Kimchi is a Korean dish made by fermenting a variety of different vegetables like napa cabbage and daikon radish.
Kimchi is salty, crunchy, tangy and a bit spicy, which makes it great on its own and as a sauce or marinade for other dishes.
Kimchi is fermented and therefore offers amazing healthy benefits mainly because it contains numerous probiotics strains (live bacteria and yeast including Lactobacillus plantarum and Lactobacillus brevis) that can help with weight loss, improve digestion and immunity, and increase the nutritional value of the food (nutrients in the food are made more bioavailable to the body).
Kimchi can help manage blood sugar, blood pressure, and other factors associated with insulin, glucose, and cholesterol, therefore can help heart disease and diabetes.
Kimchi is gluten-free, dairy-free, low-calorie, low-fat, (sugar-free and vegan versions below) nutrient-dense, and a source of vitamins (especially vitamin C and beta-carotene), minerals, fiber, and important phytochemicals (including beta-sitosterol, sulfur compounds, and capsaicin).
1 large (2 ¼ pounds) napa cabbage, chopped into 2-inch pieces
¼ cup non-iodized kosher salt
12 cups or more cold water as needed
½ pound daikon radish, peeled and cut into 2-inch matchsticks
4 medium scallions white and pale green only, thinly sliced
½ cup Korean red pepper powder
¼ cup fish sauce (substitute with miso for vegan version)
¼ cup fresh ginger, peeled and minced
6-8 cloves fresh garlic, minced
2 teaspoons Korean salted shrimp, minced (omit for vegan version)
1 ½ teaspoons granulated sugar (substitute with ½ cup grated Asian pear for sugar-free version)
Place chopped cabbage into a large bowl, sprinkle with salt and mix well with your hands until the cabbage is all nicely coated. Add enough water to just cover the cabbage then cover container with lid or plastic wrap. Let stand at room temperature for 8 to 24 hours.
Drain the cabbage (retain water) and rinse with cold water. Gently squeeze out excess water then transfer to medium sized bowl.
Mix remaining ingredients in a different bowl.
Combine cabbage and mixture together and toss until all ingredients are well combined.
Pack Kimchi into 1 liter glass jars about ¾ full (leave room for gases to expand as mixture may bubble). This recipe makes approx 2 liters of Kimchi.
Since gases need to escape during the fermentation process DO NOT tighten the lid as this could result in a big mess. Instead I place a plastic baggie over the mouth of the glass jar then put the lid on but not tight. This leaves room for gases to escape.
Place the jar in a cool dark place with something under it to catch any juice that escapes during fermentation. Most of the bubbling happens in the first 24-36 hours so watch for it. Leave for 3 to 4 days, checking each day for desired taste. Place in the fridge when the flavor seems right for you. I would suggest no longer then 4-6 days outside the fridge.
Kimchi will continue to ferment in the fridge so flavors will enhance over time.