This spicy Korean style pickle is not only a good source of Vitamin-C and Vitamin-B but also ensures a year-round supply of vegetables. Traditionally it was sealed in porcelain jars and buried underground for 6 months. The annual bonus given to employees in Korea is still called “Kimchi Allowance” signifying its importance even today.
Simple Home-Made Kimchi Recipe
- pickle jar
- 4 small Boy Choy or 1.5kg of cabbage
- 80 gm salt
- 1 Raddish
- 1 Carrot
- 3-4 white onions sambhar onions
- 20-25 cloves of garlic
- 10-20 Green onion stems
- Ginger Chilli, turmeric and seasoning to taste
- 1/4 cup fish oil or refined seasme oil
- Take four large Bok Choy (or cabbage). Make two vertical cuts from the stem to cut in quarters.
- Wash and layer each leaf with a sprinkle of pickle salt. Let it rest in a big bowl for 2 hours, occasionally turning them over. Salt will make the cabbage softer and release water from it.
- Take one medium radish, one large carrot – Cut it thin and long (shape of matchsticks).
- Take about 10-20 green onion and garlic leaves with stems and a fist-sized bunch of mustard leaves. Cut them in into circular cuts (1-2 cm thick).
- Take 2 white onions, 1 inch of ginger, 20 garlic cloves and grind them into a paste.
- Add a quarter cup of Sesame oil (cold-pressed oil or even fish oil).
- Mix some red chili flakes, turmeric and spices to taste.
- In lukewarm water (2 cups) add 2tb spoons Idli flour (rice + soybean/ black gram powder). Boil and stir continuously for 10-15 minutes.
- Add 2tbs sugar/ jaggery. Stir and turn the stove off. Let it cool.
- Mix items in steps 3 to 9 in a bowl to create a paste.
- Add 1-2 teaspoons of salt to pickle.
- Cover each layer of Bok Choy leaves with the paste. Start folding inner leaves to create a ball or wheel and cover it with the outside large leaves to make a packet.
- Clean and sanitize a glass jar or traditional porcelain pickle jar (lead-free glazing). The vessel needs to be stored in a cool dark place.
- Fill the jar with kimchi and cover it tightly. Put some weight so that the pickle is not in contact with air. (Commercially we use an airlock after 24 hours to create a barrier to prevent mold formation).
- Taste after 3 days to a week. Once we find the taste acceptable and the cabbage has become crunchy/ mushy enough, move it to the refrigerator.
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Essentially, it is a spicy version of European Sauerkraut. I store this pickle for about 6 months to one year. It pairs well with Asian cuisine and even as a pickle with regular Indian food. The Japanese style packed kimchi is made from steamed cabbage, vinegar and spices. It is an instant food that should be avoided as it has no probiotics benefits.