Mak Kimchi

By • January 9, 2013 • 15 Comments

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Author Notes: In this recipe for Mak Kimchi, “Mak” which means simple, common or everyday in Korean, features a quick dry salt brine that calls for just enough salt to initiate fermentation and season the vegetables. A light rinse ensures that a balance of sweetness and salinity of the cabbage is achieved. Within three days of fermentation, you’ll have a homemade batch of crunchy, spicy and tangy kimchi whose flavors will develop in complexity as it continues to age. Lauryn Chun

Makes 1 jar

  • 1 head (1.5 to 2 pounds) napa cabbage or green cabbage, cut into 2-by-1-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons Kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon peeled, finely grated fresh ginger
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 3 tablespoons Korean chile pepper flakes (gochugaru)
  • 4 green onions, green parts only, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup yellow onion, thinly sliced
  1. In a large bowl, combine the cabbage with the salt and set aside for about 50 minutes. Drain the liquid and very lightly rinse the cabbage just enough to remove any traces of salt. Drain the cabbage completely in a colander for about 10-15 minutes.
  2. Mix garlic, ginger, fish sauce, and sugar until a paste forms. Mix in the chile pepper flakes and let the paste combine for 15 minutes.
  3. In a large bowl, mix together the green onions, yellow onions, the seasoning paste, and the cabbage until combined thoroughly making sure the seasoning paste is distributed evenly. Pack the mixture tightly into a quart size glass container pressing down as you fill the container. Add 1/4 cup water to the mixing bowl, and swirl the water around to collect the remaining seasoning paste. Add the water to the container, cover tightly, and set aside for 3 days at room temperature. The cabbage will expand as it ferments, so be sure to place the jar on a plate or in a bowl to catch the overflow. Refrigerate and consume within 6 months to a year. Tip: You can check the fermentation by opening the lid; you should see some bubbling juices and taste the tanginess of the freshly pickled cabbage. It will keep fermenting slowly in the jar for up to 6 months. The flavor will evolve and change with time—and a steady cold temperature will ensure an even, slow fermentation.
Jump to Comments (15)

Comments (15) Questions (1)

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over 1 year ago weshook

I made this a couple months ago and I love having it in my refrigerator. Lately, one of my favorite ways of eating it is to combine it with some broth and leftover rice (and sometimes some other vegetables) and heat it up for a quick soup. Yum!

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over 1 year ago Lauryn Chun

Wonderful and versatile, kimchi does go with everything. We served some with lasagne which was a perfect, tangy flavor booster. A new a take on a side dish to lasagne!

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almost 2 years ago schiugriffin

We travel to Hawaii, every fall and have local friends on the Islands, on our last trip one of our friends made Kimchi fried rice. It was amazing, simple, easy and very clean dish. It consisted of rice, fresh veggies, meat or fish and diced Kimchi.

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almost 2 years ago schiugriffin

Great kimchi, I added more chilli to our batch. Can't believe how much we go through of it now

154267_chun_lauryn

almost 2 years ago Lauryn Chun

Fantastic! Chile flakes vary in heat so ok to adjust accordingly to your taste. It's all about adjusting and experimenting-making it your own signature recipe. Let us know what new ways you use kimchi & favorite dishes with kimchi.

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almost 2 years ago Lauryn Chun

In step 3, after you have mixed the brined cabbage with seasoning thoroughly, pack kimchi tightly in a quart size jar, adding the remaining seasoning. Place the lid on the jar (not a seal since this is not canning) by screwing it or a clamp style hermetic jar. Tip: you can also add a piece of plastic wrap on top if you are worried about the top layer exposure to oxygen but not necessary.

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almost 2 years ago Lauryn Chun

A quart size jar.

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almost 2 years ago uhma

What sized jar?

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almost 2 years ago Brenda

What effect does leaving out the fish sauce have?

154267_chun_lauryn

almost 2 years ago Lauryn Chun

Fish sauce adds an umami component, back notes of savory flavors that modify the high acidity and tanginess of fermentation. Use of proteins such as shrimp paste, fish sauce, and stocks provide your kimchi seasoning with base of flavors. Think about when you add anchovy paste to tomato sauce vs. only tomatoes, garlic and basil. The tanginess and back notes of flavor are distinctively different.

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almost 2 years ago foodfighter

most asian markets will have the korean chili pepper. you could try to order online at: http://www.hmart.com/shopnow...

When you put the kimchi in the jar do you seal it completely?

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almost 2 years ago Curteslee

When you put the Kimchi in the jar do you seal it completely?

Imag1003

almost 2 years ago Carmas

I'm into this recipe, and I'd also be curious if you could recommend any "Online" avenue's for the gochugaru?

154267_chun_lauryn

almost 2 years ago Lauryn Chun

Gochugaru is available on our Food52 Shop page as well as on our website and search online for Korean grocery online shops. Bear in mind that quality of chile flakes is important and all vary so best to stick with highest quality you can find.

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almost 2 years ago stephanieRD

wow I really want to try making this! I'm a little fuzzy on where to purchase gochugaru though... ;/