Making Kimchi

Written by on August 19, 2011 in Lifestyle

If there is only one food that people abroad associate with Korea, it’s got to be kimchi (김치). The oldest of recipes date back almost 3000 years ago and is one of my favorite dishes in Korea. In fact, I often judge a restaurant by how tasty their kimchi happens to be. However, as many young individuals pursue higher education and professional aspirations, the tradition of making kimchi at home seems to be fading. When I discuss making this wonderful side with my peers, they admit they have never done so and often resort to buying it at the local grocer.

While making kimchi can take the better part of a day, it is easy. Don’t believe me? Watch this video.

See? Making kimchi is really easy, so let’s get to it!

What you need:
1 head of Chinese cabbage (or a few small ones)
1 Korean radish, large
1 cup red pepper
½ cup sugar
½ cup salt (fine grain)
10 cloves peeled garlic
3 nodules peeled ginger
Lots of coarse grain salt

The process of making kimchi will take a whole day, but it’s so much fun! Here’s how you do it the fun (and easy) way.

1) Peel off your leafy, outer cabbage leaves. These make for bad kimchi. Once you get the good stuff, cut off the stem of the cabbage. Finally, quarter the cabbage and place it into a large container.

2) With the coarse salt, make a saltwater solution with warm water. You’ll want to use a lot of salt and dissolve it completely. Pour this mixture over the cabbage. Do this until the cabbage is about 40-50% is submerged. Let sit for 4-6 hours.

Now’s a good time to watch a movie, play some games, or just sleep.

3) Pull the cabbage out of the saltwater and rinse and scrub the leaves to make sure they’re clean and free of any pesticides. Once the cabbage is clean, chop it up into what ever size you want. (The traditional Korean method doesn’t do this, but it’s easier to manage.)

4) Cut the Korean radish into julienne strips.

5) In a blender, add a small amount of water to the garlic and ginger. Blend into a sauce.

6) Add the red pepper, fine grain salt, and sugar to the Korean radish. Put on your gloves and mix for a few minutes. Add the garlic and ginger paste. Mix all together. Now add the cabbage.

7) Once everything is mixed well. Store it for 2 days in containers before refrigerating. Enjoy!

About the Author

Steve Miller

Steve Miller, the QiRanger, is Korea’s best-known travel video blogger-journalist. His videos have been viewed by millions and seen on media outlets in throughout the word. In addition to sharing his entertaining and informative videos, he writes about life abroad and releases a popular podcast. Steve appears regularly on international radio stations, talking about travel, Korean culture and East Asian news. He’s also appeared on Arirang Television sharing unique aspects of Korean life. You can follow Steve on Twitter @QiRanger or visit his site