Have you ever had traditional Korean Kimchi? What do you think of it? I absolutely love it to bits. Literal bits. It’s spicy, refreshing and very good for you because of the probiotics in this amazing, fermented food. I make my own and thought I would share my Paleo version with you.
Korean Kimchi Recipe
Kimchi – Korean’s National Food
I have been making this stuff for years. Ever since I turned Paleo, I craved my European pallet, and have made things like pickled eggs (keep an eye out for my pickled egg recipe) and fermented sauerkraut, but I love spice, and it wasn’t until I delved into Kimchi that I truly felt like I discovered something super special for the pallet.
The history of kimchi dates back to over 1000 years ago. I have to explain this situation though. Koreans have fermented vegetables for a very long time, but the genuine kimchi didn’t show up properly until about 100 years ago. Where I’m going with this, is the fact that even though kimchi officially began in the 1900th Century, this tradition is very old. To cut a long story short, the Koreans ate fermented cabbage at least 1500 years ago, so you do the math. Regardless of the actual truth, I hope you enjoy my version.
PALEO AND KETO APPROVED TRADITIONAL KOREAN KIMCHI
two heads of standard cabbage, chopped
two heads of nappa cabbage, chopped
large bunch of kale, chopped
4 large carrots, chopped
one large asian radish, chopped
1 large bunch of spring onions, chopped
bunch of watercress, chopped
any other root vegetable is great (I added home grown kohlrabi too)
2 cups of water
1/2 cup of maple syrup
1 cup of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon of ginger, minced
1/2 cup of salty shrimp and its juices, chopped
1 cup of onion, minced
2 tablespoons of tapioca flour
1/2 cup of fish sauce
2 cups of Asian hot pepper flakes
4 tablespoons of sea salt
Take the middle stems out of all your cabbages, which are the hard parts inside, and cut all the cabbages in half, then chop into large chunks and put all the bits into a bucket or large tub.
Chop your kale the same way and add it to the mix.
Add roughly 4 tablespoons of sea salt and mix it all together with clean hands and squish down. (the salt will start fermenting the cabbage, which will release its own juices.
Mix the cabbage like this every 20 minutes to help the fermentation process and keep doing this for about two hours while you prepare everything else in between. (you will eventually add the porridge you’re about to make, as well as other vegetables to the chopped cabbage).
To make the Kimchi porridge:
Add two cups of water with rice flour into a pot and bring to the boil, stirring a lot so the flour doesn’t get gluey.
Once boiling, take off the stove and add your maple syrup by stirring it in, then let the porridge cool.
Note* Keep mixing your cabbage and salt in the tub in between, and let the salt do its job fermenting.
Get a new container, and add chopped Asian radish, carrots, spring onions, watercress, mix and put aside.
In a blender, blend the peeled garlic, ginger and onion and make it into a puree.
Add 1/2 cup of fish sauce to the puree.
Drain half a cup of salty shrimp into the puree, chop the salty shrimp on a chopping board and add that to the puree too (ask your asian grocer for kimchi shrimp, they will know).
Mix everything together, before adding 2 cups of asian pepper flakes, less if you’re not that great with spicy food (again, ask your asian grocer for kimchi pepper flakes).
Once all this is mixed together, add the porridge mix to the cabbage mix you made earlier and mix it all up by hand, making sure you’ve let the cabbage sit for a few hours in between mixing (wearing gloves will help, as your hands will colour from the red flakes).
Put the mixture into masonry jars and hide them in a dark place for the next four days and forget about them, however, don’t forget to place the jars on trays, as the juice will leak as the kimchi ferments and produces gases and bubbles.
This is the fun part of the recipe! Listen to the kimchi bubble over the next few days. It sounds like a gas leak and if you can hear that after two days, you’ve done it right.
*NOTE: If it’s really gassy, sometimes it’s good to burp the mixture by opening the jar and letting it breathe for a few seconds and close it up again!
After four days, the kimchi should be ready to eat.
If you have a great fermentation recipe, share it with me below.