bowl to ensure complete coverage. Screw on a lid and let sit out overnight. Here it was about 80 degrees, so overnight seemed like just the right amount of time to get a good flavor. In the morning move the kimchi to the fridge – you can start digging in or let it sit a few more days to develop flavor.
Vegan corn kimchi, making up our own traditional foods every day.