Winter Kimchi Recipe

Kimchi with salmon

Kimchi can be seen as a metaphor for Alaskans – many people, cultures and cuisines have moved to Alaska making our local food culture a rich tapestry of tastes and styles. This is a great winter condiment to have on hand to dollop onto salmon or halibut.

Winter Kimchi
Author: 
Serves: Makes approximately 1 quart
 
So, with apologies to any purists out there, here is my winter recipe for kimchi. I like to serve it as a side dish with simple pan-seared salmon and perhaps a little brown rice.
Ingredients
  • 1 medium head Napa cabbage (about 1 ½ pounds)
  • cup kosher salt
  • cup Korean red chili powder or flakes
  • 6-10 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 knob of fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • cup fish sauce (nam pla)
  • cup light soy sauce
  • 4 green onions, coarsely chopped
  • cup julienned carrots
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, grated
  • cup mandarin orange juice, freshly squeezed
Instructions
  1. Peel off any old or discolored cabbage leaves. Cut the cabbage lengthwise into quarters, remove the root-ends, and then cut the quarters crosswise into bite-size pieces. Dissolve the salt into a small amount of warm water and pour the liquid over the cabbage. Toss the cabbage and saltwater with your hands. Let this sit at room temperature for about four hours or more. The cabbage will shrink down a bit as it begins to brine. Rinse the cabbage with cool water and strain to remove any excess water or brine. Place the cabbage into a wide mixing bowl.
  2. Combine the chili powder with about ¼ cup of warm water to make a paste. Spoon this into the bowl of cabbage. Add in the minced garlic and minced ginger, the fish sauce, soy sauce, green onions, carrots, apple, and orange juice. Put on a pair of lightweight kitchen gloves so the red chili powder doesn’t burn your hands. Toss and lightly rub the cabbage with all the ingredients together until the mixture is well blended.
  3. Spoon the kimchi into a hot sterilized quart-sized glass jar. Depending on how big the head of cabbage was, there may be some kimchi left over that can just be stored covered in a bowl. I prefer to use glass jars rather than plastic. I think plastic can impart an artificial taste into the kimchi. Leave about a half-inch of headroom in filling the jar to allow for expansion as the kimchi ferments. Cover the jar with a piece of cheesecloth or clean kitchen towel and leave out at room temperature overnight.
  4. Cap the jar and place it into the refrigerator. Personally, I think you can use your kimchi immediately. It will change characteristics and continue to ferment over the next few weeks. Depending on how strong of a sour taste you prefer, find the optimal peak delicious time for your kimchi, probably within two weeks to a month. (If you know how to can and preserve, seal the jar in a boiling water bath to preserve the kimchi longer, for up to three months.)