2 medium size napa cabbages and 2 Korean radishes, salt, sweet rice flour, sugar, water, 4-6 cups of hot pepper flakes, fish sauce, white onion, fresh garlic, ginger, green onions, Asian chives, fresh oysters (optional)
How to handle cabbages and radish:
1. Cut the cabbages in half, and then slit each half through the core, but not through the rest of the leaves.
2. Soak each piece in cold water and sprinkle some salt (about ½ cup of salt per 1 medium size cabbage), and then set it aside for 2 hours.
*tip: the stems should get more salt than the leaves
3. Skin 2 radishes and cut them into 1 inch cubes. Do this by cutting them into several disks, and then cutting horizontally, and then vertically. Put them in a big bowl and sprinkle them with ½ cup of salt. Then set these aside, too.
4. 2 hours later, turn the pieces of cabbage over so they get salted evenly. Turn the radishes as well.
5. Another 2 hours later, you will see the cabbage look softer than before, and it should have shrunk.
*the total salting process will take 4 hours
6. Rinse the salted cabbage and radish with cold water 3 times.
Making kimchi paste:
1. Put ½ cup of sweet rice flour (you can replace with plain flour) and 3 cups of water into a skillet and mix them up. Then cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly.
2. When you see some bubbles, pour 1/4 cup of sugar into the porridge and stir one more minute. Then cool it down.
3. Place the cold porridge into a big bowl. Now you will add all your ingredients one by one.
4. Add 1 cup of fish sauce, 4~6 cups of hot pepper flakes (depending on your taste), 1 cup of crushed garlic, 1 tbs of minced ginger, 1 medium size minced onion
*tip: it's much easier to use a food processor.
5. Add 7 diagonally-sliced green onions, 2 cups of Asian chives (cut into 2 inches in length), and 2 cups of shredded Korean radish.
6. Add 2 cups of frozen oysters, but this is optional. (I found out lots of people can't eat them.)
7. Mix all ingredients well and your Kimchi paste is done.
8. Are you ready to spread our paste on the leaves and make your kaktugi?
* I recommend you wear rubber gloves so that you don't irritate your skin.
9. Spread the kimchi paste onto each leaf of the cabbage, and make a good shape out of the leaves by slightly pressing with both hands.
Put it into an air- tight sealed plastic container or glass jar. Mix your leftover paste with your radish cubes (this is kaktugi).
You can eat it fresh right after making or wait until it's fermented. Put the Kimchi container at room temperature for 1 or 2 days and keep it in the refrigerator.
How do you know it's fermented or not?
One or 2 days after, open the lid of the Kimchi container. You may see some bubbles with lots of liquids, or maybe sour smells. That means it's already being fermented.