Ingredients (for 1 quart / 1 liter)
1 pound chinese cabbage ( napa or bok chai)
1 daikon radish or a few red radishes
1 to 2 carrots
1 to 2 onions / and or leeks / or a few scallions and / or shallots (or more)
3 to 4 cloves of garlic (or more)
3 to 4 red chilies (or more) depending on how hot peppery you like food, or any form of hot pepper, fresh, dried, or in a sauce (without chemical preservatives
3 tablespoons (or more) fresh grated gingerroot
1. Mix a brine of about 4 cups 1 liter) of water and 4 tablespoons of salt. Stir well to thoroughly dissolve salt. The brine should taste good and salty.
2. Coarsely chop the cabbage, slice the radish and carrots, and let the vegetables soak in the brine, covered by a plate or other weight: to keep the vegetables submergered until soft, a few hours or overnight. Add other vegetables to the brine, such as snow peas, seaweeds, Jerusalem artichokes, or anything else you like
3. Prepare spices: Grate the ginger: chop the garlic and onion; remove seeds from the chilies and chop or crush, or throw in whole.
Kimchi can absorb a lot of spice. Experiment with quantities and don’t worry too much about them. Mix spices into a paste.
4. Drain brine off vegetables, reserving brine, to taste decidedly salty, but not unpleasantly so. If they are too salty, rinse them. If you cannot taste salt, sprinkle with a couple of teaspoons salt and mix
5. Mix the vegetables with the ginger-chili-onion-garlic paste. Mix everything together and stuff it into a clean quart-size (liter) 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. Weight the vegetables down with a smaller jar, or a zip-lock bag filled with some brine, or if you think you can remember to check the kimchi every day, you can just use your (clean) fingers to push the vegetables back under the brine. I myself like the tactile involvement of this method, and I especially enjoy tasting the kimchi by licking my fingers after I do this. Either way, cover the jar to keep out dust and flies.
6. Ferment in your kitchen or other warm place. Taste the Kimchi every day.
After a week of fermentation, when it tastes ripe, move it to the refrigerator, and alternative and more traditional method is to ferment kimchi more slowly and with more salt in a cool spot, such as a hole in the ground, or a cellar or other cool place.
7. When you've got your Kimchi ready, put it on some bread or toast (homemade is best!) with some peanut butter, and you've got a great sammie!