David Chang’s “Momofuku: The Cookbook” will be out in bookstores on Tuesday and here’s one of the first recipes shared with the public: Napa Cabbage Kimchi. If you don’t know David Chang, then he’s someone you should get to know because he’s the boy genius that the culinary world has embraced. He’s doing it in the most difficult city to win in and that’s New York with his 4 restaurants: Momofuku Noodle Bar, Momofuku Ssäm Bar, Momofuku Ko and Momofuku Bakery & Milk Bar. Try out David’s Napa Cabbage Kimchi from his famed Momofuku restaurants.
At Momofuku, we make three types of kimchi: Napa cabbage (paechu), radish (from long white Korean my dishes or, failing that, Japanese daikon), and Kirby cucumber (oi). Our recipe has changed some since I learned it from my mom, who learned it from her mom. I add more sugar than they would. We let the fermentation happen in the refrigerator instead of starting the kimchi at room temperature and then moving it into the fridge when it starts to get funky. At the restaurant, we let the kimchi ferment for only a couple of weeks, instead of allowing it to get really stinky and soft. There’s a point, after about two weeks, where the bacteria that are fermenting the kimchi start producing CO2 and the kimchi takes on a prickly mouthfeel, like the feeling of letting the bubbles in a soft drink pop on your tongue. It’s right around then that I like it best.
Makes 1 to 1 ½ quarts
• 1 small to medium head Napa cabbage, discolored or loose outer leaves discarded
• 2 tablespoons kosher or coarse sea salt
• 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
• 20 garlic cloves, minced
• 20 slices peeled fresh ginger, minced
• 1/2 cup kochukaru (Korean chile powder)
• 1/4 cup fish sauce
• 1/4 cup usukuchi (light soy sauce)
• 2 teaspoons jarred salted shrimp
• 1/2 cup 1-inch pieces scallions (greens and whites)
• 1/2 cup julienned carrots
Cut the cabbage lengthwise in half, then cut the halves crosswise into 1 inch wide pieces. Toss the cabbage with the salt and 2 tablespoons of the sugar in a bowl. Let sit overnight in the refrigerator.
Combine the garlic, ginger, kochukaru, fish sauce, soy sauce, shrimp, and remaining ½ cup sugar in a large bowl. If it is very thick, add water 1/3 cup at a time until the brine is just thicker than a creamy salad dressing but no longer a sludge. Stir in the scallions and carrots.
Drain the cabbage and add it to the brine. Cover and refrigerate. Though the kimchi will be tasty after 24 hours, it will be better in a week and at its prime in 2 weeks. It will still be good for another couple weeks after that, though it will grow stronger and funkier.