Laena's 황 Hwang (Yellow) Kimchi [recipe]

This is my fun "yellow" or Hwang" version of traditional "white" or "Baek" Kimchi. Unlike regular kimchi, which is made with Korean chili, Baek Kimchi doesn’t use any chili, so it isn’t spicy. Instead, it is submerged in a magical, fruity, salty, gingery brine. I call my version "yellow" since I add non-traditional, fresh turmeric, which is great for the immune system, and it adds a nice taste. 


Cabbage Pickling
1 large napa cabbage (1.6 kg / 3.5 pounds)
1/4 cup coarse sea salt
Pickling brine (Combine the salt & water below; stir till salt mostly dissolves)
3/4 cups coarse sea salt
4 cups water

Kimchi fillings
1 medium size daikon radish, julienned
3 carrots, julienned
1 Asian pear, julienned

Kimchi brine
1 Asian pear or bosc pears, peeled and seeded
1 apple, peeled and seeded
1 Tbsp minced garlic
2 pinkie-sized pieces of fresh turmeric (you can get this at any West Indian bodega in NYC, Whole Foods, or at Windfall Farms at the Union Square Greenmarket)
2 big 2-inch pieces of fresh ginger (size of 2 big man thumbs), chopped
New pickling brine
4 cups water
1 Tbsp coarse sea salt


1. Cut the cabbage in half, then cut again so you have 4 wedges. Place in a big bowl. Sprinkle the ¼ cup of salt directly on the white part of the cabbage, then pour the pickling brine onto the cabbage. Leave it at room temperature until the white part of the cabbage is flexible and wilted (for about 8 hours or overnight). Make sure all of it is submerged, so turn it over and stir it up a few times. When wilted, remove from the brine (save the brine!!) and rinse the cabbage in running water to get the salt off.

2. Puree the pear, apple, garlic, turmeric and ginger in a blender. Stir into the new pickling brine (water and salt).

3. Place the wilted, pickled cabbage quarters onto a clean board. Starting with one of your 4 cabbage quarters, from the bottom leaves, fill the cabbage with the julienned kimchi fillings, one layer of cabbage at a time, stuffing it between the leaves. Once done, place the stuffed kimchi into a large container (I use a big Tupperware), facing down. Repeat this step with the remaining ingredients. 

4. Pour the Kimchi brine (from step 2) into the kimchi container making sure that all your stuffed cabbage is covered. Place a weight (I use a gallon Ziploc bag half filled with water) on top to stop the kimchi floating and totally submerge the stuffed cabbage in the brine. Close the lid or cover with a towel. Leave at room temperature for 1 to 3 days, depending on how strong you like it! If it is cold in your home, leave it for at least 48 hours, then move it to the fridge. I like to store my kimchi in quart sized glass mason jars, but any covered container will work. You can even store them in ziploc bags. You can start serving the kimchi immediately, but it will get better after a few days. Slice the kimchi wedge before serving (I like to pull out one stuffed quadrant and slice it up in little 1-inch bite size slices).  I eat this with everything! It’s so refreshing! 

FYI The kimchi will start to taste a little rank after 4 weeks or so. But you can still use it, add it to stir fry, scrambled eggs, or rice.

Laena McCarthy