Kimchee is probiotic fermented food which is exceptionally good for digestion and for avoiding constipation, but don’t overdo it unless you’re used to it–trust me on this one. Fermented vegetables are also a component of the Wahls Protocol which I am adopting to heal, hopefully, my remaining health issues.
This is how I make paleo kimchee (preparation time 5 hours; ~1 hour labour):
- Peel one daikon radish. Cut into small cubes (~3/4 inch sides). Salt (more salt makes end product more salty).
- Separate and wash leaves of one Napa cabbage. Salt* leaves and let stand for 4 hours.
- Mince in small food processor fresh peeled ginger (ca. 1/4 or more if you like ginger), add to salted daikon cubes;
- Mince garlic (at least one full bulb peeled), add to diakon cubes
- Add one or two bunches of green/spring onions cut 1/4 inch pieces.
- Add fresh red chilis or dried red chili flakes–3-9 tablespoons, depending on tolerance and preference of spiciness.
- Rinse* salted Napa leaves and cut lengthwise into one inch pieces. Mix with salted daikon cubes.
Let sit 7-10 days in refrigerator or cold area (do not let freeze). A cupboard in England is usually sufficiently cold but the fermentation will smell very powerful and so an entry way or garage is to be preferred. A separate fridge is good because the fermentation gasses can leech into other foods, especially mild flavored foods like butter. Yuck. Traditionally, Koreans buried their kimchee in large pots. This protected it from freezing and from marauders.
*Salt breaks down the cell membranes of cabbage and begins the fermentation process. Rinsing the salt off the leaves decreases the saltiness of the end product. Saltiness is a question of taste–South Korean kimchee is saltier because it was traditionally needed as a preservative in the warmer Southern climate. My grandmother was from the North and thus rinsing salt is a part of the recipe. We also put kimchee in mondu, a Northern custom. She emigrated from Korean to Hawaii in 1905 at the age of three.
Commercial kimchee has added sugar and starch. Hence, this is a paleo kimchee recipe.