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Archive for July 11th, 2010


Posted by Avital Pinnick on July 11, 2010


A couple weeks ago I saw the biggest Chinese cabbage that I’ve seen years, and it was in our local minimarket. Faster than you can say “kimchee craving,” I bought the head for a mere 5 shekels. Now I’m sorry I didn’t photograph the cabbage before I cut it up.

I did remember to photograph it just after I “put up” kimchee, before it starts to look like swamp-in-a-jar.

And here’s the recipe, adapted from Madhur Jaffrey’s apparently out-of-print book, Eastern Vegetarian Cooking.


1 kg (2.2 pounds) Chinese cabbage
3 tbs salt
2 tbs minced ginger
1 1/2 tbs minced garlic
5 green onions, thinly sliced
1 tbs cayenne pepper
1 tbs sugar

Wash and slice the cabbage into 3/4″ pieces. Dissolve the salt in 1 1/2 liters of water. Pour over the cabbage in a large bowl. There should be enough salt water to cover. If you need more liquid, dissolve 1 tbs salt in .5 liter water and add. Weight down with a glass plate and a cup. Leave for 12 hours, turning the cabbage occasionally. The cabbage will gradually wilt, so that the liquid covers the cabbage.

Put the ginger, garlic, cayenne pepper, and sugar in another large bowl. Mix well.
Take the cabbage out of its soaking liquid with a slotted spoon (save the liquid) and put it in the bowl with the seasonings. Mix well.

Put this cabbage mixture into a 2 liter jar or crock. Pour enough salt water over it to cover the cabbage, leaving 1 inch of empty space at the top of the jar. Cover loosely with a clean cloth and set aside for 3 to 7 days. In the summer, fermentation takes place much faster. Taste the pickle after 3 days to check on the sourness. When it is done to your liking, cover the jar with a non-metallic lid and refrigerate.
To serve, remove about 1/4 cup per person of the kimchee solids. The liquid is left behind in the jar and may be used to flavour stews and soups.

One additional hint: some people find the odour of fermenting cabbage objectionable, so it’s a good idea to find another room to store it until it’s ready to be refrigerated.

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