Whole Cabbage Kimchi

September 20, 2006

If you go ...

The Korean-American Festival is scheduled from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday at the War Memorial Plaza, Fayette and Gay streets. In addition to food, there will be traditional dances, tae kwon do demonstrations and games. Free. Call 410-625-2442. Serves 8 to 10

WHOLE CABBAGE KIMCHI

5 pounds napa cabbage

1 1/4 cups sea or kosher salt (divided use); more if needed

STUFFING:

2 tablespoons sweet rice flour or all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons salted shrimp or salted anchovy

1 cup hot red pepper powder

1 pound Korean radishes, peeled and cut into matchsticks

1 hot red Korean pepper, seeded, deribbed and cut diagonally into 1/4 -inch strips

1 hot green Korean pepper or jalapeno, seeded, deribbed and cut diagonally into 1/4 -inch strips

6 green onions, white and pale-green part only, cut diagonally into 1/2 -inch pieces

2 cloves garlic, crushed and finely chopped

4 walnut halves, finely chopped

1 tablespoon grated ginger

1/2 cup sugar; more if needed

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Wash and drain the cabbage. Trim, but leave enough of the root to hold the cabbage intact. Slice lengthwise halfway down and split with your hands, so the halves divide cleanly. Wash again but do not drain.

Place the cabbage in a large (at least 6-quart capacity) nonreactive bowl, arranging in layers with cut side up. Sprinkle 1 cup of sea salt between the leaves and on top. Dissolve the remaining 1/4 cup of salt into 1 cup lukewarm water and sprinkle evenly over cabbage.

Let sit for 3 hours, shifting cabbage every hour to evenly salt the pieces. During the last hour, test every 15 minutes. The cabbage should have the consistency of a crunchy dill pickle. Rinse several times and drain in a colander. Set aside.

To make the stuffing, dissolve the sweet rice flour in 1 cup of water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and decrease the heat to medium-low. Cook 2 minutes, until it becomes a paste, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Let cool.

In a large bowl, combine the sweet rice paste with the salted shrimp or anchovy and red pepper powder. Mix into a bright red paste. Add the other ingredients, stirring to a consistency like tomato sauce.

Wearing rubber gloves, place one cabbage piece in the bowl with the stuffing. Starting with the outer leaves and working in, insert the stuffing between the leaves, smearing it generously on each leaf.

Press the leaves together to form a bundle, and place it in a five-quart jar with a screwtop lid. Repeat with the remaining cabbage. Press down firmly on the bundles to remove air bubbles.

Use the reserved outer leaves and loose individual leaves to wipe up the remaining stuffing in the bowl. Spread these leaves over the kimchi. Add a little water to the bowl and pour over the kimchi. All must be immersed in liquid. Add more water if needed, but leave at least 2 inches at the top of the jar.

Close the jar lid and double wrap in plastic bags. Secure the neck with rubber bands. Store at room temperature overnight. The next day, ladle some of the juice out of the jar, taste and add more salt or sugar if needed.

Let mature at room temperature 2 or 3 more days, then refrigerate to prevent additional fermentation. The kimchi will stay fresh 1 month or more, growing more sour over time. Serve chilled.

From "Growing Up in a Korean Kitchen," by Hi Soo Shin Hepinstall

Per serving (based on 10 servings): 135 calories, 5 grams protein, 2 grams fat, trace saturated fat, 27 grams carbohydrate, 5 grams fiber, 1 milligram cholesterol, 3,574 milligrams sodium

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