Kimchi master Chong Choi shows how easy it is to make the spicy Korean condiment

This spicy kimch closely resembles the award-winning variety that Chong Choi and her son Matt Choi sell at grocery stores throughout the Pacific Northwest and at the Portland State University Farmer’s Market. This recipe uses napa cabbage, daikon radish, Asian pear, and gochugaru (ground Korean chiles found at Asian markets) for Korean kimchi.

Although Chong points out that only gochugaru will create an authentic flavor, you can still make delicious kimchi with a combination of easier-to-find chilis. Use a coffee or spice grinder to coarsely grind 5 or 6 seeded dried arbol or Thai chiles with 8 seeded dried New Mexico chiles to create a good substitute for gochugaru. Look for gluten-free fish sauce or leave it out for homemade, gluten-free kimchi.

Once all of your ingredients are tightly packed into jars, seal with a well-fitting lid and let them sit at room temperature away from direct sunlight for 2-3 days. If the room is cold it may take up to a week for the kimchi to finish fermenting. The jars will fill with more liquid from the vegetables as the kimchi ferments–you may need to open the jars over the sink to catch drips. Sample your kimchi daily to check on the fermentation. It may fizz slightly when you open the jar, which is a sign that the fermentation is working. Push the kimchi down into the jar so the juices rise over the top.

When the kimchi is tangy, it’s ready to eat. Store your jars in the refrigerator for up to three months. Serve alongside Asian dishes like fried rice, noodle bowls, or ramen–or create your own fusions like kimchi scrambled eggs, kimchi-topped tacos, and kimchi pizza. You can also eat it straight of the jar on a fork for the full kick.


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