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Recipe: Napa Cabbage Kimchi
While Kimchi can be made from any vegetable (and is), it’s likely what you first came across is baechu kimchi. It’s the funky, red-hot, napa cabbage and daikon radish version faithfully served up alongside nearly all Korean meals and worked into burgers, fried chicken sandwiches, tacos and all sorts of kimchi-loving Korean cross-over dishes.
The fiery-red color and heat comes from gochugaru, a coarsely-ground Korean chili powder, and its funky flavors comes from garlic, ginger, fish sauce and the process of lacto-fermentation, which both preserves the vegetables and adds an intense pickle-like tang.
When traditionally making kimchi, each cabbage leaf is treated and carefully stuffed with kimchi paste before being placed in a fermenter and stored. When we’re making it, we often opt for the quicker mak style kimchi (which translates to rough or careless). With mak style, the cabbage is cut into larger pieces, brined and tossed with kimchi paste before fermentation.
This method saves lots of time; both when making it, and when eating it (since it’s already in perfect bite-sized pieces). But most of all, it makes it easier to keep your fridge stocked with kimchi.