This and That

Random bits of my life


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.


2 Responses to “Kimchee”

  1. aswirly said

    OH!!! mmmmmmm…. I have a weakness for Kimchee!! I LOVE It. I admit that when I have it I have NO self control and usually eat the whole jar. 1/4 cup is just not enough ;)Yours looks delicious and thanks for providing the recipe. I’m not sure I could make it at home though. Our place is small and the smell will drive my hubby crazy 😉

    • Avital Pinnick said

      I did that once, years ago. My flatmate wandered into the kitchen, looked at the jar, and said, “Are you pregnant?”:-) As for the smell, could you make it when he’s gone for a few days? Or store it at a friend’s place?

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