36 Comments

  1. says:

    December 4, 2013 at 9:50 am

    Growing up in a household where my grandmother made kimchi all my life, it’s interesting to see another take on it. I don’t know exactly how clean her method is (all made in our backyard, what upppp) but! Since she refuses to properly teach me how to make kimchi, this seems like an awesome alternative. Because seriously, what is with the price of sub-par kimchi around here??

    • tworedbowls says:

      December 4, 2013 at 10:32 am

      Hahaha I love it! Yes, I’ve heard about burying giant jars of kimchi in the backyard to ferment, though Bowl #2′s parents live in a high-rise, so… I didn’t see that happen firsthand. I don’t know how his kimchi guru uncle makes it, though. And yes, maybe cleanliness isn’t so important for this after all?! I just had a jar or two smell bad (and the real kind of bad, not the “no, that’s how it’s supposed to smell” kind!) and I suspect it was either because we ate straight out of it a few times or I was a bit too rough with the cabbage.

      But seriously. Kimchi around here is sad and depressing. I obviously have no family heirloom recipes passed down from generation to generation to share, but I just figured I had to put something in case anyone was like us and was desperate for some kimchi that was — you know — actually spicy!!

      • says:

        December 4, 2013 at 1:13 pm

        Oh no! To be honest, having never made it, I have no idea…but this method sounds so easy. And hey, if it’s cheaper, I’m all about it. I am unashamedly arguing that we have a kimchi making party soon.

        • tworedbowls says:

          December 4, 2013 at 6:09 pm

          Who knows! I plan to use more salt next time because I thought it could have used it, and that may do the trick, too. And um, yes!!! If I ever have the time, I would LOVE a kimchi party. :)

    • tworedbowls says:

      December 4, 2013 at 10:33 am

      I am so excited (well, and a bit nervous!) for you to make it too!!! I feel a little like the blind leading the blind, so I hope it turns out well. Please let me know how it goes if you try it!

  2. says:

    December 4, 2013 at 5:13 pm

    Having never made kimchi (or gotten the courage!) this looks like something I could actually do. It can’t be much harder than making pickles, right? And your photos turned out gorgeous!

    • tworedbowls says:

      December 4, 2013 at 6:21 pm

      Haha, if you’ve made pickles I feel confident you could make this — because I’ve never pickled anything! And thanks SO much, Ruthy. I always feel like there’s something that I could have done better with my photos, so it means a lot to hear that! Let me know how the kimchi goes if you ever try it :) It’s still quite an endeavor (you should have seen my kitchen when it was all done) but super fun, and worth it in the end!

    • tworedbowls says:

      December 5, 2013 at 1:14 pm

      Aw, thank you so much, Mimi! Yes, the upfront investment in a big bag/box of the red pepper powder was daunting for me. The upside is that it lasts forever and is pretty versatile in a lot of Korean cooking. And the fish sauce is obviously great in Thai. I think you’d find uses for both if you ever decided to get them (but it took me awhile, too).

  3. says:

    December 5, 2013 at 1:56 pm

    This is a wonderful post! I can’t tell you how impressive this really is. Seriously, not many would rise up for the challenge and not only make kimchi but post the process! Brilliantly done. Oh geez, now I want some kimchi!

    • tworedbowls says:

      December 5, 2013 at 11:53 pm

      Haha, aw! You flatter me! I don’t know how impressive it really is! And honestly it was born of necessity, I don’t think I would ever have dared try it if there was any way we could get decent storebought kimchi. But the kimchi around here just isn’t spicy at all, and for the price I had to figure out an alternative. If you try it, I think you’ll find that it’s pretty manageable after all, too! :) Thank you so much for your wonderfully kind words.

  4. says:

    December 5, 2013 at 3:58 pm

    it kinda breaks my heart, i purchase kimchi from whole foods, it’s organic but it’s not good. AND THEN, my husband confessed to me the other night that he doesn’t like kimchi. i’ve had it on my bucket list to make eventually, but now i don’t think i can, cus i cannot be the only person in the house eating the stuff.
    unless there was a way to make it super small batch? is that even possible?

    • tworedbowls says:

      December 5, 2013 at 11:56 pm

      You know, it could be possible!! I actually just saw some bizarrely small napa cabbages in the supermarket the other day and was thinking to myself that that would have worked for a smaller batch. Plus, I find that it’s okay to have a larger amount of homemade kimchi at first because it ferments so slowly in the refrigerator that you could just shove it back there and literally forget about it for weeks. Maybe if you could get your hands on a 1 lb napa cabbage and halve the paste recipe above, you could try it out :) Thanks so much for stopping by, Lan! I adore your blog!

    • says:

      December 8, 2013 at 3:12 pm

      Lan, your husband doesn’t like kimchi? What if that’s just because he hasn’t tried your own homemade kimchi… YET?!? If you make it, you might actually get some help eating it after all…

      (Also I think the gateway drug for kimchi skeptics is sauteed kimchi, like in kimchi fried rice. Does he even not like it like that?)

      • tworedbowls says:

        December 8, 2013 at 5:07 pm

        (Poking my head into this parenthetical to say this is SO true, Allison! Sauteed kimchi is absolutely the slippery slope into fermented addiction. It’s how I got hooked!)

    • tworedbowls says:

      December 5, 2013 at 11:57 pm

      Oooh, let me know how it goes if you do! This is one recipe where I’m especially curious to see how other people’s experiences go. Though I’m really hoping I don’t lead anyone astray… :)

  5. says:

    December 8, 2013 at 3:08 pm

    Oh my gosh, beautiful photos and such lovely detailed instructions! (I love your blog re-design, too! Someday I hope mine looks half as nice…)

    I’ve only ever made kimchi the whole-cabbage way (when I was living in Korea and we had a separate kimchi refrigerator…), not the “easy” way. Although the easy way still seems pretty time intensive, huh… not to say it’s not worth it! You’ve made me think I should give some mak kimchi a try, though! Also I had no idea that you could immediately put it into a fridge and then remove some to ferment small amounts at room temperature at a time– that’s an awesome & useful tip!

    Oooh and I love oi-gimchi and kkakdugi, too!!! The next time I make homemade kimchi, I’ll be sure to have some cucumbers and daikon around the house just in case I have extra rice/chili paste!

    • tworedbowls says:

      December 8, 2013 at 5:15 pm

      Allison, I’m so flattered! I think mine has a long way to go, but that means a lot coming from you.

      And ha, yes — I guess it’s just a little easier by comparison! I kind of just assume it’s easy too because I was able to make it. So impressed that you make it the whole-cabbage way, that seems intense, to say the least. Major, major props to you! Thanks so much for your kind comment :) I’d love to hear how you make your kimchi, I’m sure I could learn a lot from you!

      Oh, and I’m right there with you, I SO love oi kimchi, especially. This paste was fantastic on it!

      • says:

        December 13, 2013 at 7:19 pm

        Oh I wouldn’t be so impressed with me if I were you… haha. :) Because when I made it the whole-cabbage way, it was totally under the guidance/direction of my “kimchi seonsaengnim” (kimchi teacher) who was the mom (and experienced kimchi-maker) of a friend of a friend. It was awesome and I learned a lot that day, and took a lot of photos, etc., but I still haven’t tried it again on my own—and that was in 2008!

        I think the whole-cabbage way is worth it if you have the space to store several whole cabbages packed into a container together at once. They do take a really long time to salt though—I think we salted them for more like four or five hours. We also stuffed/smeared them with a mixture of rice paste, chili, ginger, and garlic, along with buchu (garlic chives that look similar to scallions) and julienned daikon. I don’t remember using any fish sauce.

        Actually we made kkakdugi and oi-gimchi too (with the same chili mixture), but our oi-gimchi were in a slightly different shape than the ones in your photo above—it was like we were trying to make whole-cucumber kimchi along with the whole-cabbage stuff: we quartered the cucumbers lengthwise, but not all the way down the whole length of them—we left one bottom end intact to hold them all together. Then we stuffed them and packed them into a big plastic container with their quartered small ends up.

        • tworedbowls says:

          December 13, 2013 at 7:55 pm

          A kimchi teacher! I love it. I bet you could make it again. If you do, I’ll be so excited to see your take. And I totally agree with you, I’ve always heard whole cabbages make the best kimchi. How long were you in Korea? I want to go with Bowl #2′s mom at some point.

          And YES, the way you made oi-sobaegi is the right way!!! They’re supposed to be made with Kirby cucumbers (which are much smaller) and stuffed, not like I did it. I just happened to have regular cucumbers around and wanted to use up the paste. Yum… I think it might be my favorite kind.

        • says:

          December 13, 2013 at 8:05 pm

          Yeah, you’re right, I could make it again… but I will wait until I have more optimal conditions (i.e., fridge space or a hangari—a ceramic kimchi fermentation crock). I should totally make cucumber or daikon kimchi sometime soon though, because they would take up way less fridge space, and they are way less easy/impossible to find in stores around here compared to paekchu kimchi!

          I was in Korea for about 3 months taking baby Korean language classes (on a summer fellowship, since I thought I might pursue research in Japanese/Korean comparative linguistics), and then I’ve been back to visit for 7-10 days um… twice since then I think? I can’t even remember now! I am soooo lucky because I have some good family friends who are Korean and have a house in Seoul that I could stay in.

    • tworedbowls says:

      December 8, 2013 at 11:53 pm

      Right?! It was definitely the gateway for me. Once, I sauteed kimchi in butter to put in a quesadilla — game. over. Unbelievable. Thank you so much for your comment! :):)

    • says:

      January 3, 2014 at 2:52 pm

      Haha! Silly fish sauce… Yes, I did like that this recipe turned out okay without the squid, oysters, or anchovies. I was a little squeamish about handling squid or oysters since I never cook it generally and I’d have no idea about whether it was good to eat. I hope you have fun making this if you try it, Mallory!!

  6. J.Lee says:

    February 20, 2014 at 6:30 pm

    like pita, naan, and tons of other multistep foods, the process of making kimchi is something that gets waaaay more easy the more you make it. and the taste totally improves. i like my kimchi fresh, sweet and extra garlicky. it’s always ready for jeon by the time i bring it home from stores- completely sour. we soak our cabbage in salted water overnight- i know it’s not typical but it’s less work than turning it and the water evenly distributes the salt. so lazy! lol. see, it gets easier.

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