Yet for us here in Asia, fermentation has a long history and one of the easiest to try your hand at is kimchi — the Korean staple well-loved for its spicy, sour and deep oh-so-umami goodness. It’s also touted for its probiotic properties.
While it’s easily available in most supermarkets, nothing quite beats making your own. That way, you can control everything that goes into it, and adjust its flavours to your liking. Here, we get chef Sun Kim of Michelin-starred Meta Restaurant to share his recipe.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the restaurant has pivoted to serving takeaway or delivery menus with a special section on rotating Korean dishes. That includes classics like bibimbap, botanjang, and of course a side of kimchi — the only Michelin-starred restaurant in Singapore serving up Korean cuisine. To order, head to the website. The more adventurous amongst you can meanwhile, try out the recipe below.
Eat it as a side dish or use it to make other Korean staples like kimchi fried rice and kimchi pancake.
2kg napa cabbage, cut into quarters
300g sea salt
2 litres water
To make the chilli mixture
2 medium sweet onions
10 garlic cloves, peeled
500g chilli powder
100g fish sauce (optional)
2 medium nashi pear, cut into quarters
300g cooked rice
1 litre water
1 medium radish, julienned
1 bundle spring onions
1. Place napa cabbage in a very large bowl. Mix together sea salt and water. Pour over cabbage and mix with salted water and let it sit for 3 hours.
2. In the meantime, blend together onion, nashi pear and garlic to create a puree and fish sauce (optional). Pour into a medium bowl then mix together with chilli powder, radish and spring onions.
3. Place cooked rice into boiling water and cook it till it becomes a congee texture. Cool it down then mix into the chilli mixture.
4. Once the cabbage has significantly wilted, rinse cabbage to get most of the salt water off. Place back into the large bowl then mix the cabbage with the chilli seasoning mixture until well coated.
5. Place the seasoned cabbage (kimchi) into container and leave it room temperature overnight. Place in the fridge for 3days to age. It will then be ready to eat.