Oddly enough, my first experience with fresh kimchi was actually in Japan! Mom and I were totally addicted to it. Instead of the usual briny flavour of fermented kimchi, it packed what was a spicy, sweet kick instead. Many of the ramen shops served it as a side dish, which really is testament to how ubiquitous this humble Korean side dish has become.
Whether you need to cut down on your salt intake, or don’t enjoy fermented foods, this fresh kimchi recipe is a wonderful substitute for the usual fermented version. The best part is it can be eaten straightaway! So let’s get started.
1-1.5kg Napa Cabbage
1/2 cup Sea Salt
1 litre Cold Water
5 Cloves Garlic (minced)
3 Stalks Spring Onion
4 tbsp Gochujang
2 tbsp Fish Sauce
1 tbsp Sesame Seed
First, cut cabbage in half lengthwise and then into quarters. Remove stems and prepare a large bowl.
Pour sea salt into cold water and stir until completely dissolved. Toss cabbage in salt water. Press down as much as possible. Soak for 40 mins. Halfway through after about 20 mins, toss them again so they soak evenly in salt water.
Meanwhile, we’ll prepare the kimchi sauce!
Mince 5 cloves of garlic, chop up spring onion, fish sauce and gochujang. Add Korean red pepper flakes if you can find it. But otherwise, just red pepper sauce will do!
Once ready, mix into cabbage with gloved fingers. Mix with squeezing action so cabbage absorbs all the sauce.
Add tablespoon of toasted sesame seeds for added flavour.
And we’re done! Just chill until ready to serve. This actually keeps in the fridge for up to a week. So feel free to make a bigger batch and you can enjoy this as a healthy appetiser for your home cooked meals. Do let me know how it goes for you (:
If you love this, you can also try out these other Korean side dishes —