Traditional Nappa Cabbage Kimchi

Active Work Time: 1 hour 30 minutes. Total Preparation Time: 4 hours 30 minutes plus 2 to 3 days standing

1 cup plus 1 tablespoon salt
1/2 gallon water
2 heads nappa cabbage, cut in quarters or 2-inch wedges, depending on size of cabbage
1 head garlic, cloves separated and peeled
2 (1-inch) pieces ginger root
1/4 cup fish sauce or Korean salted shrimp, optional
1 daikon, peeled and grated
1 bunch scallions, cut into 1-inch lengths
1 bunch mustard greens, chopped into 1-inch pieces
1/2 cup Korean ground chile
1 teaspoon sugar, optional
Sesame oil, optional
Sesame seeds, optional

Dissolve 1 cup salt in water. Soak cabbage in salt water 3 to 4 hours. Combine garlic, ginger and fish sauce or shrimp in food processor or blender until finely minced. In a large bowl, combine daikon, scallions, mustard greens, garlic mixture, chile, 1 tablespoon salt and sugar. Toss gently but thoroughly. (If mixing with your hands, be sure to wear rubber gloves to avoid chile burn.)

Remove cabbage from water and rinse thoroughly. Drain cabbage in colander, squeezing as much water from the leaves as possible. Take cabbage and stuff daikon mixture between leaves, working from outside in, starting with largest leaf to smallest. Do not overstuff, but make sure daikon mixture adequately fills leaves. When entire cabbage is stuffed, take another big leaf and wrap tightly around rest of cabbage. Divide cabbage among 4 (1-quart) jars, pressing down firmly to remove any air bubbles.

Let sit 2 to 3 days before serving. Remove kimchi from jar and slice into 1-inch-length pieces. If serving before kimchi is fermented, sprinkle with little bit of sesame oil and sesame seeds. Refrigerate after opening.

Makes 4 quarts. Each 1/4 cup: 8 calories; 455 mg sodium; 0 cholesterol; 0 fat; 2 grams carbohydrates; 0 protein; 0.38 gram fiber.

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