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September 03, 2011

Spicy and Sour Kimchi

By Worker Bee
87 Comments

Kimchi announces itself first by a piquant, funky aroma and then by an unforgettable flavor, one that can take some getting use to if you weren’t raised on Korean cuisine. Cool, crunchy cabbage leaves provide a little bit of relief from the otherwise spicy, sour, garlicky and pungent flavors that wallop your taste buds with each mouth-tingling bite. Kimchi can set your mouth on fire, but like other types of spicy food also has a cooling and invigorating affect on the body. Think of kamchi as a way to wake up your palate and kick-start your appetite. It’s also a way to introduce helpful probiotics to your gut, which means improved digestion and better absorption of nutrients.

Making kimchi is an art that Koreans have been practicing for centuries, so we’re not going to pretend that our version improves on the recipe. It does, however, simplify the process and make it less time-consuming, which we’re hoping will encourage many of you to try it at home. You’ll still get the probiotic benefits and the intense flavor, not to mention the satisfaction and pride that comes with creating a culinary treasure in your own kitchen.

Making kimchi involves first brining cabbage leaves and then fermenting them in a fiery mix of chili powder, garlic, ginger and fish sauce and/or salted shrimp. Kimchi’s distinctive spiciness doesn’t come from just any flavorless chili powder. You want Korean chili powder (gochu garu) which is spicy but also a bit sweet, smoky and earthy and can be found in many Asian grocery stores.  There you will also find fish sauce – most Asian countries have their own version of fish sauce, and although similar, they do not taste exactly the same. For kimchi, look for Korean fish sauce (also called anchovy sauce or aek jeot). Fermented shrimp is traditionally included in kimchi as well and gives it more of that elusive umami flavor, but in this version it is optional.

Traditional kimchi is fermented for weeks, months or even years. The fermentation process melds together the bold seasonings so that the final product has a complex flavor that cannot simply be described as spicy. It is also during the fermentation process that all the good, desirable bacteria grow. For our quick and easy version of kimchi, we recommend fermenting the cabbage at least 72 hours. After that, when the kimchi is “done” is up to your personal preference. A good rule of thumb is that if the kimchi just tastes like spicy coleslaw, we let it sit longer until a tangy, pungent flavor develops. If pungency doesn’t sound appetizing to you, think about a piece of high-quality cheese; it smells a little like gym socks, but tastes amazing. Once the kimchi tastes right to you, storing it in the fridge will slow fermentation and keep it from getting way too funky.

In Korea there are more version of kimchi than are possible to count – using a variety of different vegetables beyond cabbage, adding fruit or seafood and adjusting the seasonings is totally acceptable. Serve the kimchi in small portions alongside meat or use it as an ingredient to give recipes an added kick. There is nothing that compares to kimchi when you need to liven up any meal!

Ingredients:


  • 3 pounds (two large heads) of Napa cabbage
  • 3/4 cup kosher salt
  • 8-10 cloves of garlic
  • one 4-inch piece of ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 3 tablespoons Korean fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped salted shrimp (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup Korean red chili powder
  • 1 daikon radish, cut into thin 2-inch strips
  • 8-10 scallions, chopped into 1-inch pieces

Instructions:

Cut the cabbages in half lengthwise then chop each half into 1-inch sections.

In a large bowl combine kosher salt and 8 cups of cold water and stir so that salt dissolves. Add cabbage. Let soak for 6 hours, occasionally stirring the cabbage.

Remove cabbage from water and give it a quick rinse with clean water. You don’t need to rinse all the saltiness out, as it will give the kimchi flavor. Squeeze as much water from the leaves as possible or run it through a salad spinner a few times.

Combine garlic, ginger, and fish sauce (and shrimp, if using) and honey in food processor or blender until very finely minced. Stir in chili powder.

Combine radish, green onions and cabbage with the spice mixture, mixing really well to coat all the cabbage leaves. Using your hands works best for this, but put on plastic gloves if possible or the chili powder will likely burn your hands (and anything you accidentally touch with your hands, like your eyes. Ouch!)

Divide cabbage between two 1-quart canning jars, pressing down firmly to remove any air bubbles.

Cover the surface with tight plastic wrap, using a rubber band to seal the plastic wrap around the rim of the jar. Let it sit out at around 70 degrees for 72 hours, or longer, to ferment. Store in the refrigerator, up to about 3 weeks for best flavor.


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87 Comments on "Spicy and Sour Kimchi"

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adp
adp
5 years 23 days ago

Nice. I love me some kimchi, but have never attempted making it. Looks good!

WildGrok
WildGrok
5 years 23 days ago

Hail the Kimchi
I am doing this this weekend

JennF
JennF
5 years 23 days ago

I love kimchi but have never tried to make it myself. Looks like I have a new project!

Steven Herndon
Steven Herndon
5 years 23 days ago

“Serve the kimchi in small portions alongside meat or use it as an ingredient to give recipes an added kick.” Ummmm, no. Since first trying this awesome dish a year or so ago, after first reading about it on the Paleo blogs with all the talk of pro-biotic foods, I eat this stuff by the jar! Love kimchi, this stuff is awesome. Will definitely try making my own though. The stuff I buy at the grocery store is running almost $5 a jar. Think how much more I can eat if I make it myself 🙂 Thanks Mark.

Estella
5 years 23 days ago

Nice job with the kimchi!! I grew up on kimchi as my mom is Korean 🙂 My kimchi does not compare to hers. Just wanted to give you kudos on your kimchi – looks great and authentic. 🙂 Happy eating!

Steph
Steph
5 years 23 days ago

Kimchi — my favorite thing about Korean BBQ!

Shebeeste
Shebeeste
5 years 23 days ago

I’ve done a similar version. Delicious. I eat it as a snack. Locally I couldn’t find kim chee powder, but there is jarred Japanese kim chee paste. It does have a bit of sugar in it. I upped the heat by adding Thai chili garlic sauce. Pan-Asian fusion at its finest!

Primal Toad
5 years 23 days ago

That looks hot just looking at it! I’ve never had kimchi…

Estella
5 years 23 days ago

You have to try it! You can make different variations – my fave is cucumber kimchi. I know you love bacon, try some kimchi wrapped bacon – both foods compliment everything so why not each other 🙂 It will seriously wake up your taste buds and you can adjust the heat.

Arty
Arty
5 years 23 days ago

Make sure you’re near a toilet when consuming kim chi…that stuff will make ya go.

Primal Toad
5 years 22 days ago

Lol. That’s hilarious. I love cucumber and bacon so I guess I should try it soon!

T.
T.
5 years 23 days ago

I don’t think the authentic kimchi receipt has sugar-just thought….

T.
T.
5 years 23 days ago

Sorry- I meant honey

Estella
5 years 23 days ago

Yeah, we don’t use honey in ours, but it’s a great alternative to sugar. I’m going to see if my mom has ever used honey – which I love!

samui_sakana
5 years 23 days ago

http://drbenkim.com/how-to-make-cucumber-kim-chi.htm

This is a recipe with photos of cucumber kim chi. The same website has a similar recipe for traditional napa cabbage kim chi like the one in this post. It is beyond phenomenal. Nothing like the store bought variety.

Sharon
Sharon
5 years 23 days ago

I recently made kimchi for the first time using the recipe in ‘Nourishing Traditions.’

When it is gone I will try this recipe. Looks good. I am also going to look up a cucumber kimchi recipe as Estella suggested since I have a bounty of cucumbers in the refrigerator.

Estella
5 years 23 days ago

You will love it, Sharon 🙂 I don’t soak them in salt water, I just make it fresh and ready to eat. I also don’t add fish sauce – too salty but it is tasty. 🙂

LisaL
LisaL
5 years 23 days ago

YAY! I’m half Korean so grew up eating it. My mom doesn’t fix her own any longer so I just buy mine from the Korean market. So good!
I love mine fresh… like right out of the tub they just made it in fresh lol.
It’s also awesome once it sours too. You can make a frickin awesome stew out of it.
Sour Kimchi, Chicken broth (or water if you want), whatever kind of meat you want, bring to a boil and voila! YUM city!

Estella
5 years 23 days ago

I love the stew! I add kimchi to everything. My mom’s Korean and my dad’s Puerto Rican. Yeah, we ate kimchi with beans and rice growing up. 🙂 It’s a great condiment to everything and alone as a snack. Kimchi pancakes rock my world. I haven’t had any in a while…

LisaL
LisaL
5 years 22 days ago

Oh god yes. I LOVE kimchi pancakes!! Well, can’t exactly have them now since they’re made from flour. Guess there could be a primal version of it but I’m too lazy to try anything.
I snack on kimchi all the time.

Estella
Estella
5 years 21 days ago

😀 Haha! I know what you mean. I’m going to – I promise – experiment with making kimchi pancakes with sweet potato flour. I need my kimchi pancake fix! 🙂

LukeOZ
LukeOZ
5 years 23 days ago

I made a few batches, one came out WAAAY too salty! Sea salt plus fish sauce put it over the top.

This recipe looks scrumptious, I’ll give it a shot!

Jason Sandeman
5 years 23 days ago

I used to make a huge batch of 20 L of kimchi every week at my old restaurant. I never used honey, but I used to grate an Asian pear into the mix instead.
THere are over 90 different variations on kimchi, and I even know of people who have whole fridges dedicated to their kimchi.
One dish I like to make that rocks is scrambled eggs, grilled scallions, and kimchi. Awesome!

Julie
Julie
5 years 21 days ago

Its great with eggs. I had it this morning in an omelet with smoked pepperoni–delicious!

Jessica Jane
Jessica Jane
5 years 23 days ago

What about those who don’t tolerate nightshades (chili powder)? Do you think the fermentation process would mitigate the immmune response?

Bong Kim
Bong Kim
5 years 23 days ago

You can make Kimchi without chili powder. It’s called Baek Kimchi, meaning white Kimchi in Korean, since the color of Kimchi cabbage is white without the powder. Google for Back Kimchi for the recipe.

Matt
Matt
5 years 23 days ago

So … I suppose the shrimp won’t spoil at room temperature for three days, because of the fermentation. Even if it’s your run of the mill farmed shrimp from Thailand, are there still really no worries here?

Bong Kim
Bong Kim
5 years 23 days ago

The salted shrimp from a Korean grocery store pictured in the article is already fermented.

There’s a recipe to make Korean salted shrimp. But I do not recommend this because even Koreans who make Kimchi themselves buy salted shrimp from a store. It is not easy to make salted shrimp well. And the taste of Kimchi heavely depends on the quality of salted shrimp.

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[…] Original post by Worker Bee […]

Matthew
Matthew
5 years 23 days ago

That looks great! I’ve never had kimchee before, but I may try this recipe.

Jennifer
5 years 23 days ago

When my Korean Aunt would make kimchi she would bury the jar in the backyard for a month to ferment. Each month she’d dig up the jar and drop a new one in. Her kimchi was amazing and she said proper kimchi was always buried. LOL I never tried it myself though.

Estella
5 years 23 days ago

Yep! My mom has those jars outside but she uses it to make soybean paste.

LisaL
LisaL
5 years 22 days ago

Oh that’s bringing back memories. I remember having those huge brown jars on our back porch w/ the bean paste in them.

HillsideGina
HillsideGina
5 years 23 days ago

Wow, lots of hapas here! My Korean mom was visiting over the summer and I made kimchi chigae (stew) for her using Maangchi’s recipe. Just throw sour kimchi, chopped pork belly, chopped dried anchovies in a pot with a little water and boil it for 20 minutes. Easy-peasy.

Estella
5 years 23 days ago

Love the stew! I love visiting my mom bc she makes me quite the spread of Korean dishes. She’s the best! 🙂 Kimchi pancakes rock!

james r
james r
5 years 23 days ago

that is thought of as one of the origins of the phrase ‘in deep kimchi.’ soldiers in the korean conflict stepping in buried jars.

Michael
Michael
5 years 23 days ago

Sounds like a really awesome recipe… and reminds me of sauerkraut, since they’re both based on fermented cabbage. Now I kind of want to try making both at home….

Dawn
Dawn
5 years 23 days ago

Wow. Impressive! Kimchi is one thing my non-Primal husband loves but I do not. Perhaps I’ll try making this recipe…for him. I tried a bite of kimchi once and it’s the only food I’ve never been able to actually swallow.

Estella
5 years 23 days ago

Dawn, I would try making fresh kimchi – i don’t add fish sauce and I cut up veggies and mix in the rest of the goodies above. Cucumber and carrots are great!

LisaL
LisaL
5 years 22 days ago

You may want to try fresh kimchi.
My husband doesn’t like kimchi once it sours, but if it still has that fresh taste to it, he’ll eat it.

becky
becky
5 years 23 days ago

We make our own kim chi using Maangchi’s recipe which is nice because there’s a video to run you through all the steps.

It’s great with eggs, plain meat, and right out of the jar (just make sure you don’t double dip!)

christian chun
christian chun
5 years 22 days ago

I use a variation on maangchi’s recipes to primalize it ad well. Just substitude the sugar and sweet rice paste she uses with some blue berries and plain yogurt. Better than any store bought. And even my moms I think…her cucumber kimchi is even easier to make and tastes great, just omit the sugar.

Neil Butterfield
5 years 22 days ago

Sounds very interesting and this is in no small way thanks to the way you use words to describe this food.

Jessica Jane
Jessica Jane
5 years 22 days ago

Thanks, Bong Kim!

Gretchen
Gretchen
5 years 22 days ago

I’m curious – why use plastic wrap and rubber band to cover the jar and not the jar’s lid and ring like with canning?

Bong Kim
Bong Kim
5 years 22 days ago

You can use the jar’s lid.

However, you need to be very careful when you open the lid after Kimchi is done, because there is pressured air built up inside the jar due to fermentation.

It does not look pretty at all. A Kimchi jar explodes like when a warm beer can is opened ^^

Gretchen
Gretchen
5 years 22 days ago

So maybe just not screw the lid on too tight?

Bong Kim
Bong Kim
5 years 22 days ago

Tight it, but when you open it first time, position the jar in your kitchen sink and open it there carefully because the pressured air and juice can spill over.

HillsideGina
HillsideGina
5 years 22 days ago

It isn’t “canned” with a boiling water bath, so it doesn’t need the rubber gasket and lid.

Gretchen
Gretchen
5 years 22 days ago

I understand it isn’t canned – I was curious regarding plastic wrap/rubberband rather than the lid and screw cap.

porcupine73
porcupine73
5 years 21 days ago

It’s to keep the lids from exploding off the jar. A regular lid with screw cap can be used but it has to be put on loosely, at least until it gets put in the refrigerator.

primalfamily
primalfamily
5 years 21 days ago
leaving it outside at room temperature speed up the fermentation. 72 hours would make it pretty sour. we prefer it about 24 hours then put in refrigerator. Special kimchi refrigerator keeps the temperature right around 32-33 which still does not freeze due to salt, but it stops fermentation, which will maintain the taste to your liking. normal fridge will allow very slow fermentation. you can make kimchi with just about any vegetables especially those in the cabbage family. napa cabbage is 20th century introduction, so go ahead and experiment.
porcupine73
porcupine73
5 years 21 days ago

It did take me a little while to get used to the taste of kimchi but now I love it. I just made up a little over 3 gallons this weekend. I’m using a little different method though, including whey into the mix to lactoferment it.

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Abby C.
Abby C.
5 years 20 days ago

I love kimchi! If you go to a more traditional Korean restaurant, you’ll be served small dishes of 4-6 different kinds of kimchi, all using different seasonal vegetables with completely different flavor profiles. I wish I knew more about making it!

Animanarchy
5 years 20 days ago
Homemade Legal Opium Tea Recipe! Yep. A primal drug concoction. I’ve been busy. It doesn’t actually get you high. More of a mood-food. Most of us have had a relaxing cup of chamomile at some point? This is just a bit stronger. I wouldn’t consider it any more drastic than a couple cups of coffee. A couple cups of this tea is like popping a Vicodin or something. What you do is go to a bulk food section, get a bag of poppy seeds (about a pound per person for a light buzz) and then put them in a big… Read more »
Animanarchy
5 years 20 days ago

And if you consume a bunch of cumin with it, all the merrier. Cumin lowers opiate tolerance and increases the subjective high. Thanks Mark for that snippet of information. 🙂
I’m a bit of a slave to my vices but with knowledge comes better options. This tea also helps my friend out who is addicted to opiates. He can drink it instead of taking tons of pharms to ward off or lessen withdrawal symptoms.

porcupine73
porcupine73
5 years 19 days ago

Anyone who attempts the poppy seed tea should be very cautious; there have been deaths from this tea. Granted they drank a lot of it and had very strong seeds. I have a friend who tried this a couple years back with a commonly available poppy seed. He used two 8 oz. bags with some lemon juice I think it was, and he said he was pretty much out of it for two days afterward. Opiates are very addictive so usually the advice is not to consume such tea two days in a row.

Animanarchy
Animanarchy
5 years 14 days ago

Lemon juice would be good to add. My friend told me the pH should be somewhere around 6.5.

Animanarchy
5 years 13 days ago

I read that the active compounds in the poppy seeds are liable to degredation if their temperature reaches over 70 degrees C so it might be best to let this tea simmer lightly for a long time.

Susan
Susan
5 years 20 days ago

I love kimchi but I’ve developed an allergic reaction to hot peppers…is there such a thing as kimchee minus the hot peppers????

KillerAbsMtn
5 years 19 days ago

Yes! Check out Chinese “Pao cai” or “Suan cai” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pao_cai

porcupine73
porcupine73
5 years 19 days ago

I skipped the hot peppers in mine, not sure how it will turn out, but I used a little extra ginger. Peppers are in the nightshade family so some people have sensitivity to them.

Josh Frey
5 years 18 days ago

I always want to try these recipes but they’re way too complicated for me right now. For now I’ll stick to putting a big piece of meat and some veggies in a crock pot and leaving it for a few hours =)

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[…] 8, 2011 by The Foodee Spicy and Sour Kimchi Marks Daily […]

Stephanie @ Aspiring
Stephanie @ Aspiring
5 years 15 days ago

yay!! I’m a Korean and I can’t be more excited to see a Korean recipe in Mark’s site!

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[…] Link Love Watch – ”Pursuit of Excellence” with Greg Glassman, CrossFit Journal preview video [wmv] [mov] Eat – Spicy and Sour Kimchi […]

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[…] #split {}#single {}#splitalign {margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;}#singlealign {margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;}.linkboxtext {line-height: 1.4em;}.linkboxcontainer {padding: 7px 7px 7px 7px;background-color:#ffffff;border-color:#000000;border-width:0px; border-style:solid;}.linkboxdisplay {padding: 7px 7px 7px 7px;}.linkboxdisplay td {text-align: center;}.linkboxdisplay a:link {text-decoration: none;}.linkboxdisplay a:hover {text-decoration: underline;} function opensplitdropdown() { document.getElementById('splittablelinks').style.display = ''; document.getElementById('splitmouse').style.display = 'none'; var titleincell = document.getElementById('titleincell').value; if (titleincell == 'yes') {document.getElementById('splittitletext').style.display = 'none';} } function closesplitdropdown() { document.getElementById('splittablelinks').style.display = 'none'; document.getElementById('splitmouse').style.display = ''; var titleincell = document.getElementById('titleincell').value; if (titleincell == 'yes') {document.getElementById('splittitletext').style.display = '';} } Probiotics and Other Health Benefits of Korean KimchiBeautiful DayChang Korean Charcoal BBQ Restaurant Review2 New Bali 8311 Light Control Shapewear BriefsHow to Grow Wheat-Grass-in-potsSpicy… Read more »
Deb
Deb
5 years 11 days ago

One thing that is delicious that my Korean mother taught me is stir-frying kimchi in pig fat. We usually cook a large batch of pork belly (sam gyup sal) and let the kimchi brown in the fat afterwards. It’s so delicious!

Allen
4 years 6 months ago

Thank you for the excellent post on kimchi. I have always loved kimchi, as well as most pickled vegetables. Allen.

V
V
4 years 4 months ago

Where did you get the recipe? From some American book? Koreans do not use honey. They use nashi fruit and apple instead. Here is a video where a Korean person makes it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fznTL6TzsqI

Moe
Moe
4 years 2 months ago

I just made this for the first time yesterday and it has been fermenting for about 30 hours. I must not have left enough room because the liquid, not just the gas seems to have expanded and my saran wrap looks like a huge blister. Does anybody know how/why the liquid increases, I can understand how it makes gas but not how it makes liquid. Thanks for any help.

Melinda
Melinda
2 years 9 months ago

The liquid doesn’t actually increase, although you do get some liquid coming out of the veg. What happens is that the gas expands and pushes the cabbage, radish, veggies etc upwards, creating gaps lower in the jar.

I’ve got some fermenting now in a Pickl-It jar and have had to put it in a larger jar due to the expansion. House smells like kimchi. 🙂

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[…] spicy, funky fermented cabbage is a mainstay in a ton of Korean dishes. Check out a great Kimchi recipe at Mark’s Daily Apple. Adjust the seasonings to taste – there’s no wrong way to do kimchi. Like this:LikeBe the first […]

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[…] Spicy and Sour Kimchi from Mark’s Daily Apple […]

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[…] most paleo peeps seem OK with kimchi. Primal guru Mark Sisson is clearly on Team Kimchi, offering this recipe, which includes a great deal of salt — and optional fermented shrimp […]

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[…] Adapted from marks daily apple: kimchi […]

Baz
Baz
2 years 8 months ago

4 soft poached eggs (runny yolks) mixed into about two cups of Kimchi is divine! It’s my favourite meal at the moment 🙂

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[…] start with four tablespoons of potato starch right away) and take it very slowly. Introduce probiotics. Be patient; a month should be sufficient for an honest […]

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[…] start with four tablespoons of potato starch right away) and take it very slowly. Introduce probiotics. Be patient; a month should be sufficient for an honest […]

Angel V
Angel V
2 years 3 months ago
My mom uses some clam juice in her kimchi. Never tried it with shrimp. She ferments hers for a week on the counter but saves a few servings of fresh for me. I prefer the crunch of fresher kimchi. That stuff can really stink up the house…and all the garlic of Korean kimchi will come out if your pores for a couple of days. The hubby won’t come near me til it’s out of my system, he also hates Asian food. Totally worth it, tho! My favorite is radish kimchi made with the big Asian radishes. Mmm, I’m going to… Read more »
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