Plant Based Cabbage Kimchi
by Chef Annabelle Choi
This kimchi consists of full quarter cuts of napa cabbage, heavily coated with Korean red pepper flakes, garlic, and a unique rice paste combined with kelp and wild mushroom stock. I know it’s great because my Korean mother raves about it. You can make less by easily halving or quartering the recipe, but traditionally we would always make a ton and keep it in the ground, cellar, or refrigerator as a condiment.
4 large heads of napa cabbage
1 cup course salt
1/2 cup sweet rice powder
1/2 cup sugar
1-inch piece ginger, peeled
1 cup peeled garlic cloves
1/3 yellow onion
4-inch piece of dried kombu
1/2 cup dried mushrooms (shiitakes, chanterelles, lobster, trumpets)
1/2 large white radish (moo or daikon), peeled and cut into matchsticks
2 big bunches of scallions (about 20), cut into 2-inch pieces
1/2 – 1 cup gochugaru (Korean red pepper powder)
Prepare the cabbage: Remove any unattractive outer leaves from the cabbages and quarter each cabbage lengthwise. Cut out and discard the cores.
Fill your sink or a large bin with cold water and wash the cabbage, letting any grit sink to the bottom. Lift the cabbage out of the water leaving the dirt behind and drain. Rinse out the basin and refill with fresh water. Repeat the process once more.
Get out your biggest bowls or colander over the sink. Sprinkle salt in between the leaves of each cabbage, being a little more generous near the core. Set aside for 30 minutes, standing on its bottom in the colander so the water can drain out, then flip over on its other side after 30 minutes. After an hour, your should be quite wilted. Gently rinse the cabbage to remove all the salt. Drain thoroughly.
Prepare the Seasoning: Place 3 cups of water in a saucepan and whisk in the rice powder. Add kelp and mushrooms. Bring to a simmer over low heat, whisking constantly until the mixture thickens, about 3 minutes. Add sugar and cook another minute. Take the mixture off the head and let cool. Combine the ginger, garlic, and onion in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth.