A standard recipe to be used as a building block, developed with help from my friend and master kimchi maker Giles Lyon.
It is so easy to play around with! Use soy sauce and miso instead of fish sauce and salted shrimp, in order to create a vegetarian version. Or substitute some of the vegetables: Make it with bok choi and radish, for example, or use carrots or rutabagas or celery root instead of daikon. —Sara Jenkins
Combine 1 1/2 cups salt to 2 gallons of water to make a brine.
Cut each napa cabbage in half, core, and quarter—or slice into 1-inch ribbons.
Slice the daikon, carrot, and watermelon radish into sticks on a mandolin (using the medium blade).
Place all vegetables in a large bowl, cover completely with brine, and weight down the vegetables with a plate to keep everything submerged. Cover with a clean dish towel and let the vegetables sit overnight in the brine at room temperature.
Meanwhile, make the chili paste by puréeing all ingredients to a rough paste in a food processor.
After your vegetables have brined overnight, drain the vegetables and rinse them thoroughly.
Mix the brined vegetables with the chili paste and the scallions. Crumble the bonito flakes by hand and mix them in as well. Pack the mixture into a sterilized gallon-sized clear container. Set a weight (like a stone or a heavy bowl) on top of the vegetables, pressing down slightly.
Cover the jar with a dish cloth and leave in at room temperature for at least 2 days.
After 2 days, taste the kimchi. If it's not funky enough, let it sit for another day and taste again. If it is funky enough, you can transfer it to smaller glass jars if you like. Stores in the refrigerator.