I’ll eat kimchi on just about anything.
Rice. Ramen. Noodles of all sorts. Eggs. Mac and cheese. Grilled cheese. Quesadillas. Nachos. Tacos. Home fries. French fries. Burgers. Hot dogs. Pizza. You name it.
Spice, tang, nutrition, it’s got it all.
Finding things to put kimchi on wasn’t the problem when I moved to Northern Ontario from Ottawa, finding the kimchi to put on them was.
If you also live in a kimchi desert and don’t care about how this recipe came to be, skip the words and get to the goods by clicking here.
I prep my ingredients more like the Kitchn, use a rice porridge like Maangchi, and my ratios are some combination of the two, adapted for our preferences.
I use miso instead of fish sauce these days because I wound up preferring the batch I made for a vegan friend. It’s more expensive, so I have to get my miso for cheap in Hamilton when I go down to see my mother. The 500 g pack you see in these photos cost me $7 there, while here that amount would be closer to $20. This miso and the fish sauce have the same amount of sodium by weight, so I figured it would work, and it did.
The first time I made kimchi I used regular old chili flakes. I highly, highly recommend against this. It’s like using black strap molasses instead of regular molasses in your cookies, or Dijon mustard on a hot dog instead of yellow mustard, it just ain’t right. I have to get the gochugaru chili flakes down south too, picking them up in Hammer Town only costs me $10 to $15 for three pounds, the same amount was over $30 online. Yes, I shift between metric and imperial. No, that probably won’t change.
Anyway, all this to say, after plenty of trial and error, this is the recipe we’ve come to use as our base. I make no claims of authenticity or authority on the subject except to claim that this tastes good.
It’s a recipe, not rocket science, so go nuts trying out slightly different ratios, throwing in a carrot or two, or subbing fish sauce for the miso.
Makes a little over two litres
1.5 kg cabbage, chopped how you like
¼ cup kosher salt
Water to cover
1/4 cup glutinous rice flour
1 cup water
½ cup gochugaru chili flakes
¼ cup miso or fish sauce
1 hefty tbsp minced garlic
1 tsp minced ginger
8 scallions, sliced
1 smallish daikon, 250 g or so, grates
- Rub the salt into the cabbage with your hands, then cover with cold water and weigh down – leave to sit for 2 to 4 hours.
- Prep the vegetables and sauce while the cabbage sits. I like to use a box grater to minimize dishes, I use the small holes for the garlic and ginger, and the larger holes for the daikon.
- Cook the rice flour and the cup of water over medium heat, whisking occasionally, until thick and uniform. It may clump at some points, just keep cooking, and keep whisking. Let cool.
- Add chili flakes, miso or fish sauce, garlic, ginger, scallions, and daikon to the sauce mixture.
- When the cabbage is ready, rinse it three times then dry thoroughly, I use a salad spinner. Using gloves—or your bare hands if you don’t have anything to do in the next couple hours where the smell of your hands will matter—mash the sauce into the cabbage until thoroughly distributed.
- Pack the cabbage mixture into clean jars with two inches of space at the top. Leave it for three to seven days. When it’s super bubbly and tangy and you like it, put it in the fridge.
- Try to let it sit at least another week in the fridge before digging in, the flavour develops really nicely in this time.
- Get another batch going because by the time this one is done, you’ll wish you had more waiting.