Kimchi is traditionally not vegan (it contains fish sauce). This recipe makes delicious kimchi but, I wouldn’t call it traditional. The more authentic recipes can be lengthy and a little daunting especially if this is your first time making it. Instead of fish sauce, I’ve used seaweed but it is optional, along with the daikon. If you don’t have an Asian grocer nearby and can’t find one or both of these ingredients then leave them out. I like to use gochujang chilli flakes instead of the paste as the paste often has lots of additional ingredients and additives. Of course, if you can only find the paste use 3 Tbsps. but leave out the sugar and tamari. As always with sauerkraut, the quantities are a rough guide and don’t need to be exact. The general rule of thumb is to add salt at 2% of the cabbage weight.
- 1 large head (1kg approx.) of Chinese cabbage
- 3 tsp. (15g) salt
- 4-5 (65g) spring onions, thinly sliced
- 1 medium (150g) daikon radish, peeled and cut into rounds
- 1 tsp. seaweed, I used Aonori but you can grind some nori
- 1 Tbsp. (15g) brown or coconut sugar
- 45g ginger, roughly chopped
- 4-5 (20g) garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
- 3 Tbsp. (15g) gochujang chilli powder
- 1 Tbsp. (12g) tamari
- ¼ cup (60g) water
Remove the outer leaves of the cabbage and put to one side. You’ll need them later. Cut the cabbage in half and then into quarters. Remove the harder ends of the cabbage and then cut roughly into 2cm squares. As you cut the cabbage place into a large bowl and sprinkle with some of the salt (this helps to initiate the breakdown of the cabbage and draw the water out), repeat this process until you have cut all the cabbage. Add the spring onion and daikon and mix through the cabbage until they’re well combined. Taste and adjust for salt, it should taste as salty as seawater. In a blender or food processor blend the seaweed, sugar, ginger, garlic, gochujang chilli powder, tamari and water (i used a blender if you’re using a food processor you may need less water). Combine this mixture with cabbage and mix well.
Place a handful of the mixture into a clean jar and press firmly into the base. Continue to press the kimchi down into the jar until enough liquid has been released to cover this first handful of cabbage then add a second handful. Repeat until all your jars are full.
Fold up the outer leaves of the cabbage and stuff into the top of the jar to firmly pack the mixture down. The water level should come to the top of the jar.
Place the lid on top of the jar but do not seal, the mixture needs air. Store out of direct sunlight in a cool dry place.
I find the fermentation process with kimchi is a lot faster than regular sauerkraut. In general, it should take 3-4days or a little longer during cooler months. After the third day, smell and taste the kraut to determine the progress of your ferment. Store in the fridge once the kraut is to your liking.