Naturally fermented kimchi is one of my favorite ways to incorporate probiotics into my diet! Kimchi is a Korean side dish consisting of fermented cabbage, daikon raddish, and scallions. While traditionally this dish is made with Korean red pepper powder (aka gochugaru), I like to use Sriracha paste instead (yes I am aware that Sriracha is from Thailand but I absolutely loooove Sriracha and there is nothing wrong with a little thai-korean fusion! I have also tried making this the traditional gochugaru powder and I like it better this way.
1-2 Clean mason jars (I like the 24oz wide mouth mason jars)
- 1 Napa cabbage
- ½ cup kosher or sea salt (make sure there is no iodine)
- ~12 cups cold filtered water (tap water contains chlorine and will prevent proper fermentation)
- 8 oz daikon radish, peeled and cut into 2-inch matchsticks
- 4 medium scallions, ends trimmed and chopped into small pieces
- 1/2 cup Sriracha Chili Garlic Sauce (from jar)
- Sriracha sauce (from bottle) to taste
- ¼ cup fish sauce
- ¼ cup grated fresh ginger (or more if you really love ginger)
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic (appx 6-8 medium cloves)
- 1 ½ teaspoons granulated sugar
- Cut the cabbage in half lengthwise, and then chop into two inch pieces. Chop off the root end and discard (or compost!)
- Place chopped cabbage in a large bowl and sprinkle with the salt, mix the salt in with your hands until cabbage is evenly coated.
- Note: It is very important to use non-iodized salt, table salt will not work because it contains iodine and will prevent fermentation. Kosher or sea salt should work fine
- Another Note: The salt is very important to prevent growth of pathogens and to promote growth of the right kind of bacteria (the probiotics!)
- Add enough cold water to just cover the cabbage (appx. 12 cups)Note: It is very important to use filtered water for this step, tap water can contain chlorine which prevents fermentations.
- Use a plate to weigh down the cabbage so it is fully submerged (it is okay if a few leaves break the surface) you can saran wrap the top to cover if you want but it is unneccesary.
- Let sit at room temperature for 6-24 hours.
- Place the cabbage in a colander in the sink to drain. Rinse 3 times with cold water.
- Gently squeeze out any excess liquid and transfer back to an empty clean bowl.
- Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl and mix with your hands to combine until evenly coated (you may want to use gloves for this step if you have sensitive skin)
- Place the mixture and any liquid into the clean mason jar(s) and pack down firmly
- Note: You should be able to pack the ingredients enough to get a layer of liquid at the top above the kimchi. This is the brine, you want this liquid layer to protect the kimchi from mold and to create an anaerobic fermentation environment. If there is not enough liquid, then pour in filtered water until the kimchi is fully submerged.
- Screw on the top of the mason jar to seal
- Let sit in a dark place at room temperature for at least 3 days, making sure to unscrew the top daily to allow gasses to escape, you may have to pack the kimchi down again below the brine each day as well.
- Once you are satisfied with the taste, store this in your fridge to slow the fermentation and enjoy!
I love to add this to soups, eggs, bone broth, fried rice, etc for a little extra flavor and probiotics, some even like to eat it on its own as a snack! (remember not to heat it too much before eating though otherwise you will kill all the probiotics!)
Recipe Adapted from Chowhound.