How to Make Kimchi

Kimchi recipe
CHRISTOPHER TESTANI

Maum, a popular private supper club and restaurant in Palo Alto, California, means “from the heart” in Korean. Few elements of Korean cooking express that sentiment more powerfully than kimchi. Maum’s version, created by chefs Michael and Meichih Kim, takes time, but the spicy, salty, umami-packed results are totally worth it.

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Here’s how to make it.

Degree of Difficulty: Difficult

Active Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1½ to 2 weeks

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Prep time

60 min.

Cook time

1½ to 2 weeks min.

  • 5 large heads Napa cabbage
  • 1⅓ cups sea salt
  • ½ cup sweet rice flour
  • ¾ cup water
  • 2 cups diced onions
  • 12 garlic cloves
  • ⅛ cup roughly chopped ginger
  • 3 lbs daikon (peeled, 1 lb roughly chopped, 2 lbs julienned)
  • ½ cup plus 2 tbsp Korean plum syrup
  • 2½ tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp salted fermented shrimp
  • 2¾ cups dried Korean chili flakes
  • 2 bunches scallions, julienned
Quarter and salt cabbage with sea salt, being sure to salt the core and in between each layer. Place the cabbage in a large colander set over a deep pan to catch the liquid released, cover with plastic wrap, and rest at room temperature for 12 hours.
Rinse cabbage twice in cold water, gently wringing out the quarters. Arrange vertically in a colander with a pan underneath, wrap completely in plastic, and allow to drain overnight in refrigerator.
When cabbage is ready, make a rice slurry by combining rice flour and water in a medium pot on medium heat, whisking until it has the consistency of thin pancake batter. Pour slurry into a container, cool to room temperature, and reserve.
Combine onions, garlic, ginger, chopped daikon, plum syrup, fish sauce, salted shrimp, and ½ cup salt in a blender and puree until smooth. Pour into a large mixing bowl, then fold in chili flakes, julienned daikon and scallions, and 1¾ cups slurry with a rubber spatula until evenly combined to make the kimchi base.
Spread plastic wrap on a clean surface to make clean up easier and wear gloves if possible. Using your hands, spread a light layer of the base between each leaf of a cabbage quarter. After completing each layer, gently fold cabbage quarter in half and place in an airtight container. Repeat with rest of cabbage.
Leave cabbage at room temperature for 1 day, then transfer to fridge for 1½ to 2 weeks, until fermented to taste.