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Kimchi Recipe

by Amber Fairweather |

Kimchi is a well known traditional Korean ferment consisting of Korean cabbage, vegetables and spice. Kimchi can be used as a side dish, in stews or soups.

It is well documented that the  process of fermenting kimchi dates back to before Christ. Fermenting and pickling vegetables was a common method of preserving foods prior to the invention of refrigerators. In Korea, during winter, kimchi was made by placing vegetables in brown pots to ferment and burying these pots in the ground. As with many ferments, the labor of this task allowed for bonding and sharing of knowledge among the family members. 

The kimchi fermentation process is easy to follow with only about 30 minutes prep time.

Basic Symbiota Kimchi

Ingredients for 2L fermentation crock:

To make kimchi as home you will need a fermentation vessel and the following ingredients: 

  • 1 large Korean cabbage (Napa cabbage)
  • 2 cups Daikon radish or carrots (or a mix) cut into matchsticks
  • 1⁄4 cup Himalayan salt or sea salt
  • Filtered water
  • 1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
  • 6 scallions
  • 6 fresh garlic cloves
  • 2-6 tbsp (depending on your spice preference) Korean chilli flakes. These provide the authentic kimchi taste
  • and can be purchased from most Asian grocers. 
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce (soy or meso for vegan option)
  • 2 tsp sugar

For the 4.5 litre pot multiply ingredients by two, and for the 7 litre pot multiply ingredients by three.

Step by step kimchi Instructions:

  1. Make sure your hands, work surface, and instruments are clean to avoid introducing unwanted bacteria.
  2. Wash the cabbage and peel off two large cabbage leaves and save for later to cover the Kimchi cabbage and produce in the pot (use more leaves for bigger pots).
  3. Quarter the cabbage and remove the bottom core with a sharp knife.
  4. Chop the cabbage into 1-inch cubes.
  5. Place the cabbage in a large bowl and mix through 1⁄4 cup salt.
  6. Press down the cabbage and cover with filtered cold water so that the leaves are submerged (you can use a plate to weigh the cabbage down).
  7. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a lid and let it rest in the fridge for 8-12 hours.
  8. After the rest period, drain the cabbage using a colander and reserve the brine.
  9. Lightly rinse the cabbage and squeeze out any excess water.
  10. Chop the daikon radish/ carrot into matchsticks approx. 4 cm long and add to cabbage.
  11. Cut the scallions into 4 cm lengths and add to the cabbage.
  12. Mince and chop (you can use a food processor) the garlic, ginger, sugar, fish sauce (soy or meso for a vegan option) and Korean chilli flakes into a paste and add the paste to the bowl of cabbage, daikon radish and carrot.
  13. Mix thoroughly by either wearing gloves or using tongs. Once the cabbage is well coated with your paste you can begin packing it into your fermentation pot.
  14. Pack the cabbage into your Symbiota pot, approximately to the line around the pot. Press the kimchi down for the brine to flow up and cover it completely. Add a little more filtered water if needed to cover the vegetables completely.
  15. Get the cabbage leaves you kept aside and lay them over the top of your packed produce, tucking them down the sides. This helps stop the produce floating up during fermentation and minimizes the potential for mold or yeast to grow.
  16. Finally, add your fermentation weights into the pot on top of the cabbage leaves, pressing down so the brine can rise up over the weights.
  17. Place the pot lid on and fill up the groove (moat) with water. You will notice when you gently tug the lid, there is a hermetic seal. Keep the moat filled with water, otherwise the seal will break.
  18. Leave on the counter at room temperature for three days to ferment and then store your freshly made kimchi in sealed jars in the fridge to ferment for a further two weeks. The the longer you ferment, the more complex the flavour.

Enjoy with any Korean dishes, or as a delicious side.