Starting napa cabbage and daikon kimchi

I need to confess: I don’t actually like kimchi. I don’t hate it, its just not something that I love, crave, or even really eat. When I have Korean food I tend to favour the non-spicy things like seafood pancake, japchae and gmaja jorim, those addictive side dish potatoes. It’s not that I don’t like spicy food, I do! I just don’t eat a lot of kimchi. Mike, on the other hand, loves the stuff. He’s really into pickled vegetables, so I’m counting on him to enjoy this enough for the both of us.


Kimchi is a simple two-step process. The vegetables, napa cabbage and daikon, are tossed with salt and sugar and left in the fridge overnight. The next day, the rest of the ingredients are mixed up and everything is put into a jar so the kimchi can do it’s happy fermentation dance.

chopping up napa cabbage

As simple as that sounded, I ran into some minor glitches. First of all the recipe called for 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons of sugar. Because I didn’t really read the recipe (remember, I don’t usually read cookbooks) I put the entire amount sugar on top of the napa cabbage. Then I realized that 1/2 cup of sugar was for the kimchi slurry that you made the next day. Oops. Well, at least that was easily solvable, I rinsed the cabbage off and there was no harm done.

too much sugar on the napa cabbage!

Then, I didn’t read the recipe again. Or well, I did read it, but because I’m mathematically and spatially challenged, I miscalculated. There I was, happily cutting up my daikon into 1 inch cubes, which looked pretty good to me, when Mike came by and asked, “Isn’t that a bit big for kimchi?” “I don’t know, looks good to me,” I answered. “The recipe says 1/2 inch cubes.” Mike leaned in closer. “Those aren’t 1/2 cubes.” “Well, I don’t know what kimchi looks like, I don’t even eat this stuff!” At least like the sugar, the problem was easily fixed.

re-chopping daikon into 1/2 inch cubes

So, the easy part over, I put the salty-sugary vegetables in the fridge overnight. Tomorrow, the fermentation process begins!

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