I’ve gotta say that I love kimchi. But honestly, why you’ve gotta spoil perfectly good cabbage with fish sauce is beyond me. And that is why I have come up with a vegetarian kimchi recipe that is also vegan and leaves the fishes alone to swim freely in the sea… which is where they belong!
I must say that I have never seen the allure of eating fish or seafood. And I say this having once been a carnivore or omnivore. I never much liked seafood and fish.
But I like them very much now. Alive and happy, living unencumbered lives free from human interference in the oceans, rivers and lakes. Alas, one can dream right? Maybe one day when there are just few handfuls of fish left, before we’ve fully fished them to extinction we might be so lucky to recognize the error of our ways.
But this is not a letter to you about our dwindling fish stocks and how 40% or more of fish consumed are now bred on land or oceanic aqua farms. No sirree, this is about enjoying yummy fermented cabbage like the Koreans do but without the fish sauce.
The key to making good kimchi is mostly related to the cabbage and the amount of fermentation that is allowed. Of course the other key ingredients involved are important too but the fish sauce can be done away with entirely or changed out with my other secret ingredient which I’ll uncover in a minute.
So without further ado here is the best vegan kimchi recipe this side of the deep oceans. Kimchi is also often spelled kimchee so don’t sweat it however you want to spell lit.
Swim fish free my kimchi
Here are the ingredients needed to enjoy making your own vegetarian kimchi. You never know you might end up selling some. It is that good!
2 heads of Chinese cabbage – also known as napa cabbage
1.66 cups of rock salt
0.66 cup of Golden Mountain Sauce – this is the “secret” ingredient instead of fish sauce
0.66 cup of red pepper powder <- that one is cheaper than Korean chili powder but all you need is 100% red pepper powder 1 small onion - white or yellow is best 5 cloves of garlic 1 Asian pear also known as apple pear, Chinese pear and Korean pear 1 tbsp regular salt 1 tbsp sugar 2 tbsp fresh ginger 4 to 5 spring onions Here we go. What you need to do is take the napa cabbage and chop it into chunks removing the core as you go. Next place all of this chopped up cabbage into a large bowl and cover with water and mix in about a cup to a cup and a quarter of the rock salt. Let it drown for 5 to 6 hours like this. While the cabbage is getting all gnarly in the salt water let's prepare our vegan kimchee. Basically toss all the ingredients except for the left over rock salt and the spring onions and blend it together. You should end up with a thickish paste. You can add a splash of water if need be to thin it out just a bit, but it should be thickish. Thick like a thick tomato paste. Chop up the spring onions into thin coins and mix manually into the kimchi paste. Okay, after your 5 or 6 hours of drowning the cabbage you're ready to revive it with the love of kimchi. Drain the cabbage as best you can but don't worry about drying it, you want it damp still but not wet. Add the kimchi paste into the cabbage and stir it around to coat completely. Taste your kimchi mix and see how salty it is. You should find it quite salty and you'll want to add in some if not all of the remaining rock salt. I find adding a quarter to a third of a cup of the remaining rock salt is usually sufficient. After everything is well mixed place the vegan kimchi in mason or other jars, seal and put into the refrigerator for a week allowing it to ferment. After that week it is time to enjoy. It should last 6 months or so, so there's no rush to eat it! Though you'll likely be through it within a few months I bet.