The procedure for this quick kimchi is much less labor-intensive than the traditional whole head method, and takes less time to ferment, making it ideal for first time kimchi-makers. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)

The procedure for this quick kimchi is much less labor-intensive than the traditional whole head method, and takes less time to ferment, making it ideal for first time kimchi-makers. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)

Garden fail — but kitchen win nonetheless

This quick kimchi technique is less labor-intensive than the traditional method

I had high hopes for the cabbages in my garden this year. They were lush and bright and growing rapidly, protected against wildlife by chicken wire and fish net, diligently watered, weeded and loved with my dream in mind: a large batch of my own kimchi made from seed to table.

Yet, despite my best efforts, I came out one evening to find my cabbages had sprouted flowers and had stalks shooting up from their centers, and so would certainly not become the tightly packed heads with which the best kimchi is made.

A few days later and with deep disappointment I skuttled under the fish net, gently pulled them from the earth, and stacked them in my son’s kiddie pool. I was then dismayed to find my efforts to prevent it had done nothing to stop the invasion of slugs now residing in my kimchi.

I contemplated offering the whole bunch to the compost, but the months of nurturing those green babes couldn’t be forgotten, so I dutifully searched through each head and found the leaves I could salvage to make my kimchi anyway.

The procedure for this quick kimchi is much less labor-intensive than the traditional whole head method, and takes less time to ferment, making it ideal for first-time kimchi-makers.

Just like with my radish kimchi, the Korean red pepper flakes should not be substituted. The specific variety of pepper has a distinct flavor that cannot be replicated.

Kimchi can be used in soups and stews, pancakes, fried rice, and, of course, as a side dish for rice or noodles. I love it straight from the jar.

Ingredients:

1 head napa cabbage (about 1 pound)

1 tablespoon kosher salt

1 cup water

1/4 cup shredded carrot

2 teaspoons sweet rice flour (or all-purpose)

1 teaspoon sugar

1/3 cup Korean red pepper flakes

1 tablespoon fish sauce

3 garlic cloves finely minced

1 teaspoon minced ginger

¼ cup onion, finely minced

2 green onions, sliced

2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds

Directions:

Sanitize a 2-quart glass mason jar and lid.

Thoroughly wash the cabbages, cut into bite-sized pieces, and move to a very large mixing bowl.

Add ½ cup water and sprinkle the salt over the cabbage. Mix well to evenly salt the leaves.

Allow the cabbages to rest for 30 minutes, tossing every 10 minutes, making sure to wet all the leaves with each toss.

While the cabbage is salting, simmer ½ cup water and the rice flour in a small saucepan for 5 minutes, stirring often, until it thickens. Allow it to cool.

Add the red pepper powder and sugar and stir until smooth.

Add in the fish sauce, garlic, ginger, onion, green onion and carrot and toss until it forms a loose paste.

At the end of the 30 minutes, rinse the cabbage well in lots of very cold water and drain.

Use gloved hands to mix in the seasoning paste. Take your time and be thorough. Do not skip the gloves or your hands will burn for days.

Toss in the sesame seeds at the very end.

Transfer to your jar and allow to sit at room temperature for 2 hours to begin fermenting before moving into the refrigerator. Do not tighten the lid until the next day to prevent the buildup of gasses.

Enjoy for up to a month, but if you see mold, or if the kimchi smells rotten, it must be thrown out.

More in Life

Virginia Walters (Courtesy photo)
Life in the Pedestrian Lane: This and that

Organizations are running out of people to keep them going

This Al Hershberger photo of his good friend Hedley Parsons was taken in Germany in 1945, after World War II had ended. Parsons and Hershberger came to Alaska together a few years later, and in 2010, when Parsons was interviewed for this story, he may have been the last person living who had actually attended George Dudley’s messy funeral
This parting was not sweet sorrow — Part 2

The funeral was scheduled for 2 p.m. on May 5, and spring break-up was in full, sloppy bloom at the Kenai Cemetery

Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion
A copy of “People, Paths, and Places: The Frontier History of Moose Pass, Alaska” stands in sunlight in Soldotna on Friday.
Off the Shelf: Community history project a colorful portrait of hometown

The book features the work of students at Moose Pass School and integrates further stories pulled from a community newspaper

The Anchorage Bowl Chamber Orchestra performs. (Photo courtesy Anchorage Bowl Chamber Orchestra)
Anchorage orchestra group to visit Kenai Peninsula for 10th annual tour

Anchorage Bowl Chamber Orchestra will play four shows from May 30 to June 2

File
Minister’s Message: Boasting only in Christ and the Cross

The Reverend Billy Graham advised every president since Truman during his lifetime

Corn cheese is served alongside grilled beef, kimchi and lettuce. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
Planning barbecue with all the bells and whistles

Expect kimchi, lots of side dishes, piles of rice, marinated meat for the flame and cold fruit for dessert

Noa (voiced by Owen Teague) in 20th Century Studios’ “Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes.” (Photo courtesy of 20th Century Studios)
On the Screen: New ‘Planet of the Apes’ expands, brings new ideas to franchise universe

“Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes” tells a story that feels more rooted in fantasy than the post-apocalypse vibe of its predecessors

A mural depicting imagery and iconography of Kenai brightens the entryway of the Walmart in Kenai, Alaska, on Wednesday, May 15, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
‘Visible art raises people’s spirits’

Local artist’s mural introduced as part of Walmart renovations

Former North Kenai resident George Coe Dudley, seen here during the winter of 1950-51, was a hard-drinking man. His messy funeral in 1967 in Kenai echoed his lifestyle. (Photo courtesy of Al Hershberger)
This parting was not sweet sorrow — Part 1

“Dudley was an easy-going, laid-back sort of guy, always laughing and joking, as well as hard drinking.”

Most Read