Malibu Cooking Program Day 5 of 15: California Kimchi
Time to Prepare: 1 hour and 30 minutes (Plus up to 2 weeks for kimchi to ferment)
1 medium head (2 pounds) napa cabbage
1 bunch of kale
8 ounces Korean radish or daikon, peeled and cut into matchsticks
4 scallions, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
1/4 cup sea salt or kosher salt
1 tablespoon grated garlic (5 to 6 cloves)
1 teaspoon grated ginger
1 teaspoon honey
1 to 5 tablespoons Korean red pepper flakes
2 to 3 tablespoons seafood flavor (optional)
Wash and cut cabbage and kale into bite sized chunks. Chop off the browned bottom of the cabbage and kale stalks and slice cabbage and kale into bite sized chunks and slices.
Dehydrate the cabbage and kale. In a large bowl, add cabbage, kale and salt, kneading and rubbing the salt into the leaves for at least 10 minutes, as the salt will pull out the water from the leaves and stalks, letting it ferment easier. Cover salted cabbage and kale and set aside to rest for up to an hour. After an hour, rinse all of the salt off of the leaves and set aside.
Mix and create kimchi paste. In a separate bowl, mix your kimchi paste by combining your ginger, garlic, honey, fish sauce, and red chili flakes (to taste). Combine together until paste blends evenly.
Add other vegetables and herbs into the paste, coating everything. Mix and rub all ingredients together until everything is completely covered in the kimchi paste. Add cabbage and kale chunks and continue rubbing and mixing paste all over every ingredient.
Pour everything into a jar that can be sealed airtight, and press down on kimchi until brine comes out. Before sealing the jar, press down on all of the ingredients until the brine is pressed out and submerges all of the vegetables. Be sure to leave a little bit of space towards the top of the jar so that oxygen can have a small air pocket to ferment in.
Seal the jar and leave it to ferment at room temperature for up to 2 weeks. Every day or so, open the jar and press down on the ingredients again, making sure that all the contents remain submerged in brine. At this point, feel free to taste the kimchi. If the flavor is strong enough to your liking, move to refrigerator to stop the fermentation process. The longer you let the kimchi ferment at room temperature, the stronger the flavor will be.
Serve and eat with chopsticks.
Editor's Note: When using your hands to knead and mix the kimchi paste, wearing food safe gloves is recommended, as the smell of the paste can possibly cling to your skin for days on end.