Baek Kimchi (White Kimchi)
Jul 9, 2017
Baek kimchi (백 김치) is a variety of kimchi that's made without red chili pepper flakes. It is enjoyed for its mild, refreshing taste. Baek kimchi is child-friendly and great for people who have issues with spicy food.

The stuffing for white kimchi varies but usually includes typical kimchi ingredients such as radish, garlic, ginger, scallion, minari, pear, etc. Colorful bell peppers, which are called paprika in Korea, is can added for sweetness and additional colors. Traditionally, other ingredients such as pine nuts, jujubes and chestnuts are added. The brine can be simply water and salt or flavored with grated pear, garlic, ginger or salted shrimp. In this recipe, sweet rice (aka glutinous rice) powder paste is added. The rice paste promotes fermentation by feeding healthy bacteria and helps develop the flavors of kimchi.

- 2 medium napa cabbages (about 2 kilograms each)
- 1 1/2 cups Korean coarse sea salt
- 7 1/2 cups water

- 1 pound Korean radish (mu)
- 1/2 red bell pepper
- 1/2 orange or yellow bell pepper
- 1/2 large Korean pear
- 3-4 scallions
- 30 grams water dropwort (minari)
- 1 tablespoon pine nuts
- 4 to 5 chestnuts
- 4 to 5 jujubes (daechu), seeded
- 1/4 cup salted shrimp (saeujeot), finely minced
- 1 tablespoon myeolchiaekjeot (fish sauce)
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon grated ginger
- 1 teaspoon sesame seeds

- 1 tablespoon glutinous rice powder°
(°Mix with 1/2 cup water, simmer over low heat until it thickens to a thin paste and cool. Yields about 3-4 tablespoons.)
- 4 cups water
- Salt to taste (start with 2 teaspoons)

Cut the cabbage lengthwise into quarters by cutting the stem end in half (only about 4 inches in) and then slowly pulling apart to separate into two pieces by hand. Do the same for each half to make quarters. Running the knife through all the way would unnecessarily cut off the cabbage leaves.

In a large bowl, dissolve 3/4 cup of salt in 7 1/2 cups of water. Thoroughly bathe each cabbage quarter in the salt water one at a time, shake off excess water back into the bowl, and then transfer to another bowl.

Using the remaining salt (3/4 cup) and starting from the outermost leaf, generously sprinkle salt over the thick white part of each leaf (similar to salting a piece of meat). You can use a little more if needed. Repeat with the rest of the cabbage quarters. Pour the remaining salt water from the first bowl over the cabbages. Set aside for about 6-8 hours, rotating the bottom ones to the top halfway through.

The cabbages for white kimchi should be ready to be washed when the white parts are soft and flexible, but not totally bendable. Rinse thoroughly three times, especially between the white parts of the leaves to wash off any lingering salt. Drain well, cut side down.

Cut the vegetables and pear into matchstick-size, collecting them in a bowl. Thinly slice the chestnuts and jujubes. Cut scallions and minari into 1-inch long pieces.

Combine the vegetables with the seasoning ingredients. Mix well by hand. Taste -- it should be a bit too salty to eat as is. Add salt if necessary. Let sit for 30 minutes to an hour.

Cut off the tough stem part from each cabbage quarter, leaving enough to hold the leaves together. Place one cabbage quarter in the bowl with the radish mix. Spread the radish mix over each leaf, 1 to 2 tablespoons for large leaves.

Fold the leaf part of the cabbage over toward the stem and nicely wrap with the outermost leaf before placing it, cut side up, in a jar or airtight container. Repeat with the remaining cabbages. Once all the cabbages are in the jar or airtight container, firmly press down to remove air pockets.

Make the glutinous rice paste and cool. Add 4 cup of water to the bowl that contained the radish mix. Stir in the rice paste and salt to taste (start with 2 teaspoons). Stir well. Pour over the kimchi.

Leave it out at room temperature for a full day. Then, store in the fridge. Wait 5 to 7 days before eating. White kimchi doesn't keep well as long as red spicy kimchi because it's seasoned lightly and lacks chili peppers, which help keep the kimchi from softening. Thus, it's best eaten within a few weeks.

Source:The Korea Herald

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