If cabbage ever had to claim its fame, it would be for Kimchi. A spicy Korean fermented pickle with a punchy sour flavour to tickle your giblets and enough tartness to make you sassy mouth, the Kimchi has a fanatic global following which has been amplified by its status as healthy gut food. It is no secret that fermented food is good for you. The good bacteria that are the hallmark of fermented foods not only heal your gut (the largest organ in your body and a crucial one to your overall health and well being), they aid in digestion, weight loss and balancing the acids in your stomach. This version of kimchi is made vegan by the use of dried porcini mushroom and seaweed for the wonderfully addictive umami flavour. —Sneh Roy | Cook Republic
Napa cabbage (wombok/wong bok/Chinese leaf/asian cabbage) quartered lengthways and sliced into 2 inch pieces
Place chopped cabbage, water and salt in a super large bowl. Press down on the cabbage to make sure it is submerged under the salted water. Cover with cling wrap (put some weight on top if you have to). Soak overnight or at least 8 hours.
Prepare all the other ingredients and place them in a small bowl. Unwrap the cabbage bowl and drain all the water. Remove the cabbage into separate super large bowl. Add the spice and radish mix to the cabbage and mix gently with your hands until the cabbage is thoroughly coated with the spices. -
Spoon the cabbage mix and any liquid that has accumulated in a large 5 litre glass jar with a tight lid. (I used a 5 litre Fido jar with a flip top suction lid). Secure the lid tightly and place the jar in a quiet corner of your kitchen. Within the first half an hour, you will notice the cabbage settling down as it sweats and more liquid is released. An hour later, the level of the cabbage would have sunk further. Leave the jar to rest undisturbed in this spot for 48 hours. During this time, you will notice that the empty space in the jar is starting to get cloudy. This is the beautiful fermentation gases brewing and working their magic to create a tart kimchi.
After the 48 hours have passed, your kimchi is ready to eat. If you desire a stronger tasting kimchi, rest the jar for another day or two. Once you are satisfied with the taste, spoon the kimchi in all it’s glory into a large 3 litre jar or three 1 litre jars and store in the fridge for up to 3 or 4 weeks.
Note - Korean pepper powder also known as Kochugaru or Gochugaru is a specialty spice mix that can be sourced from your local Asian supermarket. It is a mix often made up of coarsely ground Korean red pepper and salt. It can be substituted by grinding 3 tablespoons red chilli flakes, 1 tablespoon smoked paprika and 1 teaspoon salt in a mortar and pestle. A pinch of cayenne pepper can be added to this mix for extra heat.