Napa Cabbage Kimchi – Tongbaechu Kimchi
I would say Korean diet is not complete without kimchi, either eating at a Korean family home or at a Korean restaurant. It is a staple food in Korean cuisine. There are so many types of kimchi in Korean cuisine. Today, I am going to introduce a common kimchi called napa kimchi. It is best described as a spicy, slightly sweet, sour and fermented cabbage.
It is definitely a time commitment to making kimchi, but it can be stored in the refrigerator for several weeks. Overly fermented kimchi will become very sour. Please do not through it away because it can be used to cook pancake or soup like delicious kimchi and tofu stew called kimchi jjigae (I will post it next time when left over).
I was first tried kimchi when I met my Korean roommate more than 2 decades ago. Later on, I learned my first kimchi from my dearest Korean friend, Sung (an ex-restaurateur). I failed a few times due to storing and temperature reasons. I have learned from the mistakes, after many times of practice, it makes perfect after all.
Every household has its own method of making kimchi. I’ve established a simple method which is slightly different from Sung’s kimchi. I would use easy ingredients that I can find wherever I live, in South East Asia or in Melbourne. Sung had no complains about it. When she came over to visit my family 5 years ago, she suggested and wanted to help me to dig a hole in my garden to store my kimchi. It likes the traditional method using the earthen jar buried in the ground. She explained that is now not common practice any more due to the limited of land and the modern kimchi fridges. This was a good advice but I told her that my kimchi only lasts for a week, normal fridge would do the job. I normally make Korean feast for the week when I make kimchi. By the way, when talk about Korean food, I really love and miss her mum’s Korean cuisine. I called it master of masters of Korean food. I was thinking of flying to Korea one day and truly to learn from her. I am sure, it will be one day.
Here finally so many years of making kimchi with old school method, I’d written my simple family kimchi for the first time.
1 large (2 kg) Napa cabbage (Chinese cabbage)
6 tablespoons sea salt or rock salt
4 liters water
5 tablespoons Korean chilli powder
2 tablespoons Korean chilli paste (optional)
½ tablespoon sugar
3 tablespoons fish sauce
1 teaspoons grated garlic
1 teaspoon grated ginger
1 large carrot, peeled and julienned
1 daikon radish, peeled and julienned
1 cup spring onion or Chinese chives, cut into 5 cm (2 inch) lengths
1. Cut cabbage into eight pieces lengthways. Put the cabbage in a large container and sprinkle with salt evenly over the cabbage and between the leaves. Add about 4 liters of water or enough to cover the cabbage. Leave it overnight.
2. Next day morning, rinse the cabbage under the running water 2 times and drain well. Squeeze any excess water from the cabbage. Cut cabbage into small pieces.
3. Mix ingredients B well in a big bowl. Add the cabbage and mix well. Tightly pack each cabbage in a glass container. Keep at room temperature for 2-3 days, after this the kimchi must keep in the refrigerator at all time.
4. Serve the kimchi into bite pieces to eat into a serving bowl.
I hope you will like too!