Full of living, healthy bacteria (probiotics), it has been shown to improve digestion, boost immunity and energise the body. Making your own is always best, to avoid unnecessary health suppressing ingredients such as high fructose corn syrup, msg and preservatives. And it’s actually quite easy, provided you have the right ingredients. They can usually be found in asian supermarkets or online.
- 1 large napa cabbage
- ¼ cup (60ml) sea salt
- 1 bunch scallions
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, sliced (with peel is ok)
- 6 cloves garlic
- 1 shallot or small red onion
- 2–6 tbs Korean-style red pepper flakes (gochugaru)
- 2 tbs fish sauce (or use miso paste for a vegan option)
- 2 tsp honey
- Take 1-2 of the outer leaves off the napa cabbage and save for later
- Cut remaining cabbage into 2-3cm pieces
- Place in a bowl and toss with 1/4 cup (60 ml) sea salt
- Fill the bowl with water and stir, and soak cabbage for 6-8 hours.
- Drain (save this brine for later) and rinse, pressing the liquid out of the cabbage.
- Use a food processor to make a chili paste with the garlic, ginger, shallot, Korean chili flakes (gochugaru), fish sauce and honey.
- Cut the scallions into 3cm pieces.
- Place the drained cabbage along with scallions and chilli paste into the bowl. Massage it all properly with your washed hands, squeezing more liquid out of the cabbage.
- Pack this tightly into a 2 litre glass jar and pour a little of the brine saved from earlier into the jar, just to enough to cover the cabbage.
- Cover with the cabbage leaf you saved and press down, making sure the cabbage is submerged in liquid. Leave 3-4cm of space at the top to allow for released liquids.
- Cover with a loose lid and place on a tray/bowl (to collect any overflow) and leave on the counter for a minimum of 3 days. The longer you leave it the more fermented and sour it will become.
- After 3-7 days, refrigerate to slow down the fermentation.
It will keep for months in the fridge and gets better and more flavourful with time!