Cauliflower takes well to kimchi! Bite size and firm, yet it is pleasantly softened by the fermentation process.
I leave it to pre-soak longer than other vegetables (8 hours or overnight would be fine, too) because it’s firmer than most veggies and needs a little more time to soften.
If you have make-ahead kimchi paste on hand, this goes even faster!
Fish sauce is optional, but adds a unique traditional umami flavor!
- 1.5 lbs. (700g) cauliflower
- 1.5 quarts /liters filtered water
- 5 Tablespoons 75ml or 75g fine sea salt
- 4 oz (120ml) "Make-ahead" kimchi paste or remaining paste ingredients below see separate recipe for paste
- 2 scallions green onions
- 15 g garlic peeled
- 10 g ginger
- 2 Tbsp. (30 ml) by volume /1 ounce by weight 15g red pepper powder
- 2 tsp. (10ml) soy sauce or tamari gluten free soy sauce
- 1 tsp. fish sauce
Mix Brine & Pre-Soak
- Dissolve sea salt into water, making a 5% by weight brine.
- Rinse cauliflower of any visible dirt.
- Cut florets into about 1 inch/2cm size chunks. Slice the base into smaller pieces than florets, because they are denser.
- Add pieces to a container large enough to hold brine. Add a weight on top. Slowly pour brine until it covers veggies. Soak in brine for 8 hours, or up to 24 hours.
- Peel garlic and clean any dirt off ginger. Chop both roughly.
- Cut stems off scallions, and slice them (white and green parts) into 1/2 inch (1 cm) pieces.
- Add ginger, garlic, and scallions to work bowl of a food processor, along with red pepper powder and tamari.
- Start the food processor, and mix together until a thick paste forms and it "rolls" together when the machine is running. You may need to scrape down the sides of the bowl once or twice. You may adjust with a splash of tamari or soaking brine to get the right texture.
Pack and Ferment
- Drain cauliflower from brine, reserving 1/2 cup (200 ml) of brine.
- Wearing gloves to protect hands from being burned by hot pepper, coat the pieces with paste.
- Pack pieces into a wide-mouth quart-sized or larger glass jar or crock, leaving at least an inch or so from the top rim of the jar.
- Add remaining paste to jar/crock.
- There should be enough brine to completely cover the contents when weighed down.
- Apply small-batch fermentation tools (add weight and secure jar with airlock).
- If not using fermentation tools, add a weight on top of the veggies which will keep the contents beneath the brine.The goal is to keep veggies submerged under brine during fermentation.
- Cover container with a swatch of cloth (not cheesecloth), a dish towel or tea towel to keep flies and dust out. Secure with a twist tie, elastic strap or rubber band. If using mason jar, you can secure the cloth with the metal ring.
- Initially, there may not be enough brine to cover entire contents. Check after 1 day. Add reserved brine as needed to completely cover the contents.
- Ferment for 14 days.
- Remove weight and lids and transfer to a jar with a tightly closing lid. Store in refrigerator. Enjoy within 1-2 months.