Sonia’s Vegetarian Kimchi (a.k.a. Wednesday Kimchi)
I fell in love with Kimchi in 1997. It was in a jar, from the deli section of our local supermarket, and I could eat it all in one sitting! I first tried it when a friend from the racquetball club brought it to a potluck at my rental house in college. All I could remember from that first encounter was that I thought it was exotic (Korean?), and it was salty, and it felt really energizing to consume. It was tangy, sweet & sour, and just spicy enough to make me crave more. Being the frugal soul that I am, I couldn’t see spending $5-$6 for a small jar of the stuff…so I didn’t have it for several years. But after declaring my love of Kimchi to Patrick a few years ago, he found Kimchi once again for me, and diligently provided me with the good stuff as often as he brought home fresh oysters – my other “can’t live without” indulgence. But again, I just couldn’t see spending the big bucks for this delicacy! However, when it was included in a healthy eating plan that I followed back in the spring of 2013, I made it, and made it and made some more… and ate every delicious bite. This Kimchi is alive with the invisible good things: probiotics, healthy cultures and nourishing vitamins. It is the kind of vegetable dish that is easy to digest and is usually eaten as a side dish with um… everything… or more often, right from the jar!
This recipe makes 2-3 quart jars. Enjoy!
1 head Napa cabbage, shredded or chopped
1-2 bunches green onions, trimmed & chopped
3-6 carrots, peeled, grated or thinly sliced
1 bunch radishes, trimmed & chopped or thinly sliced
4-8 cloves garlic, crushed, chopped or sliced
4 peppers (mild or spicy – personal preference), chopped or sliced
1-2 TBSP grated fresh ginger
2-3 TBSP sea salt
1 tsp fresh whey per Mason jar (optional)
Place all prepared vegetables in a large bowl and toss with salt. Place into jars (I use wide-mouth mason jars) and pound down with the handle of a wooden spoon as you fill jars, to release juices. If needed (but you shouldn’t have to if you have sufficiently pounded as you filled) top with water and whey. Cover with a lid and set in a room temp place to ferment for 3 days without opening. Transfer to the fridge or enjoy now. Left unopened, kimchi will last for months in the fridge, but once opened use within a few weeks. Tips:*It is easier to pound out the juices if you leave the salted veggies to sit for a while in the bowl first. *Leave 1” headspace or your jar may overflow. *Omitting the pepper makes a sweeter and is perfectly acceptable. *In a pinch, this turns out well with regular green or purple cabbage as well. *The ingredients that seem to be indispensable to the unique flavor of kimchi are the green onions and the ginger. Believe me, I’ve tried all combinations!