Print

Easy Kimchi using Blender

Easy Kimchi recipe using the blender! This easy and simple recipe is also lighter and more refreshing than most Kimchis - exactly like the Northern Korean style Kimjang Kimchi, I ate at home growing up. 
Course Kimchi
Cuisine Korean
Keyword cucumber pickles, dried vegetables, easy and simple, fermented, kimjang, winter
KoreanCategory Kimchi (김치)
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Resting Time 6 hours
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 96 servings
Calories 4kcal
Author JinJoo Lee

Ingredients

  • 5 each napa cabbage (4-4.5 lb each) (5 cabbages total about 20 to 22 lbs)
  • 1 each Korean radish cut into disks (optional)

Brine

  • 4.5 quarts water
  • 3 cups Korean sea salt cheonilyeom (with bittern removed)

Seasoning Paste

    For Blender

    • 10 oz Korean radish
    • 0.5 each yellow onion peeled and cut into chunks
    • 0.5 each Korean pear peeled and cut into chunks
    • 2 oz garlic cloves peeled
    • 0.4 oz ginger peeled
    • 0.5 each persimmon peeled and seeded
    • 0.5 Tbsp saewoojeot (Korean fermented shrimps)
    • 1/2 cup Kkanari Aekjeot (까나리액젓) Fermented Sand Lance sauce

    Add to blended seasoning

    • 10 Tbsp sweet rice flour paste
    • 1 cup Gochukauru (Red Chili Pepper Powder)
    • 1 Tbsp sugar
    • 1/2 Tbsp sea salt (cheonilyeom)

    Instructions

    Prepare Cabbages and Radish

    • Cut the root end (head) of each napa cabbage and save the outer big green leaves that fall away.
    • Cut cabbage in half (lengthwise) or in quarters for bigger cabbages. TIP - don't try to cut all the way, just cut the top 2 inches or so and then use your hands to tear them apart into two pieces. This way, you end up with very little bits of scraps because you are not blinding cutting all the leaves but letting the leaves choose which side they end up. See video.
    • In a large bowl big enough to hold ALL the cabbages, add the cut cabbages from 2.  For each cabbage, sprinkle salt in between every other layer of leaves. Use about 3~5 Tbs salt for one whole cabbage (2 to 4 cut pieces). See video.
    • Repeat steps 2-3 until you cut all the cabbages and sprinkle salt in between leaves.
    • Rinse and clean off any dirt off the radish. Keeping the skin on, cut radish into 1/2 inch thick slices. Radish is OPTIONAL.

    Make Brine

    • Make brine by mixing Solar Sea Salt and water in 9 cup water to 1.5 cup salt ratio. For example, for 5~6 cabbages (15~17 lbs), mix 3 cups salt to 18 cups water.

    Pickle cabbages and radishes in Brine

    • Pour brine onto cabbages. Brine should barely or fully cover the cabbages. It may feel like there's not enough brine but as long as when you push the cabbages down (because they will be floating) and cabbages can be fully immersed, then it will be enough. Because the cabbages will shrink as they are pickled and the brine will soon be more than enough. If you are adding radish, you should pickle them together in brine with cabbages.
    • Let cabbages sit in brine, at room temp for 3~4 hrs. Then turn all cabbages over and also push cabbages that were on top to the bottom and vice versa. Basically you want to turn everything upside down so that the cabbages get an equal chance to be fully soaked in the brine. Let it pickle for 3~4 more hours (6~7 hrs total). Depending on the weather, in colder winter weather, you may need to pickle longer. See Chef's Tips above.
    • Do a 'bend' test to see if cabbages are fully pickled. Bend the thickest part of the white flesh part, close to the head and if it bends without breaking and feels flexible then it's done. Rinse the cabbages either in running water or in a large bowl (but change water after first rinse). Stack them in a large dish rack or somewhere the water can drain away. Repeat 2 more times for a total of 3 rinses. Let it drain and set aside.

    Sweet Rice Flour Paste

    • In a pot, mix 1 cup cold water and 3 Tbs sweet rice flour (mochiko flour) with a whisk.
    • Turn on heat to medium and keep whisking (about 30 seconds to 1 min) until it becomes thick and bubbling. Lower heat to medium-low and whisk for another 30 seconds or so while it keeps bubbling and fully cooked. Let it cool.

    Make Kimchi Seasoning paste in the Blender (while cabbages are in brine)

    • In a Blender, add following and blend until smooth:
      Korean radish, Asian pear, yellow onion, garlic cloves, ginger, saewoojeot, kkanri aekjeot (sand lance fish sauce), persimmon
    • Pour out blended mix from 2 into a bowl. Add sweet rice flour paste, Korean red chili powder (gochukaru), sugar and sea salt. Mix with whisk and taste. Add more red chili powder if you want it to be more spicy, but I hope you try my recipe the way it is first and see how delightful this kind of lighter and fresher Kimchi is.

    Coat cabbages with kimchi seasoning paste

    • Put on some plastic gloves!! In a large mixing bowl or container or a casserole dish (in my case) and put one piece of pickled cabbage (cut side up) and then put a scoop of the seasoning paste from 3 on top of cabbage.
    • With your hands, coat the top - cut side of cabbage with the seasoning.
    • Then add another scoop of the paste on the side. With one hand A, grab up all the cabbage except the outermost layer of leaves. With the other hand B, grab a little bit of the paste and coat the leaves, starting from the root end (thick white part) to the edge of the leaves. When fully coated, your hand A should let go of the next layer of leaves - and then you repeat coating in between layers with the seasoning paste. NOTE - you don't HAVE to coat in between every layer. Insert seasoning maybe every 2-3 layer of leaves. So on the average, I insert and coat seasoning maybe 3-4 times per piece of cabbage.
    • Add more seasoning and coat the outer and all around the outside of the cabbage and then wrap it up with the outermost leaf. 
    • Coat each cabbage with the seasoning paste and transfer them to your Kimchi jar or in my case, I used the plastic Kimchi container that came with my Kimchi refrigerator. Pack them tightly in the container and press them down so there's little gap between cabbages.
    • Coat the large single leaves with seasoning paste and cover kimchi with leaves.

    Make and pour Kimchi liquid

    • Add water (about 2 cups) and rinse the empty seasoning bowl. Add 1/2 Tbsp sea salt and mix.
    • Pour rinsed and salted liquid onto the Kimchi container. Press everything down one last time to make sure everything is even.

    Ripen Kimchi

    • Leave Kimchi at room temperature for 2 days at 68~70°F. (For summer 80° and over, leave 1 day at room temp and for winter - lower than 65°F - you may even need to leave it for 3 days. See my No Crazy Kimchi post to learn how to ripen properly.
    • Once Kimchi smells and tastes like it is just ripened, refrigerate immediately and keep it refrigerated.
    • Ripened Kimchi will keep for weeks and months. They are edible as long as there are no molds that develop on top.

    Notes

    • Size of Cabbages - The cabbages I used here were really large (4 to 4.5 lbs each) but yours may be smaller (2  to 2.5 lbs) so adjust recipe according to the size of your cabbages.
    • NUTRITION FACTS - sodium level - it is very hard for me to accurately calculate the sodium level because the brine is all discarded. 
    • Don't brine cabbages too long, it will become salty, chewy and lose its sweet flavor. 
    • Brine cabbages for 6-7 hrs in summer and 8-10 hrs in cold frigid winter temperatures. 
    • Substitute apples for persimmon
    • Be sure to use Korean Solar Sea Salt with bittern removed. 3 year aged Cheonilyeom 3년 묶은 천일염 is best. 
    • Please try to use Kkanari Aekjeot (까나리 액젓) - Sand Lance Fish Sauce if you can. This is not easily available online but you can certainly buy it at any Korean grocery store. I find that this sauce is milder, smoother, cleaner and less fishy tasting than Myeolchi Aekjeot (멸치 액젓) - Anchovy Fish Sauce and makes a difference in the final outcome. But if you can't find it, substitute Myeolchi Aekjeot and it should be still OK.
    • For extra umami flavor, add fresh chopped shrimp (about 1 large shrimp for 2 cabbages) and a splash of maesil cheong syrup - about 1 Tbs for 3 cabbages.
    • Be sure to fully ripen your Kimchi to enjoy it at its best. Please read my No Crazy Kimchi post to learn how to ripen Kimchi properly.

    Nutrition

    Calories: 4kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Sodium: 264mg | Potassium: 10mg | Vitamin C: 0.8mg | Calcium: 3mg