This vibrant napa cabbage kimchi is crunchy, zesty, and tangy — the perfect addition to salads, sandwiches, and wraps.
It can also be tossed into fried rice or a vegetable stir-fry. As in traditional kimchi, it includes garlic, ginger, and napa cabbage.
Turmeric root is key: To spin it my own way, I add fresh turmeric root, which provides the cabbage with a beautiful yellow glow. I like my kimchi to have a kick, so I throw in some chili peppers, but you can totally leave that out if you’d prefer.
Go for a large head of napa: When purchasing the Napa cabbage head, make sure to weigh one that is over 2½ pounds, as you will be removing the green parts. The goal is to be left with 2 pounds for the batch of kimchi.
Reprinted from Mississippi Vegan: Recipes & Stories from a Southern Boy’s Heart by Timothy Pakron. By arrangement with Avery, an imprint of Penguin Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. © 2018.
- 1 large head Napa cabbage, (a little over 2½ pounds)
- ¼ cup chopped onion
- 5 garlic cloves, peeled
- 1½ Tbsps chopped fresh turmeric
- 1½ chopped fresh ginger
- 3 tsps sea salt
- ½ tsp cayenne pepper, optional
- Remove the outer leaves of the cabbage head. Chop off the darker green leaves on top (to keep the bright yellow color of the finished kimchi). Cut the cabbage into 2-inch squares so that you are left with exactly 2 pounds and transfer to a large bowl.
- In a blender, combine ½ cup of filtered water, the onion, garlic, turmeric, ginger, sea salt, and cayenne, if using, and blend into a smooth paste. Pour this mixture over the cabbage.
- Using your hands, deeply massage the cabbage, bruising the pieces and making them soft and pliable.
- Transfer the mixture to a large screw-top jar (I recommend a 1-gallon-size jar; see lagniappe) and press the mixture down so that it is mostly submerged in liquid. Tap the bottom of jar to get rid of any air bubbles.
- Screw on the top of the jar (not too tight) and leave it out to sit in a dark, cool place for 5 days. Remember to burp the jar, opening the lid to release accumulated gases, once or twice a day for the first few days.
- After 5 days, try a small piece. You’ll know it’s done when it tastes tangy and delightfully sour and has a nice crunch. Refrigerate overnight and start enjoying the next day! Keep tightly sealed in the fridge for up to 1 month.
Make sure to leave at least 2 inches of room at the top of the jar so that the kimchi does not overflow while fermenting. If you do cram the kimchi into a smaller jar, just remember that it is going to expand and bubble, and likely overflow all over the counter (it’s happened to me a few times!). If you are using a smaller jar, place it in a bowl just to be safe.
Mississippi Vegan by Timothy Pakron is available on Amazon* and wherever books are sold.
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Timothy Pakron is a photographer, recipe developer, food stylist, and passionate home cook. Mississippi Vegan is his debut cookbook.
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