For today’s recipe, we’re traveling 8,000 miles from Poland to Korea, where surprise, surprise, they ferment cabbage. Why is it we don’t do more of that in the United States? I guess we’re just too advanced; I say that tongue in cheek. Lacto-Fermentation is so common in other countries, yet I think most American are frightened by it. Which is a pity because generations of grandmothers and cutting edge research tell us it’s good for your health. Ed was stationed in Korea for a year before we met, so he has been my introduction to things like Kimchi or even Ramen Noodles. Kimchi is something we’ve purchase occasionally over the years, but this is the first time I’ve tried making Kimchi or Spicy Korean Kapusta Kiszona as I’m thinking of it. 😉
I guess I’m not a purist because the commingling of cuisines seems quite common to me. Afterall, Poland is where I first had bibimbap, and when we asked a young Polish woman which restaurant served the best Polish food in Poznan, she said she didn’t know. When she went out, she preferred to eat sushi.
Because most Kimchi is very spicy, I tend to use it as a condiment rather than a vegetable, adding a little kick along side rice or meat. The nice thing about making your own is that you have control over the heat. The recipe calls for opening the jar to stir and taste it every day, and my plan after 24 hours was to add more cabbage if it seemed too hot.
I reviewed three recipes before trying my hand, one from epicurious, one my recipes, and the kitchn and found them to be almost identical.
If you enjoy a spicy kick now and then, you’ll want to give Kimchi or Spicy Korean Kapusta Kiszona a try.
Kimchi or Spicy Korean Kapusta Kiszona
A spicy, fermented, cabbage recipe
- 1 head napa cabbage, about 2 pounds
- 1/3 cup sea salt or kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons miced garlic
- 2 tablespoons minced ginger
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 3 tablespoons fish sauce
- 4 tablespoons Korean chili flakes (I substituted 1 T chili powder, 1 T chili flakes, 2 T garlic chili paste (from Asian market)
- 1 large or (3 small) Korean radish or daikon, peeled and shredded
- 4 green onions, cut into 1 inch pieces
- Cut the cabbage into quarters lengthwise, remove core, slice into 2 inche pieces
- Place the cabbage and salt into a large bowl, work the salt into the cabbage, you’ll notice the cabbage become softer and smaller in volume
- Cover the cabbage with water, placea heavy plate of bowl on top to hold the cabbage under water, let sit for 2 hours, drain, rinse
- Combine the garlic, ginger, sugar, fish sauce, and chili together
- Add the drainded cabbage, daikon, and green onions, combine until well mixed
- Pack into clean, sterile jars, leave at least an inch of space at the top, lid
- Let sit on countertop for 3 – 5 days, it will ferment
- Open the jar(s) daily, stir and push down, this allow accuulating gases to espace
- Taste it everyday, when it’s to your liking, move the covered container to the refrigerator
An accountant by trade and a food blogger since 2009, Lois Britton fell in love with Polish cuisine during the years she lived in Poznań, Poland. As the creator of PolishHousewife.com, she loves connecting readers with traditional Polish recipes. Lois has a graduate certificate in Food Writing and Photography from the University of South Florida. She is the author of The Polish Housewife Cookbook, available on Amazon and on her website.
Sounds great. We have been fermenting stuff for a long time. The secret is keeping the fermenting stuff submerged! There’s nothing like the flavor of a naturally fermented pickle.
I wonder if anyone makes a garlic-free version of kimchi. Have you ever seen one?
Garlic is so commonly associated with kimchi; I think it would have to be custom made in your kitchen. It’s such a challenge for you to neeed to live garlic-free.
We live in SW Missouri and have a Korean market in Springfield. My husband gets his Kimchi there. Walmart carries it also, but it doesn’t hold a candle to the Korean Kimchi. We’ve often talked about trying to make our own, so naturally I’ve saved this recipe. Thank you.
Why throw away brine in step 3?
It’s a little different than Polish preserved pickles, right? I studied multiple recipes and they all drained the brine. I think the cabbage takes on some of the salt, and the fish sauce you add also has salt. When I combined it all, it seemed like water was coming out of all the veggies. You could certainly add a bit to your mix if it made it easier to keep things submerged.