Low Carb/Keto Baechu-Kimchi
This recipe makes A LOT of Kimchi, like, fill a gallon crock up to the top, so we are talking many servings. The good thing, since Kimchi is fermented, is it only gets better as it ages more, and will keep for months in your fridge. Doing it yourself also insures that all the great probiotics aid in supplying heathy gut flora. And who doesn’t strive to have healthy gut flora…right?
- 1.5 large Napa cabbage heads
- 1/2 to 2 cups gochugaru
- Depending on how spicy you like it (gochugaru is essential here to make the Kimchi. it’s really the only must have.)
- 1 medium daikon or korean radish (about 8 inches long)
- 2 Tbsp Glutenous rice flour
- You can skip this, but it really helps the process
- The carbs from this are very little, so I wouldn’t be concerned
- 1/4 C fish sauce
- 8 green onions
- 2 Tbsp minced garlic
- 2 Tbsp minced ginger
- 2 cups non-chlorinated water
- Up to 1/2 cup of sea salt (don’t use iodized salt, it leaves a metallic flavor)
- 1 glass or ceramic crock
First thing we need to do is prep our vegetables. Take the Napa cabbage and cut a slit down the middle of the core, and with your thumbs, press into the slit and tear the cabbage in half. With your halves, do the same thing again, cutting a slit down the middle and tearing up again. From here, you have 2 options: you can either do a traditional kimchi, and sprinkle salt between each layer, or do what I did and do a lazy kimchi, and chop them into bite size pieces. This is called Mak Kimchi, or easy kimchi, as it doesn’t require the painstaking process of salting between every layer of your quarters. It also allows for quick application of your pepper mixture later, and makes it easier to eat.
Prepping the Cabbage
The next part is the time-consuming part. It’s easy, but it takes time.
Once you have your cabbage chopped, salt it to remove the abundance of liquid in cabbage. Personally, since this was such a large batch, I did this directly in my kitchen sink. Take your cabbage, put a layer of it down, and sprinkle lightly with salt. Continue doing this layer by layer until you are all your cabbage is salted. At this point, give it a quick toss to make sure the salt is distributed evenly and then let it sit for 30 mins. After 30 mins, take a piece of the fibrous rib part and bend it, it should not snap immediately, but bend to about 90 degrees then snap. If it doesn’t bend, mix the cabbage and wait another 15 minutes.
It’s important to check it every 15 minutes because its critical that you don’t over salt. I cannot give an exact time frame for this because there are too many variables that can speed up or slow down this process. I put up to 1/2 C of salt, but that doesn’t mean you are going to use it all. Just make sure its well coated.
In the Mean Time…
While the cabbage is… salting (is that a thing?), take your water and bring it to a boil. Add the rice flour, and let it
cook until it creates a thick slurry, about 5 minutes. Add in your fish sauce and red pepper and mix thoroughly to create a paste. Set it aside to cool.
Peel your radish, slice into 1/4 inch slices, then cut slices into strips. Cut your green onions lengthwise and then into two-inch pieces. Once your pepper paste is cool, mix into the vegetables and add garlic and ginger. If you have glass or metal mixing bowls use these.
Once your cabbage is where it needs to be, thoroughly rinse it to remove any remaining salt on the surface, tasting pieces to desired saltiness.
I recommend going just above your desired level of saltiness. Juices will continue to leach out, and the batch ferments your taste buds will react differently to acidic/salty flavors. Most importantly make sure it is thoroughly rinsed.
Now comes fun part, mixing the batch.
If you have a very large mixing bowl, you can do this in one batch. If not, take half of your cabbage, and half of your vegetable mix and toss well, put into your crock, and repeat.
You will want to store this in a pantry, or cool dark place for two to four days, allowing the lacto bacteria to create lactic acid. This creates an environment that is not hospitable to the bad bacteria that will make you sick.
From there you can transfer your crock to the fridge, and it will last pretty much indefinitely. However, after about two months, the cabbage tends to get a bit soft.
The final product!