White Baek Kimchi with Ginger + Turmeric
Baek Kimchi means “white” kimchi. Unlike regular kimchi, which is made with Korean chili flakes (gochugaru), Baek Kimchi doesn’t use any chili, so it isn’t spicy and has a milder, less rich flavor. Instead, it is submerged in a magical fruity salty gingery brine. I add non-traditional turmeric to mine because it’s so good for the immune system.
1 large napa cabbage (1.6 kg / 3.5 pounds)
1/4 cup coarse sea salt
Pickling brine (Combine these two. Salt should be mostly dissolved prior to use)
3/4 cups coarse sea salt
4 cups water
1 medium size daikon radish, julienned
3 carrots, julienned
1 Asian pear, julienned
1 big 2-inch pieces of fresh ginger (the size of 1 big man thumb), sliced very thin using a peeler or mandolin
4 cups water
1 Tbsp coarse sea salt
1 tbsp turmeric
1 Asian pear or bosc pears, peeled and seeded
1 apple, peeled and seeded
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 big 2-inch pieces of fresh ginger (the size of 1 big man thumb), roughly chop
1. Cut the entire head of cabbage in half, then halve again, so you have 4 pieces. Sprinkle the ¼ cup of salt directly on the white part of the cabbage, then pour the pickling brine onto the cabbage. Leave it at room temperature until the white part of the cabbage is flexible and wilted (for about 8 hours or overnight). Make sure all of it is submerged, so turn it over and stir it up a few times. When wilted, rinse the cabbage in running water to get the salt off.
2. Make your brine: puree the pear, apple, garlic, turmeric and the chopped ginger (not the sliced!) in a blender. Add the brine ingredients of 4 cups water and 1 tablespoon salt. Blend for a moment to incorporate ingredients. Set aside.
3. Place the wilted, pickled cabbage quarters onto a clean board. Starting with one of your 4 cabbage quarters, from the bottom leaves, fill the cabbage with the julienned kimchi fillings, one layer of cabbage at a time, stuffing it between the leaves. Once done, place the stuffed kimchi into a large container (I use a big Tupperware), facing down. Repeat this step with the remaining ingredients. Don't worry about being neat or tidy, it's fine if little bits of carrot and daikon are floating around.
4. Pour the kimchi brine (from step 2) into the kimchi container making sure that all your stuffed cabbage is covered. Place a weight (I use a gallon Ziploc bag half-filled with water) on top to stop the kimchi floating and submerge the stuffed cabbage well in the brine. Close the lid or cover with a towel. Leave at room temperature for 5 days, until it tastes fermented. If it's cold out (winter) leave it for 2 days more, then move it to the fridge. You can start serving the kimchi immediately. It will last for at least a few months. To serve, I like to pull out one stuffed quadrant and slice it up in little 1-inch bite size slices. I eat this with everything.