-1 medium head napa cabbage (about 2lbs)
-1/4 cup iodine-free sea salt or kosher salt
-water, preferably distilled or filtered
-1 tbsp grated ginger (5-6 cloves)
-1 tsp grated peeled fresh ginger
-1 tsp granulated sugar
-2 tbsp fish sauce or salted shrimp paste, or 3 tbsp water
-1-5 tbsp korean red pepper flakes (gochugaru)
-8 oz korean radish or daikon radish, peeled and cut into matchsticks
-4 medium scallions, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
Cut the cabbage lengthwise through the stem into quarters. Cut the cores from each piece. Cut each quarter crosswise into 2-inch wide strips.
Place the cabbage in a large bowl and sprinkle with salt. Using your hands, massage the salt into the cabbage until it starts to soften a bit. Add enough water to cover the cabbage. Put a plate on top of the cabbage and weigh it down with something heavy like a jar or can of beans. Let stand for 1-2 hours.
Rinse and drain the cabbage until cold water 3 times. Set aside to drain in a colander for 15-20 minutes. Meanwhile, make the spice paste.
Rinse and dry the bowl you used for salting. Add the ginger, garlic, sugar and fish sauce, shrimp paste, or water and stir until it's a smooth paste. Stir in the gochugaru, using 1 tbsp for mild and up to 5 tbsp for spicy (about 3 1/2 tbsp). Set aside until the cabbage is ready.
Gently squeeze water from the cabbage and add it to the spice paste. Add the radish and scallions.
Using your hands, gently work the paste into the vegetables until they are thoroughly coated. The gloves are optional, but highly recommended.
Pack the kimchi into a 1 quart jar. Press down on the kimchi until the brine (the liquid comes out) rises to cover the vegetables, leaving at least 1-inch of space at the top and seal the jar.
Let it ferment for 1-5 days. Place the bowl or plate under the jar to help catch the overflow. Let the jar stand at cool room temperature, out of direct sunlight. You may see some bubbles inside the jar and brine may seep out of the lid.
Check it daily and refrigerate when ready. Check the kimchi once a day, opening the jar and pressing down on the vegetables with a clean finger or spoon to keep them submerged under the brine. (This also releases gases produced under fermentation). Taste a little at this point too. When the kimchi tastes ripe enough for your liking, transfer the jar to the refrigerator. You may eat it right away, but it's best after another week or two. Enjoy!