KIMCHI RECIPE: Complete EASY Tutorial [SMALL BATCH KIMCHI] Whole & Sliced Kimchi (통배추김치 막김치) キムチ
Updated: Sep 23
I am SO EXCITED to share this Kimchi recipe with you! Kimchi is something, literally, that I cannot live without...:-) And, I am confident that I'm not alone in saying so.
This Kimchi recipe video is lesson-based as if I'm right here with you. My goal is that you can walk away from watching this video with:
1. Loads and loads of Kimchi Making Confidence
2. Give you all the necessary and EASY TO FOLLOW Kimchi making instructions
I believe that ANYONE can make delicious and authentic Kimchi...:-)
*Ingredient substitutions are listed below for friends that do not have access to Korean grocery markets.
🌱Vegan Friends🌱 Please see my Vegan Kimchi (ChaeShik Kimchi 채식김치 레시피) video which includes Vegan "Fish" sauce and fermented salt brined seaweed (to replace the fermented salt brined shrimp) recipes. Written Vegan Kimchi Recipe: https://www.modernpepper.com/post/vegankimchi
Today's Kimchi Napa Cabbage (BaeChu Kimchi 배추김치) Recipe Includes:
1. Small Portion Recipe for ONE Napa Cabbage or up to 6 lbs of Napa Cabbage(s)
2. Options for Sliced Kimchi or Whole Kimchi:
Sliced Kimchi (Mak Kimchi 막김치, aka Instant/Casual Kimchi)
Whole Kimchi, cut into quarter sections (ttong baechu Kimchi 통배추김치/Pogi Kimchi 포기김치). Typically made for preserving the longevity of Kimchi life. This method is used for KimGang 김장, when a large amount of Kimchi is made to be consumed for months/winter season.
3. How To Make Fresh Kimchi (Geot-Jeori 겉절이), using the inner core leaves (sweet yellow leaves) of your Napa Cabbage. If you never had this, this is a MUST...SO YUM!
4. How To Store & Ferment Kimchi (properly storing and fermenting your Kimchi is the 2nd half of making sure your Kimchi tastes delicious)
Timecodes for this Kimchi recipe video:
Napa Cabbage Shopping Tips 2:30
Cutting Napa Cabbage 3:43
Salting, Brining & Washing 4:50
MUST HAVE & Up-Grade Ingredients 11:13
Kimchi Paste Making 18:00
Kimchi Storage & Fermentation 24:30 & 26:15
Fresh & Crunchy Unsalted-Brined Kimchi (Geot Jeori 겉절이, aka Fresh Kimchi) 25:10
BONUS: Kimchi with Fresh Oysters & Pork Belly 25:50
Mini Kimchi Eating Show/Mukbang 26:55
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Thanks for watching!
🥬Below You'll Find:
INGREDIENTS (*substitutions included)
🦐Homemade Salt Fermented Shrimp
🌿For My GreenThumb Friends (kimchi vegetable seeds & drying method for red peppers)
Korean Red Pepper Flakes/GoChuGaRu/고춧가루 Shopping & Storage Tips
Common Kimchi Making Mistakes Of Ingredients
RECIPE INSTRUCTIONS (includes troubleshooting tips)
Kimchi Storage & Fermentation Tips
(This small-batch kimchi recipe is for up to 6 lbs of fresh napa cabbage(s). Adjust the amount of the ingredients according to the TOTAL WEIGHT of the cabbage(s) you are using)
Napa Cabbage (up to 6 lbs.) *Regular white cabbage
Starch Gravy/Pul/풀 (1/2 Cup White Flour/All-Purpose, 2 Cups Water) see below for recipe *Sweet White Rice Flour or Potato Gravy (overcooked into gravy consistency)
1/3 Cup Korean Beef Bone Broth *Substitution option Dashima broth
1/4 Cup Fish Sauce
1 Tbsp Korean Plum Extract (Maesil 매실청) *Substitution option: honey
1 Tbsp Salt Brined Shrimp (Saeu-Jeot 새우젓) see below for homemade recipe
Optional Ingredient: 1/2 gram (1/2 Individual Packet) Artificial Sweetener *Substitution option: Monk Fruit sweetener, honey or brown sugar
Salt-Brining Cabbage Leaves
Approximately 1/2 Cup Brining Salt/Coarse Kosher Salt (For Fast Method). MUST use coarse salt.
For Slower-Method, additional Brining Salt/Coarse Kosher Salt is needed
(Options: All-Purpose White Flour, Sweet Rice Flour or Potato)
1/2 Cup White Flour
2 Cups Water
4 to 5 Scallions/Green Onions (cut into 1 to 1.5 inches in length): If you are not adding the up-grade vegetables listed below, double the number of scallions
6 to 8 Garlic Cloves
Fresh Ginger (less than thumb size)
2.5 to 3 inches section of Korean radish (mu 무) peeled and cut into sticks, slightly thicker than a spaghetti noodle *Substitution option: 6 - 8 Round pink/red radishes (remove the red/pink skin) or Japanese daikon
1 Small Carrot (cut into the same size as the radish)
1/4 Medium Size Onion
1/4 Slice of Korean Pear (onion and pear similar in amount) *Bosc pear. If no pear, use Fuji apple/sweet apple
4 to 6 Garlic Chives/Chinese Chives (BuChu 부추)
3 to 4 YeolMu (열무 Korean leafy radish leaves) *Substitution option: Use the leafy greens from the round pink/red radishes
2 Slices Fresh Squid (O-Jing-Uh 오징어)
6 to 8 Fresh Oysters Small/Medium Size
Fresh & Crunchy Kimchi (Geot-Jeori 겉절이)
1/2 Cup Kimchi Paste
1/2 Tbsp Fish Sauce
1/2 Tsp Honey or Plum Extract
BONUS: Ferment Pork Belly Meat With Kimchi For 2 Weeks To Make Kimchi Stew
1 lb Pork Belly Meat
1 Tbsp Coarse Salt
Extra Kimchi Paste to rub and coat the meat
2 Quarters of Napa Cabbage dressed with Kimchi Paste
🦐Homemade Salt Fermented Shrimp
Mix two parts shrimp (cut into chunks/no shell), and one part coarse salt. Add one whole shrimp with the head and shell on to the mixture. Store in a glass jar. Gently press down to pack it down and add a layer of saran wrap on top. Leave the jar in the refrigerator for a week. Then stir to mix and you should see some shrimp liquid. Pack it down again and add a layer of plastic wrap. Place it back in the refrigerator and another week later, it should be ready for use.
🌿For My GreenThumb Friends
Here are the seeds to grow your own vegetables for kimchi
(Click on the item to view)
Korean Radish/Mu/무 (you can also use the leafy greens as YeolMu)
🌶Drying & Processing Red Peppers:
Once the green peppers turn bright red on the plant, harvest them. Lay the red peppers under full sunlight, but with some breeze, preferably late mid to late afternoon. (Don't leave them out under scorching sunlight. Under extreme heat/sun, it will "cook" and damage the peppers.) Every other hour, turn over the peppers. Once the sun goes away, bring the pepper indoors, and leave them in a cool part of the kitchen, unwrapped. And repeat the sun drying process, until the peppers are fully sun-dried. This will take days to complete, depending on sun exposure. Then split open the dried pepper and remove all the seeds. Using a food processor, pulse-blend to coarse grind. Do not over blend as the heat of the blades can "burn/cook" the peppers. Double/triple wrap the coarse ground peppers, place in an airtight container and store in the freezer to preserve its freshness.
🥬Korean Red Pepper Flakes/GoChuGaRu/고춧가루 Shopping & Storage Tips
To make kimchi, only coarse-grind GoChuGaru is recommended.
If your budget allows, my recommendation is to buy Made In Korea GoChuGaRu. It does cost more than those manufactured in other countries. Personally, I justify spending extra on Made In Korea GoChuGaRu since I am saving so much $$$ when I make my own Kimchi. Store-bought kimchi is delicious, too, but costly when compared to the cost of making homemade kimchi. Also, many families go above and beyond to buy directly from pepper farmers from Korea.
Store any unused GoChuGaRu in the freezer to preserve its freshness (double/triple bag it or store in an airtight container).
If you can't find Korean red pepper flakes where you live, go to your local spice purveyor, show then to red pepper flakes from this video, and the link below. Hopefully, they can find you a similar match (with NO seeds and must be a coarse grind). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Korean_chili_pepper
🥬Common Kimchi Making Mistakes😊
I wholeheartedly appreciate fans of kimchi for making homemade kimchi💛🧡💚. I could see how these common mistakes are made, especially for non-Koreans, that did not grow up with eating and being surrounded by Korean cuisine. Just listing these below as an FYI for those wishing to make traditional kimchi. BUT if using any of the ingredients below works for you, I say do what makes you and your homemade kimchi HAPPY😋. There is NO Kimchi-Police😂😭🤣
The following ingredients are NEVER used to make traditional kimchi:
GoChuJang/고추장 (Korean red pepper paste)
Mirin/미린 (cooking wine)
SsamJang/쌈장 (condiment for Korean BBQ lettuce wraps)
The following substitutions will NOT work for making traditional kimchi:
Italian pepper flakes with seeds
Any Asian red pepper flakes
(These are affiliate links, which means, I get a small commission when you make a purchase using these links, AT NO EXTRA COST TO YOU. Thank you for your support!)
More Korean ingredients & kitchen gadgets at https://www.modernpepper.com/store
Korean Red Pepper Flakes (GoChuGaRu 고춧가루)
100% Premium Korean Origin Red Pepper Powder Chili Flakes From Famous Award-Winning Region of Yeong Yang Korea
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100% Premium Korean Origin Dried Red Pepper Powder
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Budget-Friendly Korean Red Pepper Flakes
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Premium Korean Anchovy Fish Sauce
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Three Crabs Brand Fish Sauce
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Natural Premium Sea Salt for Kimchi Brining: the Jewel of Sinan Island by Chung-Jung-One
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Pacific Ocean Gourmet Sea Salt - 5 lbs. Bulk Medium Coarse Grain by San Francisco Salt Co.
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SaltWorks Pure Ocean Sea Salt, Extra Coarse Grain, 5 Pound
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Immaculate Baking Organic All-Purpose Flour, 5 Pound
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Mochiko (Sweet Rice Flour) - 16oz [Pack of 1]
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Cheong Maesil Plum Extract - 420ml
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Korean Beksul All-Purpose Plum Extract Syrup 매실청
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Ha Bongg Jeong Maesil Plum Extract, 23.64 fl. oz.
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100% Pure Raw & Unfiltered Honey - Kosher Certified
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Truvia Natural Stevia Sweetener Packets
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CJ Beksul Beef Bone Broth Soup Concentrate (2-Pack)
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bibigo Korean Beef Bone Broth Soup 17.6 oz (Beef Bone Soup, 3-Pack)
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CJ Hetbahn Cooked White Rice, Gluten-Free, Vegan
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🌶4.5 Liter Kimchi Container was used in today's video:
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Crazy Korean Cooking Premium Kimchi, Sauerkraut Fermentation and Storage Container with Inner Vacuum Lid (1.3 Gal (5.2L))
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Premium Kimchi, Sauerkraut Container Probiotic Fermentation with Inner Vacuum Lid (Earthenware Green, 1.9 gal/ 7.4L)
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Stainless Steel 101oz(3L)Rectangular Seal Kimchi Food Leakproof Airtight Storage Container
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Stainless Steel Food Storage Containers 304 New Clips - Leak-Proof, Airtight, Smell-Proof - Perfect For Camping Trips, Lunches, Leftovers, Soups, Salads & More (Set of 3)
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Mamison Quality Kitchen Rubber Gloves (2 Pack) (M)
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VitaMix 5200 Blender Professional Grade (64 oz Container)
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VitaMix Certified Refurbished (2 Speed Blender)
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All-Clad 4204 with loop Stainless Steel Tri-Ply Bonded Dishwasher Safe Sauce Pan with Loop Helper Handle and Lid Cookware, 4-Quart
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OXO Good Grips 11-Inch Better Silicone Balloon Whisk
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STAR-TOP Handmade Jujube Tree Wooden Korean dinnerware combinations Utensil,Spoons and Chopsticks
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Wusthof Classic 8-Inch Chef's Knife
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Wüsthof Twelve Piece Block Set
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SHOPPING FOR NAPA CABBAGE/BaeChu/배추 :
The size of the napa cabbage is less important. Look for cabbages that feel dense and "heavy." Ideally, you want to buy a napa cabbage that is compact with lots of leaves. So the weight of your cabbage is definitely more important than its size.
SHOPPING FOR KOREAN RADISH/Mu/무:
Look for radishes that are wide, stumpy, heavy, and firm to touch. If using fat and wide radish, use about 2.5"to cut into sticks. If using a "skinny" narrow radish, use about 3.5" to cut into sticks.
Lay the cabbage on its side. Starting at the middle, side part of the cabbage, cut it down the middle, towards the root end. Don't cut the leafy part of the cabbage with your knife. Using both hands, split open the cabbage from the root end, all the way to the leafy ends.
Repeat the process by cutting the halves of the cabbage down the middle, yielding you 4 quarter-cut cabbage. Gently slice a thin layer of the root end to remove any discoloration. Using your hands, gently pull off the inner yellow leave at the core of the cabbage (as shown in the video). Any leaves shorter than 4 inches, remove and save in a bowl to make Fresh Kimchi (Geot-Jeori 겉절이)
For Sliced Kimchi: Same cutting process as above. Cut off the root ends and discard them. Then cut the leaves into 1 to 1.5 inch in length.
The purpose of salt brining the cabbage leaves is to deflate/soften the firmness of the leaves while enhancing the taste of the cabbage with light penetration of salt. Only use coarse salt. And the salt also sterilizes the leaves.
Fast Method: (MUST-USE COARSE SALT) Starting with the last/biggest leaf in the back, add a small pinch/less than 1 Tsp (as shown in the video) to the firm part of each leaf. For those leaves that are extra big, add more salt. Do not sprinkle salt to the leafy part of the leaves. Repeat the process until each leaf is sprinkled with salt. Using a big-wide mixing bowl, lay the cabbage with the inner core facing up. Using less than 1/2 cup of room temperature water, sprinkle the water on the leaves with your fingers. For Sliced Kimchi, sprinkle only half of the salt and hand toss the slices. Then sprinkle the rest of the salt on top. Sprinkle the half cup of water on top.
In about 3 to 4 hours, your cabbage should be ready. ( About halfway, gently move and toss the cabbage around the bowl.)
Recommended Method/Slower Brining Process: Repeat the salting process above. In a large bowl add some salt and room temperature water so that the water tastes mildly salty. Pour this saltwater on the leaves. (TIP: You want to add just enough water so that the leaves are NOT submerged in water. Just below to the top of the leaves in your mixing bowl.) Let the cabbage sit in this liquid for 10 to 12 hours or overnight. Same method for Sliced Kimchi. (About halfway, gently move the cabbage around the bowl.)
How To Test If Your Salt Brined Cabbage Is Ready: Find the thickest leaf and do a roll test, as shown in the video. The thickest part of the leaf should still be firm but flexible enough to bend without cracking.
Troubleshooting TIPS: So you follow the instructions above and your leaves are still very firm and not passing the test above. This can happen which depends on so many variables (i.e. the temperature of your kitchen, altitude, climate, how fresh the cabbages when you bought it from the store...etc.) Gently drain any water from the cabbage, using a strainer. Put it back in the mixing bowl and add the salt again to each layer of the leaf, as outlined above. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and check on it in an hour. If still firm, let it sit for another 3o minutes to an hour.
RINSING: In a large bowl, fill with water and rinse each leaf, submerged in water, gently rubbing the leaves with your fingers to remove the excess salt (as shown in the video). Then repeat the process again under running water. Gently squeeze the leafy part of the leaves and let it rest in a strainer for good 30 minutes (root end facing up and the leafy part facing down). For Sliced Kimchi, rinse twice in small batches and let it rest in a strainer for 30 minutes.
DRAINING EXCESS WATER: After the cabbages are rinsed, it is important to let the rinsed cabbage leaves drain naturally in a large colander (do not squeeze or press to drain the water) for at least 30 minutes. For Sliced Kimchi, reshuffle the leaves at halfway mark. For Whole/Quartered Kimchi, let the rinsed quartered cabbage drain (with the root end facing up) naturally in a large colander for at least 30 minutes, as shown in the video.
Mix 1/2 cup of flour to 1 cup of water. Whisk well. In a small pot, bring 1 cup of water to boil, then lower to heat to medium-low. Add the flour-water mixture and whisk for 1 to 2 minutes or until it thickens. Transfer the gravy to a mixing bowl and let it cool down to room temperature. For a thicker Kimchi juice consistency, you can use Sweet Rice Flour. You can also use Whole Wheat Flour, but your Kimchi paste will come out a bit deeper in a brownish color, instead of bright red when using White Flour. And using White Flour with yield you a liquidy Kimchi juice. Alternatively, you can use potato gravy (cook a whole potato with water until it is completely dissolved into a gravy consistency liquid). OR you can also use potato flour. It is also very important to cool down the hot starch gravy before using it to make your Kimchi paste. Using hot starch gravy will "cook" the red pepper flakes and turn the color brownish-red.
4. KIMCH PASTE
In a blender, add the garlic, onion, pear, ginger, and 1 ladle of the starch-gravy (cooled to room temperature) and pulse to roughly blend. For the upgrade option, you can also add the fresh squid to the blender.
Pour the blender liquid along with the rest of the starch-gravy to a large mixing bowl. Then all vegetables and ingredients and mix well. Be gentle and mix in a circular motion, as shown in the video. Have a test taste by wrapping a small leaf with a little of the kimchi paste. At this point, everything should taste flaming hot from the rawness of the garlic, onions, ginger, and red pepper flakes. All this flaming rawness will subside as the Kimchi ferments. Right now, you should taste for its saltiness. Is it too bland or too salty? It should not taste sweet. Kimchi is not meant to taste sweet, especially at this point. The sweetness will come naturally as the Kimchi ferments and releases all the natural juices from its cabbage and other vegetables.
For Sliced Kimchi, add the drained cabbage leaves and mix well, gently moving in a circular motion.
For Whole Kimchi, starting with the last leaf in the back, add a small amount (as shown in the video) of the Kimchi paste to the thickest part of the leaf/right by the root. Repeat the process until each layer of the leaves is dressed in this Kimchi paste. Pick up the cabbage and gently coat the exterior with more Kimchi paste. Then fold over the leafy part of the cabbage toward the inner core. Take the last leaf from the back and gently wrap the leafy foldover, as shown in the video.
🥬5. Fresh Kimchi (Geot-jeori 겉절이)
(Save 1/2 cup of the Kimchi paste to make Fresh Kimchi.) This crunchy fresh Kimchi is for immediate consumption. In my family, having geot-jeori was the reward you would get at the end of making Kimchi. It is slightly saltier and sweet in taste compared to your regular Kimchi. Mix the ingredients listed above under the Fresh Kimchi (Geot-jeori 겉절이) ingredient section, plus optional fresh oysters (up to 6 small oysters). Mix well and enjoy it. If there are any wide leaves, cut them down the middle of the core of the leaves. Mix well and enjoy it. Some also like to drizzle some sesame oil on top. This is best enjoyed if consumed right away or 2 to 3 days max.
(Make sure to leave 1" space to the rim, if using a tight container. This extra space is for the kimchi and kimchi liquids to expand, and not spill over the container.)
4.5 Liter Kimchi Container was used in today's video:
CLICK HERE https://amzn.to/3jMuuUe
Sliced Kimchi: In an airtight glass or plastic ware /Kimchi container (some of these Kimchi containers listed above come with vacuum seal option), add the mixed Kimchi, and gently pack it down. Then add a layer of plastic wrap on top and again GENTLY press it down. This gentle press down is to eliminate any air pockets in the container. The purpose of the plastic wrap is to ensure that the moisture is contained within.
Whole Kimchi: Same process as above. Make to use a wide container so that you can lay down the cabbage with the inner core facing up. Best if you can stack in two layers. Add extra Kimchi paste in between the cabbages.
(Especially, during the summer months or if your kitchen is generally "hot" in temperature, cut the kitchen-counter-resting period to half.)
For both Sliced and Whole Kimchi, let Kimchi containers rest on your kitchen counter for 10 to 12 hours, away from the heat and sun. Then place the containers in the refrigerator. If you are in a rush and really want to speed up the fermentation process, leave the Kimchi container out on the kitchen counter for 24 hours and then into the refrigerator after.
Letting your Kimchi sit in the kitchen for days really isn't recommended. The fermentation will peak too quickly, and then you risk the Kimchi tasting bitter and saltier. If you are pressed for time, let the kimchi sit on your kitchen counter for 48 hours maximum, then store it in the refrigerator. In about a week or so, your kimchi should be at its peak ripeness.
If you see the liquid separation during the kitchen-counter-resting period, gently press down on the kimchi to reincorporate the kimchi liquid. This liquid separation is normal, so as not to worry. As the kimchi ferments, all the liquids will ferment together, resulting in delicious and highly addictive kimchi juice that you can gulp spoonfuls of, and cook with...:-)
How tangy or fresh-tasting you prefer your kimchi is very personal. Personally, I wait for at least 3 to 4 days (stored in the refrigerator) before I start consuming the Kimchi. Every week, the taste of your Kimchi will change. Usually, I love how Kimchi tastes on day 4 for that "fresh-tasting" taste. My favorite taste period is anywhere between weeks 2 and 3, where the Kimchi tastes sweet, and juicy with just the right about of saltiness. I usually eat my Kimchi, as is, until week 5 or 6. And after that, I recycle the Kimchi to make loads of delicious Kimchi dishes. This is mainly the reason why Korean make extra Kimchi, to budget for extra-fermented Kimchi so it can be turned into so many Kimchi dishes. The classics are Kimchi Fried Rice, Kimchi Mandu/Dumplings and of course Kimchi Stew...YUM! Getting so hungry thinking about these dishes.
To give it extra TLC, every two weeks, restack/rotate your Kimchi, so the bottom portion is moved up to the top and vice versa. (DO NOT PRESS DOWN ON THE KIMCHI...🙅🏻♀️🙅🏻♀️🙅🏻♀️) Always keep your Kimchi covered with a sheet of plastic wrap inside the kimchi container. It is like a blanket to keep the moisture as closely contained as possible.
🥬KIMCHI REFRIGERATORS: Just like "wine refrigerators for kimchi"
Slowly fermenting your Kimchi and keeping it at a cool and controlled temperature is ideal. You may already know but there is such thing as Kimchi Refrigerators. Yup, just like wine refrigerators, Koreans have Kimchi refrigerators. These are the modern refrigeration replacement of how Kimchi used to stored in clay pot/onngi/옹기 buried in the ground. My grandmother used to store Kimchi in huge onngi pots buried on the shaded part of the yard and it is a lot of work to clean it. I remember my uncles cleaning the onngi pot for her and it would turn out to be a half day's worth of work.
If you are planning on fermenting your kimchi in onngi, it needs to be buried in the ground to hold its cool temperature or find an area that is shaded and at cool temperature, never in direct sunlight.
Korean Kimchi Refrigerators/like "wine refrigerators for kimchi"
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How To Make EASY Kimchi
Video & Written AUTHENTIC Kimchi Recipe; EASY-To-Follow Kimchi Recipe with CLEAR INSTRUCTIONS. Includes Kimchi Fermentation & Storage TIPS; Debunking misinformed Kimchi making myths. Napa Cabbage Kimchi, Korean Traditional Kimchi, 배추김치 레시피, 막김치, 포기김치, 김장김치, 통배추김치, 김치 만들기, 김치 담그는법, 영어로 キムチのレシピ, Korean Kimchi, Korean Food