We happen to have a lot of cabbage in the house these days. Five heads, to be precise. Luckily, one of these was a very fresh head of Napa cabbage which was just asking to be made into some sort of delicious Asian dish. When I think Asian and cabbage, I think kimchi. I happen to really love kimchi. My first experience with it was in college. One of my lovable-but-nutty roommates came home with a jar of this bizarre looking, spicy cabbage. She put it on crackers with natural peanut butter and offered us all a taste. I am pretty sure I was the only one to take a bite (surprisingly, it didn’t taste as bad as you might expect). Fast forward a few years and we found a local Korean restaurants makes a kimchi pancake with pork that is to die for. That was it for me… I was hooked on that vinegar-y, spicy flavor. Now I eat it on sandwiches, eggs, noodles, use it to make a quick soup, etc.
Classic kimchi is fermented and traditionally, it is buried in the ground to ferment through the winter. I wasn’t really prepared for that level of cooking intensity so I was very excited when I found a quick version on Epicurious. A few modifications and we now have two quarts of delicious kimchi that tastes fantastic on eggs.
Adapted from Gourmet, 2009
1 Napa cabbage, about 3 lbs.
2 tbls chopped garlic
1 tbls chopped peeled ginger
2 tbls Asian fish sauce
2 tsp white vinegar
3 tsp sugar
1 bunch of scallions chopped
1-2 tbls hot chili paste (we used Sriracha)
Quarter the cabbage lengthwise and then cut crosswise into 2 inch pieces. Put the cabbage in a large, non-reactive bowl and add 3 tbls of kosher salt. Toss the cabbage and the salt and let stand, tossing occasionally, for 2 hours.
Rinse cabbage well and then drain, squeezing out as much moisture as possible with your hands. In a blender, puree the garlic, ginger, fish sauce, white vinegar, and sugar until smooth. Pour the mixture over the cabbage, add the scallions, and toss. Add the hot chili paste and toss well with tongs. We used 2 tbls of the hot chili paste. It was pretty spicy at first but mellowed after some time in the fridge. Add more or less chili paste depending on your taste.
Let stand at least one hour before serving. Store in an airtight container in the fridge. The flavor will get stronger as it sits. Makes about two quarts of kimchi.