Kimchi is a staple of Korean life and many Koreans include it in their meals three times a day. You can eat it by itself, with rice, or...

Napa cabbage kimchi and radish kimchi (kkakdugi recipe)



Kimchi is a staple of Korean life and many Koreans include it in their meals three times a day. You can eat it by itself, with rice, or use it in many different Korean recipes. When Koreans make kimchi, it’s always done with care and reflects local and seasonal variations.

This recipe is for traditional kimchi with oysters. It also shows you how to make radish kimchi (kkakdugi) at the same time, which will save time because you only need to make the kimchi paste once. Many people think you have to wait for kimchi to be fermented before eating it, but I like to eat it as soon as it’s made. As time goes on, kimchi ferments and changes, so I like to make stew out of older kimchi, which I explain how to do in my kimchijjigae recipe (pg 39).


If you don’t like oysters, you can leave them out. And if you just want to make kimchi or just want to make kkakdugi, leave out the steps you don’t need.


Ingredients:

Napa cabbage, salt, sweet rice flour, sugar, water, hot pepper flakes, fish sauce, white onion, fresh garlic, ginger, green onions, Asian chives (buchu), Korean radishes (muwu), and fresh oysters (optional)




Prepare the cabbages and radish:
  1. Cut 8 pounds’ worth of Napa cabbages in half. Slit each half through the core, keeping the leaves intact.
  2. Soak each piece in cold water and sprinkle with 2½ cups of salt. The stems should get a little more salt than the leaves. Set aside for 2 hours.
  3. Skin 2 radishes and cut them into 1 inch cubes. The quickest was to do this is to cut the radish into disks, then cut the disks into strips, and then cut the strips vertically. Put the cubes into a big bowl and sprinkle them with ½ cup of salt. Set aside for 2 hours.
  4. After 2 hours, turn the radish and cabbage over so everything gets salted evenly.
  5. After another 2 hours, the salting should be finished. The cabbage should have shrunk considerably, and it should look and feel softer. Rinse the salted cabbage and radish in cold water 3 times

Now we need to make kimchi paste:
  1. Put ½ cup of sweet rice flour (you can replace this with plain flour) and 3 cups of water into a skillet and mix them up. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly.
  2. When you see some bubbles, pour ¼ cup of sugar into the porridge and stir one more minute. Then cool it down.
  3. Place the cold porridge into a big bowl. Add 1 cup of fish sauce, 4-6 cups of hot pepper flakes (depending on how hot you like it), 1 cup of crushed garlic, 1 tbs of minced ginger, and 1 medium size minced onion. *tip: mincing and crushing ingredients is faster in a food processor.
  4. Add 7 diagonally-sliced green onions, 2 cups of Asian chives (cut into 2 inches in length), and 2 cups of shredded Korean radish.
  5. Optionally, you can add 2 cups of oysters. I’ve found lots of people can’t eat them.
  6. Mix all the ingredients well. Your kimchi paste is done.






Are you ready to spread the paste over the leaves and make kimchi? I recommend you wear rubber gloves so you don’t irritate your skin.
  1. Spread the kimchi paste onto each leaf of the cabbage. Press them with both hands to make a nice shape.
  2. Put each leaf of kimchi into an air-tight sealed plastic container or glass jar.
  3. Mix your leftover paste with your radish cubes to make kkakdugi.

You can eat your kimchi and kkakdugi fresh right after making it, or wait until it’s fermented. Put the kimchi container at room temperature for 1 or 2 days and then keep it in the refrigerator.
How do you know if it’s fermented or not?One or 2 days after, making it open the lid of the kimchi container. If you see some bubbles with lots of liquids, and maybe strong, sour smells, it means your kimchi is being fermented.  

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