[Updated 5 July 2021]
Kimchi is a staple of Korean cuisine that's loved not just in Korea but around the world too! This spicy dish of fermented vegetables is used both as a side dish or in cooking delicious Korean recipes like kimchi fried rice and kimchi stew. Nowadays, it's pretty easy to find halal kimchi in supermarkets, but there are so many benefits to making your own kimchi. Not only is it easy, but you also get to adjust the seasonings to your preference (do you like it spicier? Less sour?), it's a lot cheaper, plus it'll be free from ingredients like added stabilisers, MSG, excessive sugar, and more! It's also very simple to do at home. We'll show you just how to make kimchi with our easy halal kimchi recipe.
Kimchi can be made with all sorts of vegetables, but we're focusing on the most famous kind made with Napa cabbage (also called Chinese cabbage or Wong Bok). It's worth noting that some traditional kimchi recipes often call for cooking up a paste with rice flour and water that's cooled and then mixed into the spice paste used to season the veggies. It's said that the paste helps to
speed up the fermenting process, but there's varying opinion as to whether kimchi tastes better when made with the paste, with many present-day recipes doing without. Our recipe also skips this process (making it easier), but if you'd like to try it out, check out the kimchi recipe by Korean Bapsang
Ingredients (for 1 head of Napa cabbage)
- About 1kg of napa cabbage (also known as Chinese cabbage or Wong Bok) (about 1 large head)
- 1 bunch scallions/spring onions
- 1 daikon radish (or you can substitute with one carrot)
- ¼ cup coarse sea salt
- Filtered water
For the seasoning paste:
- ¼ cup fish sauce
- ¼ - ½ cup gochugaru (Korean red pepper flakes), depending on your spice preference
- 1 - 2 tbsp sugar (or use ½ a peeled Asian pear, grated)
- 1 inch of ginger, grated
- 6 peeled cloves of garlic, minced
- Wash your veggies thoroughly. For the scallions, trim the roots off.
- Cut the cabbage lengthwise (through the stem) in half, then again to get four quarters. For each quarter, cut into crosswise sections about an 1-inch thick each.
- Place the cabbage pieces into a large bowl. Sprinkle over the salt, then massage the cabbage thoroughly with your hands so the salt gets distributed evenly and the cabbage starts softening slightly (as the salt will draw the moisture from the cabbage). Add enough filtered water to cover all the cabbage, then let it sit for 2 hours.
- After the 2 hours, drain the salt water and thoroughly rinse the cabbage - be sure to make sure it's rinsed through a few times to remove excess salt. Place the washed cabbage in a colander and set it aside to drain.
- In the meantime, prepare your other veggies. Peel and cut the daikon radish or carrot into matchsticks. Slice the scallions into 1-inch pieces.
- In a bowl, mix up the seasoning paste. Add all the paste ingredients and mix well.
- In a large bowl, add the cabbage, daikon radish, scallions, and the seasoning paste. Using your hands (it's recommended to use gloves to avoid touching your face with spicy fingers! 😅), mix everything together well, being sure to get all the veggies thoroughly coated with the paste. Taste the kimchi and adjust seasonings to your liking.
- Transfer the kimchi to an airtight container. Let it stand at room temperature for 1 - 2 days to get the fermentation process going. The longer you leave it out, the quicker it'll start fermenting (i.e. taste sour), especially if the weather is hotter. You can taste as you go to see how you like it!
- Once it's ready, transfer the container to the fridge.
- If you have a food processer, you can just toss all the (peeled) ingredients into the food processer and blend it up to get your paste
And there you have it! That isn't so daunting at all now, is it? 😉With just a few ingredients, you'll be able to make your own delicious jar of yummy kimchi and once you get the hang of it, you can scale up the recipe to make tons more in one go. Make this yummy condiment and have it always ready to go in your fridge!