One of my favourite things to keep in the fridge. Why? Well first of all it's really easy to make, and I'm all about the easy. Second of all it adds instant flavour to everything. Since lately I've been kinda lazy with the stock making I'll just add some kimchi to water ad add some meat and vegetables and call it a jjigae (Korean stew).
I used this site as reference but made some changes cause I didn't like the result as much: http://drbenkim.com/how-make-kim-chi.htm
Napa cabbage - 1 kg (very large one or two regular ones)
Salt - 1 cup
Apple - 1 1/2
Asian Pear - 1 1/2
Yellow Onion - 1
Fish Sauce - two table spoons
Honey - 2 tablespoons
Garlic - 2 heads
Ginger - 1/4 cup
Korean hot pepper flakes (Gochugaru) - as much as you want
Note: To be honest, I eyeballed a lot of the ingredients because for the sauce it's really suppose to be to your taste but these are the ones I used.
1. Cut the cabbage in half. With the end in tact, make cuts on the side like layers. Then from the top, cut vertically and then horizontally to make large rectangular pieces. Discard the ends. Basically cut it like how Gordan Ramsay is cutting into this onion: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TwGBt3V0yvc but you know...bigger.
2. Wash the cabbage by submerging it in water and then dry it off with a salad spinner. It's fine if there's water left after spinning it. In fact there should be some water. Put the cabbage in a big container. I used my stock pot.
3. Add the salt (so you needed some water left on the cabbage for the salt to stick to) and mix it thoroughly and leave it there for several hours. Mixing the cabbage once in a while.
4. After several hours, there should be a lot of liquid and the cabbage should be wilted but not mushy or anything. You know, like how the texture of kimchi is. If it takes more than 4 hours...you'll probably need more salt.
5. While the cabbage is wetting itself you make the mixture. Chop the ingredients up (minus the pepper flakes), like just a dice for the apple and pears and onions. Peel and slice the ginger, and peel the garlic. Puree them in a food processor for a bit of water. Like the consistency in the picture.
6. Add the pepper flakes to your heart's content! I like them very spicy so I added quite a lot, also flakes can come in mild and spicy so if you don't like spicy. You can buy mild flakes. Also it will sometimes say hot pepper powder but it'll look like flakes.
7. Now just mix the mixture a little bit at a time to the cabbage until all the cabbage is well coated
8. Put in the container with a lid. If you like fresh kimchi and in no need for really sour ones just put it in the fridge now. If you're like me and enjoy the really sour kimchi it'll speed up the process considerably by storing it in a dark cool place (like a cupboard not in the kitchen or your basement) for a day and a half before putting it in a fridge. Or you can put the cabbage in a large clay pot and bury it in a hole in the ground but I think the fridge might be easier.
So what can you do now? Well beside soups and stuff like that, you can also use it in stirfrys, kimchi pancake, top it on burgers etc...but those are another post!
If this kimchi recipe made your head spin I also love this woman's blog so I would recommend her recipe: http://www.maangchi.com/ she's great!