This recipe is inspired by Sandor Katz, fermentation guru and author of Wild Fermentation. Here I combine widely available green cabbage with the flavors of Korean kimchi for a delicious, easy, unforgettable sauerkraut! For this recipe you will need to buy Korean chili flakes (gochugaru), as there isn’t a Western equivalent. The flavor is much milder than crushed red chile flakes, but not as sweet as paprika. Gochugaru can be found at many Asian markets (even non-Korean ones, because kimchi is so popular), some finer grocery stores, and online at Amazon and many other retailers. I’m posting basic sauerkraut instructions here, but for a detailed photo tutorial you can check out my Klassic Kraut post.
Makes about 2 quarts
1 (2½lb.) green cabbage
¼lb. daikon or red radishes, sliced thin
1 bunch scallions, cut into 2″ lengths
4 cloves garlic, peeled, smashed, and chopped fine
1″ ginger, peeled and minced
3T Korean chili flakes
1½T fish sauce
Remove one large outer leaf from the cabbage and set it aside. Then cut the cabbage into quarters, remove the core, and slice thinly across the grain to shred. Sprinkle the shredded cabbage with the 2t salt as you add it to a large mixing bowl. When all the cabbage and salt are in the bowl, use your hands to toss and mix it, distributing the salt evenly. Then pound the cabbage with your fists, a pestle, or a sturdy jar to soften it and release its juices. When the cabbage is wilted and juicy, add the remaining ingredients to the bowl.
*At this point it is recommended to wear vinyl or latex gloves.* Toss the cabbage with the vegetables and spices, until everything is evenly distributed. Pack the mixture into two 1qt. or 1L jars, making sure that neither is more than 75% full. Press it down firmly with your fists to pack it tight and so the liquid rises to cover the top. Now spread the reserved cabbage leaf flat on your cutting board, set the jars on top, and cut around them to make to cabbage leaf circles exactly the diameter of the jars. Place the leaf circles on top of the Kraut-Chi and then place a small weight on them to keep everything submerged below the brine.
Seal the jars by tightening the ring all the way and then loosening it a half-turn, if using a mason jar; or simply clamp the lid shut if using a wire-bale jar. Write the date on the jars in marker and place them in a cool, dark place to ferment. After the first day or two, if there isn’t sufficient liquid to keep everything submerged mix a brine of 1t salt in 1c water and add enough of that to cover the vegetables by about a half inch. Your Kraut-Chi will be ready in 4-6 weeks.