It was my third attempt to make kimchi, the first one was too dry, the second one was too salty and I ended up throwing it out, which was disappointing waste of time...I did not give up though, my third attempt gave me a vegan kimchi that rocked my socks off!
So what was different?
1. I was a bit more informed, I read the book Wild Fermentation, which is a great intro book, well written with a lot of recipes. I realized the mistakes I made:
- Too much salts inhibits the growth of the microbes, where as just the right amount kills off the bad bacteria, and lets the microbe flourish.
- In the book, the author indicates to use a weight to press the top down and submerge the veggies under the protection of the brine....My wife orderd the "Crazy Korean Cooking" plastic bpa free jar specially for making kimchi as an internal lid that is able to press the vegetables down. The author also cautions of chemicals that may kill the good microbes too...so I chose to use braggs liquid aminos instead of fish sauce.
- The next problem is that I had trouble finding the recipe that sounded right and traditional elements there and could be adapted to vegan. Most of the vegan recipes I saw where either too simplistic or two complex. I looked at a few different recipes and made some modifications.
- I used rock salt this time instead of fine salt which is much more saltier. I watch my salt so I choose a low salt option 1/2 cup is just about right, the book says that it should be refreshing salty to taste but not overly salty, so I did the taste test.
So here it is:
Step 1 - Get the cabbage ready2 Napa Cabbage
1/2 cup rock salt
Slice cabbage in quarters cutting off the thick base step as a triangle.
Chop in very big chunks, as otherwise you won't have much of that nice leafy texture which you want.
Let soak overnight with a weight on it. I used to containers, one as a weight for the other one, and the top one with another weight on top. Half way through you can put in one container and put the weight on it too I found. After done, the cabbage should be able to wilt and bend until the end and then snap, which is exactly what mine did. If it does not bend it is too underdone, if it goes all the way then it is overdone. I did not rinse the cabbage with salt as I tasted it and it did not seem to salty without rinsing it. You may want to let it sit for a few minutes and drain just a bit, I have the paste ready by the time I do this, as you probrably do one some of the salt as part of the fermentation process to inhibit bacteria growth.
Make Porridge/Gue ready
1/2 cup water with 1 tablespoon sweet/glutinous rice
1 tablespoon sugar
Get the paste and veggies ready
1 cup julienne radish & carrot each
2 bunches spring onions and/or 1 leak
Grind the paste together with the apple and the gue
1 inch ginger
1 medium onion
8 cloves Garlic
6 heaped table spoon korean chilli powder, add some fresh chilli too if you like.
1/4 cup liquid amino
1 apple skinned
Mix, let it sit, put inner lid or fitting plate on top so kimi chi is not exposed to air or use specialized jar. Leave it for 5-7 nights. Check on it daily to release air (press down the inner lid to get rid of air).