See also Making Kimchi – part 1
Okay, now that you have all your ingredients, the next step is chopping all your veggies. I suggest starting this either the morning of your kimchi-making day, or even the day before. It’s a lot of work, and you’ll want to save yourself some cleanup time before the big production begins for part 3.
Maangchi recommends using a food processor to create the kimchi paste – that’s what I did and it worked brilliantly. However, for prep, you’ll have to peel 2 heads’ worth of garlic cloves and 1 large onion (in my case 2 smaller ones) then cut the onion into manageable quarters for your machine. If you don’t have a processor, be careful about choosing to use a blender (you don’t want garlicky smoothies the following day!), maybe chop everything quite fine then mash or use a mortar & pestle to grind it finer.
The carrots and daikon both get peeled, then julienned into very thin strips. This was a ton of work, even when I switched from my cheapo chef knife to the Henckle. I stored these separately in plastic containers for the next day’s assembly.
The other veggies that go into this recipe are green onions (scallions) and leeks. Wash both for surface dirt, then slice, on the bias, for a nice look. My hand started hurting by the end of the green onions!
Cut your leeks down the center before slicing on the bias, it will help keep the final pieces more in the shape of the onions (and not turn into rings). Once you’ve sliced the leeks, rinse them well again (I put them in a sieve and rinsed them in running water) – these things always carry so much dirt! Store the green onion and leeks in a glass or metal container covered in plastic wrap.
And then there’s the napa cabbage… With 10 pounds of this stuff, it’s also a good idea to start early. I simply cut the cabbages in half lengthwise, then cut the core out of the bottom. Chop the halves into pieces that are about 1.5″ square. I used the drain stopper thing in my sink to first rinse all of the cabbage a few times, and conveniently drain this too. The cabbage can be stored in a clean plastic bag, or big plastic containers if you’ve got them.
You’ll be accessing the cabbage first in part 3, so keep it easily accessible. The final cabbage prep takes a whopping 1.5 hours, so save yourself lots of time to get this ready (cabbage pictures coming in our next installment – stay tuned!)