Quick(ish) Kimchee

04bKimcheebfLOA quart of very nice kimchee – Korean style pickled cabbage – can be yours, home made (and better!) in a bit under seven hours – and most of that time is just letting the cabbage rest in, first: salt, and second: the kimchee brine. Not too bad a deal!

First, tho, a couple of things:

Why is home made better? The jarred kimchee you find in the produce section of your market is very good – when you first open it. After that? Well, I’ve always thought

SambalSrirachabfLOit tastes “old” by the next day. This recipe, just seems to improve on sitting in the fridge, first for the four hour initial rest called for before sampling, and then several days later.


01aSaltedCabbagebfLOThe original recipe, very nicely provided by Tyler Florence, called for Sriracha Hot Chili Paste, which I could not find; tho da Google suggested Sambal Oelek, which I happened to have in my fridge.


Except, even using the two tablespoons called for, the folk I hang with and I didn’t think it made for a very “zippy” kimchee – so, if you like your kimchee with a kick, you might want to up the amount of chili paste.

•1 head cabbage
•1/4 cup kosher or canning salt
•1/2 cup rice vinegar
•1 tbsp sugar
•2 tbsp sambal oelek*
•1 tbsp fresh ginger
•2 cloves garlic, minced
•1/2 sweet onion (about 1 cup) , diced

*Hot chili paste. You could also use Sriracha.

03aTossCabbagebfLOCut the cabbage in quarters, remove the core, and discard the outer leaves. Roughly chop the cabbage into half inch slices and place in a colander.

Add the salt and toss well to combine. Set aside in the sink or over a bowl, and let rest for two hours to wilt. I placed a dinner plate on top of the cabbage in the colander to help compress it with the salt.

While the cabbage is resting, whisk the sugar into the rice vinegar in a large mixing bowl until it has dissolved.

03bPackJarbfLOStir in the chili paste, ginger, garlic, and onion and set aside.

Once the cabbage has sat with the salt for two hours, rinse it well two or three times to remove the salt, then dry it – I patted the cabbage between a couple of changes of paper towels to dry mine.

Add the rinsed and dried cabbage to the mixing bowl and toss to combine well.

04aKimcheebfLOPack the cabbage into a sterilized quart sized canning jar (if you have one of these nifty canning funnels, it’ll make the process wicked simple), then add enough water to cover the mixture.

Close the jar and toss into the fridge to rest for at least four hours before sampling.

04cKimcheeRamenbfLOChef Florence noted that this was spicy, and that it would get spicier as it rests in the fridge. As I mentioned above, the friends and I thought not; but, if you want to tread carefully, start with the two tablespoons, mebbe taste the next day and see what you think. More zip? Stir another tablespoon or so of the chili paste into the kimchee and pop it back into the fridge until you’ve got a flavor you are happy with.

You might could also consider some crushed red pepper (1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon, to start), or mebbe a sliced jalapeño to the original vinegar mixture.

The flavor does develop as it rests in the fridge, and, I might add, it makes for a tasty topping over ramen noodles.

Happy kimchee-ing!

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