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Napa cabbage is the classic kimchi ingredient–continuing our fermentation theme, here is a recipe for traditionally fermented kimchi. You can be very flexible with ingredients, but for sure include cabbage, onions, garlic, and chili flakes.

Sea salt
1 lb napa cabbage
1 daikon radish or a few red radishes
1-2 carrots
1-2 onions and/or leeks, scallions, or shallots (or more!)
3-4 garlic cloves (or more!)
3-4 hot red chilies or 1 teaspoon chili flakes (or more!)
3 tablespoons (or more!) fresh grated ginger

Mix a brine of 4 cups water and 4 tablespoons salt. Stir well to thoroughly dissolve salt. Coarsely chop the cabbage, slice the radish and carrots and let the vegetables soak in the brine, (add other vegetables to the brine, such as snow peas, bok choy, seaweeds, anything you like) covered by a plate or other weight to keep the vegetables submerged, until soft, a few hours or overnight.

Prepare spices: grate the ginger; chop the garlic and onion; remove seeds from chilies and chop or crush. Mix spices into a paste. Drain brine off vegetables, reserving brine. Mix the vegetables with the ginger-chili-onion-garlic paste. Mix everything together thoroughly and stuff it into a clean quart-size jar. Pack it tightly into the jar, pressing down until brine rises. If necessary, add a little of the reserved vegetable-soaking brine to submerge the vegetables. Weigh the vegetables down with a smaller jar, or a zip-lock bag filled with some brine. Cover loosely with a lid.

Ferment on the kitchen counter away from direct sunlight for about a week, tasting at intervals. Move to the refrigerator when it tastes the way you like.

Wild Fermentation by Sandor Katz

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