I love kimchi and realize how important fermented foods are in our diet. Fermented foods were a staple in every kitchen larder until very recently and now they are making a comeback. If you find traditional sauerkraut unappealing, try kimchi – it has much more flavor.
If you are struggling to find mooli radish, Riverford is selling it at the moment!
1 white cabbage, finely shredded
1 large carrot, cut lengthways and then sliced into thin half moons
8-10 radishes or some sliced mooli radish, also in thin half moons
2 inch piece of fresh ginger, finely grated
1 bulb of garlic, cloves separated and crushed
2-6 large red chillis, finely chopped
1 tbsp salt
Prepare everything as above, aiming for the thinnest slices you can manage. Once it’s all chopped and grated, you can begin the preparation, which is the same as for sauerkraut.
Get a large glass jar and begin to layer the ingredients. You don’t have to be too careful, just try to make sure they’re going into the jar a bit mixed up – For instance, a handful of cabbage, some carrot, some radish, bit of garlic, chilli and ginger, big pinch of salt, then start again.
Every now and then take a wooden spoon, rolling pin (or your hand if it fits in the jar) and firmly press/pound the ingredients down into the jar. This ‘bruises’ them and helps them to release their juices.
Once you’re finished, get a smaller jar (a jam jar, perhaps) that will fit inside the neck of the big jar. Fill the small jar with water and screw on the lid, and put it on top of the cabbage mixture to act as a weight. Now cover the big jar with a tea towel to keep dust and flies out.
That’s it – you’re done. Now you just put the jar somewhere warm, and wait for fermentation to begin.
After 24 hours you’ll find that liquid has appeared in the jar. It’s the juice from the veg, which has been drawn out by the salt. MAKE SURE that it completely covers all the veg. If not, top up with water. (The advantage of using radish is that it has lots of juice, so topping up is unlikely) You must make sure that no veg is sticking out the top, or it will rot.
After another 24 hours or so you should see that bubbles are beginning to rise in the brine. This means fermentation has begun. Check the jar daily to make sure that the veg is submerged, and have a taste. You can leave it anything from just a couple of days to a couple of weeks. The flavour will get more sour the longer it ferments, and the health benefits will get greater.
When it reaches a stage you like, decant into smaller jars and move to the fridge (again, making sure that all the veg is below the liquid in each jar – top up if necessary) Once in the fridge fermentation is halted, and it will keep for many months, probably years.
Use as a pickle/condiment with salads, cold meat, curries, sandwiches etc.
This recipe is adapted from Neil Kingham.