I call this one Everyday Kimchi because it’s a highly versatile and customizable kimchi that requires minimal effort to prepare, and you really could eat it everyday. It’s clean and balanced, not overly pungent. It obviously works well in Korean dishes, but I also like to throw it on a sandwich or veggie burger, anywhere you’d normally put a slice of pickle. But more often than not, I just eat it for a snack straight up.
The recipe is more of a suggestion than anything else. These are the ingredients and proportions I shoot for, but they’re open for interpretation. If you don’t have a daikon, use a radish. Not spicy enough? Double the chili flakes. You get the idea. The version as written is maybe just slightly saltier than normal and has a bit more carrot than I’m used to seeing, but that’s just how I like it. I think the salty, sour and sweet find a nice balance.
I quick note about brining vs. dry salting. Many recipes call for soaking the cabbage in a salt water brine rather than massaging salt directly onto the leaves. I’ve made kimchi both ways and have had similarly successful results. I realize my technique might not be traditional or preferred by some, but I chose the dry salt method simply because I find it easier. But feel free to experiment.
Makes about 1 quart
-1 medium head napa cabbage
-1 medium carrot, peeled & shredded
-1 small or ½ large daikon, peeled & shredded
-1 clove garlic, crushed
-1 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled & grated
-2 scallions, sliced into thin rounds
-2 tbsp Korean chili flakes
-1 tbsp kosher or sea salt
1. Quarter cabbage lengthwise and cut into 1-inch strips, discarding the core. Put into a large mixing bowl and sprinkle the salt overtop. Using your hands, gently massage the salt into the cabbage being sure to distribute it evenly. Set aside for 1 hour.
2. Meanwhile prepare all other ingredients.
3. When cabbage is ready, combine with remaining ingredients and once again massage the mixture with your hands. You can be a little more forceful with it this time, squeezing the liquid from the cabbage.
4. Pack mixture into a 1-quart or larger container. I like to use a swing top jar because it’s easy to vent during the ferment. Press mixture down, making sure the cabbage is submerged in the liquid. Seal container and set aside at room temperature for about 3 days. The time to ferment is entirely dependent on your space, humidity, and temperature so taste often. Also, you’ll want to open the lid to vent at least once a day to prevent too much pressure from building up. When it tastes sour and briny to your liking put it in the refrigerator. It will keep for at least a month.