Perfectly pickled: Red cabbage and radish kimchi recipe

Using this recipe as a guideline, add any of your favorite crunchy, leafy vegetables that you need to use up. Any type of greens, cabbage, onions, chilies or radishes will work just fine. Making kimchi is all about “to taste” – you can make it sweeter, saltier, milder or more sour, depending on your personal preference. Adjust the level of spiciness by adding more or less chilies or chili paste, but remember that the kimchi will get hotter the longer it sits as the chilies “bloom”.


Red Cabbage and Radish Kimchi


Make 8 cups


Difficulty level: 1/5


Ingredients:


1 head red cabbage, finely shredded and thick veins removed


1/2 cup Kosher salt


8-10 red radishes, cut into matchsticks


2 cups onion, thinly sliced


2 cups carrot, thinly sliced


2 Thai bird chilies, sliced thin or 2 tablespoons chili paste such as Sriracha (I used a little of both.)


1 bunch of green onions, cut into 1? pieces


1 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped


4 cloves garlic, minced


1/2 cup sugar


Juice of 2 lemons


1/2 cup apple cider or white vinegar


1/3 cup soy sauce


2 tablespoons fish sauce (For a vegetarian version, omit this and increase the soy sauce.)


Directions:


1. Place shredded cabbage in a large colander and salt generously, tossing with your hands. Let cabbage drain for 30 minutes. Rinse with fresh water and drain well.


2. In a large bowl combine garlic, chilies or chili paste, sugar, lemon juice, vinegar, soy sauce and fish sauce (if using) and whisk together. Taste and adjust as desired.


3. Add cabbage and the rest of the vegetables to the pickling liquid and toss with your hands, mixing well. Put kimchi in plastic storage bags and squeeze out the air – this will help distribute the pickling liquid evenly. Lay bags flat in the refrigerator, giving them a flip every once in a while. Wait at least 2 hours before eating, but it will keep for up to two weeks, getting better with time.

I’ve been doing a lot of cooking at home lately, but with just two of us in our household, I find myself left with a lot of odds and ends of various leftover produce. To use up all my extra veggies, I came up with this version of kimchi, a spicy Korean pickled vegetable concoction, generally used as a side dish.

In Korea, kimchi is made differently for each season. In the spring, herbs are added and it is consumed while fresh rather then fermented. Summertime brings the addition of seasonal vegetables such as cucumber and radish. In fall, extra salt is added to preserve the kimchi longer, and in wintertime, pine nuts, pears and chestnuts are added. Traditionally, kimchi is stored in large earthenware pots and allowed to ferment for long periods of time. In modern times, kimchi refrigerators are used that allows for adjustments in temperature, depending on the stage of fermentation.

Due to the large variety of vegetables used in making kimchi, it is highly nutritious and loaded with dietary fiber while also being low in calories. It contains a number of lactic acid bacteria that aids in digestion, and it has been reported that kimchi can even help reduce cancer growth.

There are thousands of variations of kimchi recipes, some quick and simple, some complex and fermented for days or weeks. Mine leans toward the simple side and it can be eaten in a day or so, although it gets better the longer it marinates. Kimchi can be eaten as a side dish, used in stir fry or egg rolls, or as a sandwich topping.

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