Chinese Cabbage Soup & Homemade Kimchi Recipe


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I received a big head of chinese cabbage in my CSA box last week so first thing that came to mind was soup. I love a simple comforting soup with strands of bright green cabbage in it and bright carrot coins. I wanted it to have a chinese inspired taste so I used ginger, garlic and kombu to flavor the broth and finished it off with a salty splash of soy sauce. This recipe is easy & quick to make, healthy and detoxifying. Cabbage contains sulfur-rich phytonutrients that trigger a detoxifying dance deep inside your cells. This dance disarms toxic chemicals and clears them from the body before they can cause harm. The kombu when soaked into the broth, not only adds a wide range of vitamins & minerals but it also helps aid in digestion which might help with the gassiness cabbage can sometimes cause.

photo 2Chinese Cabbage Soup

2 32 oz. cartons of broth

1 head of chinese cabbage

3 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced

1 celery stalk

6 carrots, diced or coined

1/2 piece of kombucha

olive oil or coconut oil, just a swish

soy sauce, to finish at end

photo 2Pour a swish of oil into your soup pan and begin to heat. Add the diced, celery, garlic, ginger, carrots and a crack of fresh pepper.  Saute over medium heat, (about 5 minutes or until carrots are a little tender) stirring often so the garlic doesn’t burn.

photo 3Next, add your broth of choice. Bring soup up to a boil.

photo 5 Once boiling, turn heat down so that the soup is simmering and bubbling very gently. Add your 1/2 piece of kombu. This is going to give the broth a wonderful flavor and enhance its nutritional profile. Allow to simmer for 20-30 minutes.

photo 4In the mean time, clean and chop your cabbage into bite size strips.

photo 1Add the cabbage towards the end. I like a little crunch to mine so that’s why I add it last. Feel free to add in whenever!

photo 4Ladle into your favorite bowl. Pour a dash of soy sauce and a sprinkle of fresh pepper and slurp away.

heartSo I was on a cabbage kick, what can I say?

After making this soup, I decided that I wanted to make my own batch of kimchi. Call me a nerd if you will, but I had so much fun researching methods, gathering all the ingredients, and preparing my cabbage just so, for proper fermention.

I have to say though. My house stunk.

As each day passed, the cabbage grew happier in it’s fermentation stage. As the cabbage grew happier, the air got funkier.

This is good though…Stank means its successfully doing its thing! Try explaining that to my poor boyfriend who lives with me.  So after many apologies to him, after many incense sticks burned to cover the scent, and after handling my jars of kimchi like they were my new pets, I am proud to say that I have successfully created a delicious batch of fermented goodness!

Way better then any store-bought version.

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I have to give it up for this post. It was the recipe that inspired me and guided me in the right direction. One thing I did different, is that I did not make a rice slurry (used to keep it thick) and I only used one head of cabbage. I also added one whole daikon radish.

Step one: Brining the Cabbage

1 head Napa Cabbage

1/4 to 1/2 cup coarse sea salt or Kosher salt

Cut cabbage into 1-2″ bite sized pieces, or leave it whole if you have a crock or food tub large enough to ferment whole heads of cabbage. Toss cabbage with salt. I sprinkle by the hand full. Generally you need a few tablespoons for 3 or 4 hand fulls of cabbage. Cover the cabbage with ice if your house is warm. Allow to soak for 4 hours. Save the brine that is at the bottom of the bowl and set aside. Rinse the cabbage 3 or 4 times and squeeze all of the liquid from the cabbage.

Step Two: Make Sauce

About 1 cup hot sauce or chili paste (I used Sirracha)

1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

3-4 tablespoons oyster sauce or fish sauce (you can use vegetarian)

4-5 garlic cloves, minced or grated

1 tablespoon ginger, minced or grated

1 Apple peeled, cored and diced

1 bunch green onions, sliced

One Daikon radish, minced

2 tablespoons honey

A good Pinch: Ground Cinnamon

To make this easy, just throw everything in a food processor (except the hot sauce, honey, and oyster sauce) Once diced, add the ingredients to a bowl and mix in the liquid ingredients.

Step Three: Fermenting

Pour sauce over cabbage and coat all leaves evenly. Pack very tightly into jars, pushing out any air pockets as you pack.  Insure that your kimchi is covered with enough liquid and not exposed to too much air. If needed, use the reserved brine to fill the jar up to the top. Cover with lid. Leave at room temperature in a dark place (I place a towel over my jars) 2-4 days or until fermented. Placing your  jars on cookie sheets helps catch any dribble. A good batch of kimchi will fizzle like soda pop when opened. Bubbles will rise and gas should release with a pop, when the jar is opened. This is how you know it is done, it will bubble and smell sour much like a pickle, maybe a bit sweet, and of course spicy. If it stays alive and fizzy in the fridge, you my friend have made some kickin’ kimchi!
Fermenting- Time will vary according to the temperature of your home. Two or three days generally or up to four. You can ferment much, much longer however it will be more sour.

Speed It Up- Add whey or juice from a previous batch of kimchi. Juice from store bought kimchi will work. Doing so will cause it to ferment in as little as 36 hours. When adding juice from a previous batch my kimchi LITERALLY becomes explosive. Be sure not to over pack it. (When opened it bubbles over like a child’s science project Volcano)

photo 2This stuff is loaded with healthy probiotics for good gut flora!! There is a beautiful sweetness that comes from the apple and honey and an unexpected nuttiness from the cinnamon. It’s spicy, but very balanced. I plan on eating it on top of salads and over plain quinoa.


I’m also going to make a few of these recipes too:


Kimchi Fried Quinoa


Hot & Sour Kimchi & Quinoa Stew


Let me know if you make any of these recipes! Post comments below 🙂