Kimchi

 Photo by Savannah Van der Niet

Photo by Savannah Van der Niet

Why is kimchi so gd expensive outside of Asian grocery stores? I was pretty surprised how easy and cheap it was to make - you just have to resist eating it for a few days before it's done fermenting (your kitchen might start to smell a bit dank in this time - but in a pleasing ginger-y way rather than teen-bedroom-in-summer dankness)

Makes one pack 500ml jar's worth

INGREDIENTS

Half a wombok cabbage
1 chilli
1 carrot
(Julienned as fine as possible in matchstick size or smaller)
Finely cut up coriander stems (from about half a bunch or so. You could also use shallots or spring onions, which are more traditional, but I just had a bunch of coriander with all the leaves ripped off that I wanted to user) 
Thumb-sized knob of ginger, crushed
8 cloves of garlic, crushed

Cut the wombok in half, then cut it horizontally in 3-ish cm peices. Put a couple of teapoons of salt, the carrot, garlic and ginger in and then get your hands in and really beat the crap of it. Rub the cabbage and squeeze it out and mash it up with your hands. This might take 10-15 minutes but soon you'll start seeing a lot of water come out. Take a break and then go at it again. You want there to be enough liquid that when you push the cabbage down the water comes up over the top.

Then add the chilli and mix it around (I'm always worried about burning my hands with chilli, so I don't add it before I'm done bashing it. If you're tough maybe you could add it at the start). Put a plate on top of your mixing bowl that almost touches the edges of the bowl but not quite (so it's touching the kimchi) and weigh it down with some cans or something else heavy. Wrap the whole thing in some gladwrap, or cover it with a clean tea towel and leave in a shady corner of your kitchen. In winter you could leave it out for 3-4 days before you put it in the fridge, but in Brisbane summer 2 is probably enough.