- Adapted from Wild Fermentation by Sandor Katz
Mix of radishes, (2-4 bunches french breakfast and/or red globe and/or easter egg radishes, maybe 1 or two daikons sliced any way you like)
3 tbsp sea salt
3 tablespoons (or more!) fresh grated gingerroot
3-4 cloves garlic (or more!)
3-4 hot red chilies (or more!), depending on how peppery-hot you like food, or any form of hot pepper, fresh, dried, or in a sauce (without chemical preservatives!)
4-5 scallions or a small purple onion
1. Mix a brine of about 4 cups water and 3 tablespoons salt.
2. Slice daikons and leave the small radishes whole, removing greens and washing. (you could slice them too, or slice some of them – I happen to like seeing them whole when they’re fermenting). Let them soak in the brine. If the roots are fresh and organic, leave the nutritious skins on. Use a plate or other weight to keep the vegetables submerged until soft, a few hours or overnight.
3. Prepare the spices: Grate the ginger; chop the garlic and onion; remove seeds from the chilies and chop or crush, or throw them in whole. Kimchi can absorb a lot of spice. Experiment with quantities and don’t worry too much about them. Mix spices into a paste. I do this in my food processor, I throw in a few inches of ginger root, 5 or so garlic cloves, scallions or onion, and chili paste).
4. Drain brine off vegetables, reserving brine.Taste vegetables for saltiness. You want them to taste decidedly salty, but not unpleasantly so. If they are too salty, rinse them. If you cannot taste salt, sprinkle with a couple of teaspoons of salt and mix.
5. Mix the vegetables with the spice paste. Mix everything together thoroughly and stuff it into a clean quart jar. Pack it tightly into the jar, pressing down until brine rises. Add a little of the reserved vegetable-soaking brine to submerge the vegetables. Weight the vegetables down with a smaller jar, or with a zip-lock bag filled with some brine. Every day, use your (clean!) finger to push the vegetables back under the brine. Cover the jar to keep out dust and flies. I use a cut up piece of an old t-shirt or rag around the top of the jar with a rubber band around it – these keeps out all bugs.
6. Ferment in your kitchen or other warm place. Taste the kimchi every day. After about a week of fermentation, when it tastes ripe, move it to the refrigerator.