This recipe shows you how to make kimchi using the good ole fashioned brining method, as opposed to the dry-salting method that's commonly used to make sauerkraut. We actually use the dry-salting method for our Katz Kimchi, for a few different reasons but in this recipe we're showing you how to make it the more traditional way!
For kimchi the veg is usually roughly chopped and placed in salty water (roughly 3-9% salt) for a few hours before you make the rest of your kimchi. This helps to draw water out of the veg and hardens pectins in it making sure it stays lovely and crisp during fermentation. It also helps to make sure your veg is well salted so that a slighty salty environment is created which selects for the salt tolerant microbes we want to help grow.
There's also no one exactly right way to make kimchi, it's such a versatile ferment and we'd encourage you to get creative once you've got the basics nailed! More common kimchis include the traditional style with fish sauce or shrimp paste, Gochujang (Korean red chilli paste made with gochugaru, fermented soybeans, rice, sugar, salt), water kimchi which is made without chilli, pear kimchi or golden kimchi made with turmeric. Seeds, nuts and other fruit, veg, herbs or spices can be added to create ferments packing huge tangy flavour punches.
This recipe is for a more traditional style (but vegan) kimchi, if you use Gochugaru like we do here then you might want to add some more chilli powder or chilli flakes if you like heat. Gochugaru is mild-medium hot, with a more smoky flavour than usual chilli powder. Likewise if you can't get hold of gochugaru (we get ours from a local Asian shop, but you can find it online too) any red chilli powder or flakes will do.