I have spent a lot of time in Seoul over the years, and I have fell in love totally in Korean food, especially kimchis. Yes, I have used plural on word "kimchi", since there are large variety of diffrent kind of kimchis, not just that one people thinks.
Baechu kimchi is the one that everyone will know when you mention "kimchi". It’s made of salted and rinsed cabbages whose leaves have been packed and coated with a mixture of cochugaru, onion, garlic, ginger, green onions, and fish sauce (or shrimp or oysters). It’s then put into a container to ferment during storage and can be kept for months or even longer in the fridge. Everyone has their favorite stage of baechu kimchi fermentation; it can be eaten fresh and is juicy and delicious when newly made, but, as it ages, it becomes more sour and better fermented. Some old men claim that kimchi cannot rotten at all, but I'n not convinced yet.
After year or so, my Korean business mates started to tease me, how korean I have become. Well, the main reason, I think, was the fact that I ate like korean people and already at time I had gathered a lot information about the korean dishes. They also laughed that "She really knows her kimchi...". After few years, I got the biggest complement I could imagine, from my korean friends. I got the recipe of Baechu kimchi from my business mate's grandma. It was in korean originally, and I made huge work to translate it in finnish, and now it is available in english too. For me, this one is the authentic recipe, and I have used it ever since.
Baechu Kimchi (김치)
1 napa cabbage
100 g salt
1 l water
1 tbsp sweet rice flour
50 ml cochugaru
4 tsp korean fish sauce
½ korean pear (=Pyrus pyrifolia)
3 green onions
1/4 medium sized onion
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 tsp of ginger, minced
Dissolve salt in water. You might need to heat the water to dissolve all salt.
Cut the napa cabbage in half (lengthwise) and soak in salt water for 6 hours to overnight.
Once the cabbage is soft, remove from salt water and rinse thoroughly. Chop up the cabbage approx. 3 cm wide strips.
To make the paste, add the sweet rice flour and one cup of water to a pot.
Put over medium heat and continue to stir until thickened (about 5 mins).
Transfer paste to a large bowl and add the cochugaru and fish sauce. Mix well and let the paste cool. Add pear, green onions, onions, garlic, and ginger to the paste and mix.
Massage paste into the cabbage and store in a jar. Let it set in room temperature for few hours to overnight, and move to fridge.
Serve immediately if you like fresh kimchi. If you like it more fermented, wait until it fits your tastes. For me, after one week, it is perfectly fermented.
Ps. Whenever you take out any kimchi, press down the remaining kimchi and submerge in the liquid or the kimchi will become very bitter and change flavor.