The reason for the "winter" bit in the title is that many of us (yeah, me included, until I did some research leading up to this recipe) associate the word "kimchi" to just one type of kimchi ... this one. I have found that there are so many other variations made at different times of the year, based on seasonal vegetables and also to take advantage of the weather before the era of refrigeration. And even with the modern refrigeration methods today, Koreans continue to consume kimchi according to traditional seasonal preferences.
Just a quick tour of the different types of kimchi during the different seasons:
Fresh vegetables are normally used at this time. They are not fermented nor stored for long periods of time. Consumed fresh. They are not the usual red colored ones but fresh and green ..... Spring!
Young summer vegetables like radishes and cucumbers are popular. Lightly spiced with fresh ground chili peppers with the addition of brined fish.
- Autumn & Winter
This is the most common type of kimchi in late fall and winter. Whole Napa cabbage is used and stuffed with ingredients that can vary, depending on the different regions and weather conditions. Usually prepared in late autumn or early winter and stored for it to ferment. Spicy (I'm assuming to warm one up during the cold) and usually flavored with fermented brined shrimp or fish.
This is my personal favorite altho I have to admit, I don't believe I've tried all the variations, but until then ...
I've always been daunted by the process of making kimchi at home until I came across Elin's version. She'd made it sound so simple and the ingredients can easily be found at the local grocer's. I just couldn't resist. I have tweaked it a little to suit my fussy tastebuds. They turned out beautifully!
You can check out her original version at her blog. No more buying! It's so simple to make! And the many things I can do with it .... stir fried beef with kimchi, kimchi soup, kimchi fried rice .... I even dump it in together with my instant noodles whenever I'm in that kind of mood. Nom nom ...
1 small napa cabbage, (abt 1/2 kg) quartered lengthways with stems attached and washed
Brine solution ( 3 - 4 liters water + 1 1/2 cups coarse salt)
3 heaped tbs chilly paste (reduce for less spicy) / korean gochujang paste
1/4 bowl cooked rice
150 g radish, julienned
40 g spring onions, cut into abt 2" lengths
15 g chilly flakes
10 g sugar
1 whole garlic bulb, skinned
2 tbs fermented baby shrimps / cincalok (you can even use brined fish/anchovies)
1/8 cup fish sauce
Soak the quartered cabbage in the brine solution for 4 hours, weighing the cabbage down with a heavy plate.
Remove and drain.
Place garlic cloves, rice, fermented shrimp, fish sauce, sugar, chilly paste and chilly flakes in a food processor and zap to a smooth paste. Stir in spring onions.
Stuff the cabbage with the paste, making sure to stuff in between the individual leaves and coating every inch of it.
Place kimchi into an airtight container and leave at room temperature for a day before leaving it to ferment further in the fridge for at least another week before consuming. I left mine for about 3 weeks.