Kimchi is often called an acquired taste, but once you try it you begin to yearn for its sweet, spicy and unusual flavor. It makes an exceptional soup, too.

Traditional Nappa Cabbage Kimchi
Recipe type: Accompaniments
Serves: 4 Quarts
  • 1 Cup salt; plus
  • 1 Tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 gallon water
  • 2 heads Napa cabbage
  • 1 head garlic
  • 2 pieces ginger root (each 1" long)
  • 1/4 Cup fish sauce or
  • Korean salted shrimp; (optional)
  • 1 daikon; peeled and grated
  • 1 bunch green onions; cut 1" lengths
  • 1 bunch mustard greens; cut 1" pieces
  • 1/2 Cup Korean ground chile
  • 1 teaspoon sugar; (optional)
  • sesame oil; (optional)
  • sesame seeds; (optional)
  1. Cut cabbage in quarters or 2-inch wedges, depending on size. Dissolve 1 cup salt in water. Soak cabbage in salt water 3 to 4 hours.
  2. Separate cloves of garlic and peel. Combine garlic, ginger and fish sauce or shrimp in food processor or blender until finely minced.
  3. In large bowl, combine daikon, green onions, mustard greens, garlic mixture, chile, 1 tablespoon salt and sugar. Toss gently but thoroughly. (If mixing with your hands, be sure to wear rubber gloves to avoid chile burn.)
  4. Remove cabbage from water and rinse thoroughly. Drain cabbage in colander, squeezing as much water from the leaves as possible. Take cabbage and stuff daikon mixture between leaves, working from outside in, starting with largest leaf to smallest. Do not overstuff, but make sure daikon mixture adequately fills leaves. When entire cabbage is stuffed, take another big leaf and wrap tightly around rest of cabbage.
  5. Divide cabbage among 4 (1-quart) jars, pressing down firmly to remove any air bubbles. Let sit 2 to 3 days before serving. Remove kimchi from jar and slice into 1-inch-length pieces. If serving before kimchi is fermented, sprinkle with little bit of sesame oil and sesame seeds. Refrigerate after opening.
This recipe yields 4 quarts.

Each 1/4 Cup: 8 calories; 455 mg sodium; 0 cholesterol; 0 fat; 2 grams carbohydrates; 0 protein; 0.38 gram fiber.

NOTES: Recipe by Cecilia Hae-Jin Lee, a freelance writer and artist based in the Los Angeles area

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