It’s midway through autumn here on the Adelaide plains, and the garden is producing in abundance as the summer crops such as tomatoes finish up and greener vegetables start to flourish thanks to the occasional rain shower, cooler days and sunny weather. Among these leafy vegetables are the Chinese cabbages, the basic ingredient for the spicy Korean fermented vegetable called Kimchi. Our regular German sauerkraut recipe can be found here; Kimchi is made with more coarsely chopped Chinese cabbage rather than the finely-shredded German ‘filderspitzkraut’ of our traditional green sauerkraut.
The ingredients are all available from the kitchen garden and are simplicity itself for the cook to wander around and harvest. These consist of one head of Chinese cabbage (cored and chopped), a bunch of chopped spring onions, a cup of grated carrots, a grated Daikon (Japanese) radish (see photo on left), a tablespoon of freshly grated ginger, three cloves of peeled and crushed garlic, a half teaspoon of chilli flakes (we use fresh chilli, because that’s ready in the garden too), a tablespoon of sea salt and four tablespoons of whey. These prepared ingredients all get put into a large heavy duty pan and pounded with a wooden mallet to release the juices. The mixture is then placed in wide-mouthed glass jars and pressed down firmly with the pounder until the juices come to the top of the cabbage. The top of the vegetables should be a few centimetres below the top of the jar, which is closed up and left to start the lacto-fermentation process that will preserve this autumn produce for many months to come without refrigeration or freezing. Our recipe is based on that from the book ‘Nourishing Traditions’ by Sally Fallon.