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Kohlrabi literally means cabbage turnip in German. It’s a member of the cole family along with broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale and others. There are several varieties of kohlrabi, manifesting as either green-skinned or purple-skinned.
Kohlrabi can be eaten raw, cooked in various ways, or, as you’ll see here, made into a delicious kimchi! Traditional kimchi typically contains both cabbage and turnip, so we figured kohlrabi would make a dynamite simple kimchi on its own… Boy, were we right!
Red pepper powder is available at Asian/Korean markets. The only ingredient should be red peppers (no salt or preservatives). I’m partial to the stuff that’s actually from Korea (as opposed most brands which are from China). You might also find powder in Middle eastern or Latin American markets.
- 2 kohlrabi bulbs
- 4-6 scallions
- 3-5" piece fresh ginger
- 6-8 garlic cloves, peeled
- ¼ cup red pepper powder
- 1-2 oz. tamari or soy sauce
- 1-2 oz. fish sauce
- filtered water
- sea salt
- Dissolve salt into room temperature or warm water (in the ratio of 3 tablespoons/45mL fine grain sea salt to one quart/liter of water) in a one-gallon (or larger) glass or ceramic container. Stir until salt dissolves.
- Cut greens and stems from kohlrabi. Peel the fibrous outer layer until you reach mostly white flesh. (You can use greens like you would beet greens!) Compost the peels. I also saved a few of the stems (see pic) and threw them in for a bit of color and maybe flavor.
- Cut bulbs into quarters, then into thin (1/8" or thinner) slices using a mandoline, V-slicer, or knife.
- Add slices to the brine. Cover with a plastic lid or plate and weigh down (I use a wine bottle filled with water) so that the contents stay under the brine. Leave for 4-6 hours.
- Drain (but do not rinse) the veggies through a colander, reserving about a cup of the brine.
- Peel ginger (using a spoon) and roughly chop. Add to bowl of a food processor. If not using food processor, mince the ginger and add to a bowl.
- Peel and grate the garlic and roughly chop. Add to bowl of a food processor. If not using food processor, mince garlic and add to a bowl.
- Chop 2-3 of the scallions into ¼" slices. Add to food processor. If not using food processor, slice into thinner (1/16") strips and add to bowl.
- Chop the remaining scallions into 1-inch pieces.
- Add pepper powder, 1 ounce tamari and 1 oz. fish sauce to mixing bowl. Vegan variation: omit fish sauce and use 2 ounces tamari.
- Stir and mash contents (or pulse with food processor) together until a paste forms. Add more tamari and fish sauce as needed or desired until you achieve a paste-- not too dry, not too runny.
- Wearing a latex or plastic glove to protect yourself from the heat of the peppers, Mix paste thoroughly with your hands into the drained vegetables and the other half of the scallions. You can mix everything directly in the fermenting container, or in a separate large mixing bowl. Mix until the veggies are coated nicely with the paste.
- Pack the jar (a one-gallon size, or two quart-sized jars should suffice) with the vegetables.
- Cover with a plastic lid or plate, and weigh down so that the contents stay under the brine.
- If using smaller (quart) jars, find a small glass jar (filled with water) that closely fits inside the diameter of the jar. No need to insert a plate or lid if using smaller jars.
- Cover jar(s) with a cloth and rubber band to keep flies out.
- If after one day, the contents are not completely submerged, top it off with some of the reserved brine.
- Store in a warmest spot in your kitchen for at least 14 days. Note: Your house will smell like kimchi.
- Taste after 14 days. If still too cruncy, wait a few more days. When you like texture, move to refrigerator.