Kimjang Kimchi 김장김치

Kimjang Kimchi 김장김치

Napa Cabbage Kimchi


5 lbs Napa cabbage (about 1 head of cabbage)

2 cups Coarse Korean sea salt

8 ½ cups Water

Vegetable prep:

1 lbs Korean moo radish 

⅓ lbs Minari, watercress, mustard greens, arugula, or any leafy bitter greens

¼ lbs Scallions

Kimchi dressing:

⅔ cup Gochugaroo (Korean chili flakes)

¼ cup Salted anchovy sauce

¼ cup Saewoo jut (Korean salted small shrimp)

½ tablespoon Sugar

¼ lbs Scallion, finely chopped

3 tablespoon Garlic, minced

1 tablespoon Ginger, minced

Kimchi sauce:

¼ cup Water

pinch Coarse Korean sea salt

For extra credit:

¼ lbs Shucked raw oysters


Brine napa cabbage

1. Slice a thin layer of the hard, browned top of the core and remove drier outer leaves of napa cabbage.  Slice the napa cabbage in half, lengthwise from the core.

2. Keep the core intact, but score it half way from the top (away from the part where leaves are attached).  This will ensure that the more dense part of the core and the cabbage will have better exposure to the brine later.

3. Make the brine by dissolving half of the sea salt into the water.

4. On a cutting board or in a large mixing bowl, place the napa cabbage, cut side up.  Separate the leaves with your hands and sprinkle the rest of sea salt between the leaves, toward the core.  Think of it as flicking sea salt toward the core of the cabbage where the leaves are heartier and stalkier.  Submerge the salted cabbage cutside up into the brine.Make sure the cabbage is fully submerged in the brine.

5. Let the cabbage sit and brine for 6 hours—cut side up for the first 3 hours, then down for the next three hours.

6. Rinse the cabbage under running water.  Gently squeeze the excess water out until there is no water dripping from the cabbage.  Place the cabbage in a colander and let water drain further, for about 3 hours.

Prep vegetables

7. Trim the roots and leaves off the radish, peel and wash the radish, then julienne the radish into 2 inch long and ¼ inch pieces (like matchsticks).  Trim the roots and any dry pieces off and wash the bitter greens and scallions, cut into 2 inch pieces.

Make kimchi dressing

8. Finely mince the salted shrimp.  Combine the shrimp, anchovy sauce and red chili pepper flakes, mix well until it becomes paste.

9. Add the red chili paste to julienned radish and toss together with your hands.  Once the radish and paste is evenly mixed, add the rest of the ingredients for the kimchi stuffing and toss again gently.

10. If using freshly shucked raw oysters, gently fold in the oysters into the dressing at this point.

Assemble kimchi

11. Gently spread napa cabbage leaves with your hand and spread the kimchi stuffing between napa cabbage leaves, taking care to get close to the core of the cabbage.  Rather than “stuffing” the leaves, think of it as painting each brined leaf reddish with the kimchi dressing.  Take care to evenly distribute the paste between two brined halves of napa cabbage.

12. Once all painted and stuffed, roll the cabbage onto itself, with the cutside folding in, core in the center and outer green layers on the outside.  Use the most outer leaves to wrap around the cabbage to ensure that the stuffing does not fall out.  Save any loose leaves aside.  Set aside the mixing bowl without washing.

13. Put the kimchi in a container and cover with loose leaves.

14. Take the mixing bowl and add water and salt to make kimchi juice.  Mix and stir well with your hand, as though you’re rinsing the bowl with the kimchi juice salt water.  Pour over the container.  The bowl should be almost clean.

15. Pack tightly by pressing down with your hands, so there are as few air pockets as possible between the cabbages.

Kimchi should be kept in your fridge at all times, fermenting slowly at about 39-40F.  It is good to eat as soon as assembled or until it is very sour, but the fermentation and flavor hits its peak in about 4-6 weeks and starts souring in 3 months.  At that time, I prefer to cook with the sour kimchi.  

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The Community and Culture of Kimjang

Award-winning Korean chef Ji Hye Kim of Miss Kim in Ann Arbor, MI will teach the class about the traditional process of making, preserving, and sharing kimchi that falls every year in November. Over the course of a few days, Korean families gather to preserve pounds of vegetables (often cabbage, but also sometimes radish, cucumbers, turnips, and onions) in order to prepare for the upcoming winter season. It’s a communal and ancient ritual that Ji Hye did with her family while growing up in Korea and has now adapted for use with the local Midwest ingredients available to her in Michigan. Ji Hye will share some of these traditions with her audience, as well as lead viewers through a quick and easy recipe for kimchi.

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