Katy's Simple and Spicy Kimchi


I fell madly in love with this dish when living in Seoul for a month.  I had no expectations of Korea before travelling there, and blown away by many things especially the food.

Korean BBQ is next level, and so too is the way meals are served, always with millions of little dishes all over the table and you build your plate.  I love that way of eating. Meals are collaborative, and something to SIT and ENJOY with others, not rush through like we often do.

Of all the amazing food, kimchi is the hero to me.  I truly do not understand what I ate before having kimchi in my life.   am lucky enough to have been given a traditional Korean family recipe from a dear friend I met when travelling the world, but that is not what I am sharing today (it is not mine to share).

This recipe is my take on kimchi, using the ingredients I have in supply locally and ones that pack a colourful punch.  As soon as I take one batch out of the crock another one is pretty much going down not long after, and the more I make the more creative I am getting - current obsession is a smoked harissa kimchi - let me know if you want that recipe too!

1 head Wombok (reserve two outer leaves)

3 carrots

1 bunch radishes

3 long red chillies

2 cloves garlic

1 knob ginger grated

3-4 tbsp sea salt

1 tsp Chilli flakes (use more if desired)

2 tsp Chilli powder (use korean chilli powder if you can - but do not stress normal chilli powder will work too) - increase chilli to reach desired heat, I like about 3-4 tsp

If you are not already well versed in how to ferment and the importance of sterilising everything first I recommend you read all about the steps to fermentation here.

Roughly chop wombok, I cut in strips abou 2cm wide and place in bowl.  Add salt and set aside for around 10 minutes

Thinly slice carrots and radishes into rounds (I use a mandoline for this to make it super easy, but you can just slice manually).

Slice chilli long ways into quarters then roughly chop up.  Remove seeds if you want to limit the heat in the kimchi, I love heat so leave them all in.   Slice up the garlic cloves, and grate the ginger on a microplane.

Add the vegetables, chili, ginger and garlic to the cabbage and salt and mix well.  Add in chili powder and chili flakes, and mix well. Leave for a further 5 minutes.

You should notice liquid being released by the vegetables, using your hands (steralised) massage the vegetables firmly to release as much water (brine) as possible.

Fill your crock/jar with the vegetables, remembering to press down firmly to remove any air pockets.  If your liquid does not cover the vegetables entirely, top with a little filtered water.

Use the reserved cabbage leaves to create a seal on the top (I use two as the surface area of my crock is quite wide), then place your weights on top to keep the ferment firmly packed.  If you do not have specific weights (most crocks come with special ones) you can use anything that would work in your jar, I used to use a small ceramic spice dish. Just be sure to steralise whatever you are putting in the jar!

Seal your crock/ jar and store in a dark place where the temperature is roughly stable.  My crock lives on the bench now as it is not impacted by light but when I used glass jars I stored in the top cupboard I never opened - just remember to check on them!!

Leave to ferment for a minimum of 14 days.  Length of time can depend on your climate (will ferment faster in humid climates), and your taste preferences - longer time will create more of a tang to the taste!  I usually go with around 14-16 days or so, but I am in a subtropical climate.

Once reach the desired taste, remove the weight & top cabbage leaves and pop into the fridge to chill before eating.  Should keep for 1 months in the fridge, but it will never last that long!

Interested in my smoked kimchi variation? Comment below..