Kimchi

About 6-7 pounds of Napa cabbage:

I like to use smaller ones rather than one huge head. The stems at the bottom get too thick on the bigger ones. Trim off any ugly outer leaves, cut in half, lengthwise and rinse

1 cup Kosher salt dissolved in 1 gallon of warm water – Pour in a non-reactive container big enough to submerge all of the cabbage (stainless steel, ceramic or food-grade plastic)

Submerge each halved head of cabbage in the bucket of brine. Open up each leaf and swish it around, making sure the brine gets all the way to the bottom of each leaf. Repeat with all the cabbage halves, then arrange them so the stems are totally covered and at the bottom of the container. Let the cabbage soak in the brine for about 3 hours, until really wilted.

1 1/4 lbs daikon radish, julienned. Mix with 1 tablespoon of Kosher salt and place in a colander to drain

1 1/2 cups of julienned carrot

2 bunches of thin green onions, cut in 2-inch lengths

1 giant onion, cut in chunks

1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and cut in chunks

2 or more jalapenos or other chilis cut in chunks, with or without seeds, depending on how hot you like it. (I used 2 but next time I will probably use 3 very hot jalapenos with seeds)

1 inch piece (or less depending on your preferences) of fresh ginger, peeled and grated

1/2 cup fish sauce (I used Vietnamese because I couldn’t find Korean)

3/4 cup kochukaru, Korean chili powder (be careful some have added salt). Do not substitute cayenne!

1/2 C finely minced garlic- about 10 large cloves

1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted in a hot, dry skillet until they are golden and starting to pop

1 tablespoon sweet rice flour dissolved in 3/4 cup cold water. Put in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer then reduce heat to low. Stir constantly until smooth and shiny, about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.

While the rice flour mixture is cooling, prep the other ingredients:  put the onions, ginger, red bell pepper and jalapenos in the food processor. Process until it is really soupy, scraping down often to catch any stray pieces. Pour into a large non reactive bowl.

Add the rice flour mixture, garlic, fish sauce, kochugaru, wilted daikon (don’t need to rinse), carrots, green onions and sesame seeds. PUT ON A PAIR OF RUBBER GLOVES (unless you like pain and orange fingers).  Mix thoroughly to combine.

To make sure I had enough of the seasoning mix to go around, I divided it into little piles; one for each cabbage half. Grab your cabbage halves and shake off the excess brine.  WEARING RUBBER GLOVES, smear the spice mix between and on every leaf of the cabbage. Make sure you put plenty down by the stem because it’s so thick.  Fold the seasoned cabbage halves in half, then stuff them into the gallon jar. Keep stuffing them into the jar very tightly; you don’t want any air pockets.  Tap the jar on the counter to help dislodge any air bubbles.

If your jar has a metal lid, put a piece of plastic wrap on the top of the jar before putting the lid on it. Let the kimchi sit in a cool place for three days.

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