Kimchi is a deliciously funky snack, and while it’s often known for being spicy, this white kimchi recipe is nothing but cool and refreshing, with some sweetness from Asian pear. It comes from Judy Joo’s cookbook, “Judy Joo’s Korean Soul Food”, a compilation of some of the best dishes from her Cooking Channel Show “Korean Food Made Simple”. If you’re in the mood for a tangy, tasty treat, try this versatile white kimchi. And check out some versions of kimchi without cabbage for even more delicious takes.
- Total: 1 hour
- 230g sea salt
- 1 very large Korean cabbage or several heads Chinese cabbage (2.2–2.7kg/5–6lb total weight), bottom(s) trimmed, wilted or tough outer leaves discarded, and rinsed well
- 20g sweet rice flour
- 1 large Asian pear, grated, juice and pulp reserved
- 1 small onion, grated, juice and pulp reserved
- 4 tsp garlic, grated or finely chopped
- 2 tsp ginger, grated or finely chopped
- 2½ tbsp sea salt
- ½ leek, cut into 5cm (2in) lengths and julienned
- 450g mu (Korean white radish) or mooli, peeled and julienned
- 1 carrot, julienned
- 1 red chili, deseeded and julienned lengthways
- 1 green chili, deseeded and julienned lengthways
- 30g daechu (dried jujube dates), deseeded and julienned
- 20g pine nuts
- In a large bowl, stir together 2 liters (3½ pints) warm water and 115g (4oz) of the salt until it has dissolved; leave it to cool. Meanwhile, partially cut the cabbage in half lengthways, starting from the root end and cutting about halfway to the top. Pull the cabbage apart to split in half completely. Repeat, keeping the leaves intact and whole.
- Loosen the leaves of each wedge. Sprinkle the remaining 115g (4oz) salt over and between all the leaves, salting the core area heavily. Put the cabbage in a large bowl (use two if they don’t fit) cut-side up. Pour the salted water over the cabbage, then add cold water to cover the cabbage; don’t overfill the bowl. Weigh it down with a plate. Leave at room temperature for 6–8 hours, flipping the wedges halfway through.
- Rinse the wedges well under cold running water and gently squeeze out any excess moisture. Put the cabbage cut-side down, in a colander and leave to drain for at least 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, make a starch paste. In a small saucepan, stir together 200ml (7fl oz) water and the sweet rice flour. Cook over a medium heat, stirring frequently, for about 4–5 minutes until it thickens and starts to bubble. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and leave to cool.
- In a separate bowl, stir together 80g (3oz) of the starch paste with all of the kimchi paste ingredients. Rub the paste over the wedges and between each leaf. Pull the outer leaf of each wedge tightly over the rest of it, to form a tidy parcel. Pack into a container with a tight-fitting lid and press down well to avoid air pockets.
- Add 250ml (8fl oz) water to the bowl used for the paste, then pour into the kimchi container. Press a piece of clingfilm on to the surface of the kimchi, then cover.
- The kimchi can be eaten at this stage, or leave it to sit at room temperature for about 2–3 days until it starts to sour and ‘bubble’.
- Store the kimchi in the fridge, where it will continue to ferment at a slower pace. Cut the kimchi before serving.