What is kimchi

Korean Kimchi - Tongbaechu

  • Cut the lower part of the Chinese cabbage with the stalk completely lengthways, leave the upper part whole. Now carefully pull both halves apart so that the leaves are largely preserved. Now split the lower third of both halves lengthways again and pull them apart as well.

  • Prepare a container that can just hold the Chinese cabbage. Fill with cold water and dip the quarters in until they are completely wetted. Take out and generously sprinkle or lightly rub the salt between the leaves. Use more salt towards the stalk. Put back in the empty container and let stand for 2 hours at room temperature, turning every 30 minutes.

  • In the meantime, prepare the kimchi paste. To do this, peel the daikon and cut into fine sticks. Wash the spring onions, quarter them lengthways, then cut into 3 centimeter long pieces. Peel and finely chop the garlic and ginger.

    Mix everything together with the chilli flakes, the fish sauce and the sugar in a bowl very thoroughly, repeatedly mashing it firmly with your hand (it is best to wear kitchen gloves) so that it becomes as soft as possible. At the end, a dark red mass should emerge, the individual components of which are no longer clearly recognizable.

  • When the leaves of the Chinese cabbage are soft and pliable, start stuffing. First wash the cabbage thoroughly and soak it in cold water for 5 minutes to remove the salt.

    Place the quarters with the outside on the work surface and lift all the leaves up to the bottom. Brush this sheet with the kimchi paste. Cover with the next sheet and brush this too. Gradually brush all the leaves on, distribute the remaining amounts on the Chinese cabbage.

  • Pack the Chinese cabbage in a sealable plastic bag or an airtight container and store at room temperature. Fermentation begins after 1–2 days. Small bubbles form on the surface. The kimchi now develops a strong odor, so it is best to keep it tightly closed in the refrigerator. It can be eaten at any stage, it depends on personal taste.

    It tastes particularly good fresh if you sprinkle it with some toasted sesame seeds and pour a few drops of dark sesame oil over it.