I finally did it. I made kimchi.
It actually tastes good. And this is not my opinion alone, but shared by others who have tasted it.
There are so many variables and stages of the process that could go wrong. The ingredients could suck, the sauce imperfect, the brining insufficient, the fermentation interrupted by air or temperature... However, the stars were aligned and I was blessed by the kimchi gods. I have myself- a delicious bottle of kimchi.
MY RECIPE for KIMCHI
3 medium- large Napa cabbage
¾ cup coarse sea salt
2 tablespoons of sweet rice flour
4 x 4 sheet of kombu
1 dried shiitake mushroom
1 tablespoon of sugar
1 lb of Korean radish
1 cup of chopped green onion
½ cup of garlic
2 teaspoons of ginger
1 Korean pear
½ cup of fish sauce
½ cup of fermented baby shrimp
2 cups of Korean red pepper flake
Brining the cabbage:
Cut cabbage into quarter wedges. In a large basin put 10 cups of water and ¼ cup of salt. Dissolve the salt before submerging the cabbage in the salted water. Leave for 30 minutes.
Remove the cabbage from the basin. Set basin of salted water aside. Salt individual leaves of the cabbage with ½ cup of salt. Apply more salt to the stem part of the cabbage. Then re-submerge the cabbage back into the basin of salted water.
After 2 hours, check to see if the cabbage stem can bend without breaking. If not, leave the cabbage for another 30 minutes and repeat, until the stem part of the cabbage can bend without breaking.
Making the sauce:
Bring 2 cups of water to a boil and add the sheet of kombu and dried shiitake mushroom. Boil on medium for 15 minutes before removing the kombu and shiitake mushroom. Then add 2 tablespoons of sweet rice flour and 1 tablespoon of sugar. Whisk for 15 minutes or until it becomes thick. Cool in ice bath and set aside.
In a blender, add ½ cup of garlic, 2 teaspoons of ginger, 1 peeled onion, 1 peeled and cored Korean pear, ½ cup of fish sauce ½ cup of fermented baby shrimp.
Place purée into a bowl and add 2 cups of Korean red pepper flakes and the sweet rice porridge. Mix thoroughly.
Julienne the radish, chop the green onions and add to the sauce.
Applying the sauce on the cabbage:
Once the cabbage is fully wilted, strain the water and generously apply the sauce on every leaf. Place each quarter firmly down in the container.
Leave the container of kimchi in room temperature. Check daily to see if it is fermentated to your liking. Usually takes about 3-5 days. Use a ladle to press down on the cabbage, removing any trapped air and to help submerge the cabbage in the liquid that has formed. Refrigerate when the desired level of fermentation has been achieved.