Even though traditionally Kimchi is not vegetarian, a wonderful version can be made that is vegetarian. You can make it at any time of the year, from a whole range of vegetables including cabbage, daikon radish, watermelon radish, turnip, carrot, fennel, cucumbers. Mix and match.
Grab some ko choo kah roo (Korean chilli flakes) for a more authentic taste and colour. It does make a difference.
You might also like to try this alternative Kim Chi for Vegetarians.
Making Vegetarian Kimchi
One or more vegetables to fill a jar, for example, 2 daikon radishes, 15 to 20 small cucumbers, the equivalent amount of any other type of cucumber, several fennel bulbs, or a combination of vegetables to fill a medium jar.
2 Tblspn rock or sea salt
3 green onions/scallions, chopped
1/4 small red onion, chopped
2 flat Tblspn crushed red pepper flakes (ko choo kah roo) or 1 Tblspn or more of chilli powder (according to taste)
1 tspn vinegar
1 Tblspn honey
1 tspn crushed garlic
Chop the vegetables into bite size pieces or slice them. Put them in a large bowl, add the salt and toss well. Let the pickles sit for at least a couple of hours, or overnight as they release their moisture creating a natural brine.
Pour off the extra moisture – no need to drain or strain – and retain the brine.
Add the minced garlic and ginger, chopped green and red onions, the chili flakes, honey, and vinegar. Mix thoroughly.
Put your kimchi into glass jars, and add a bit of brine to each one – just a couple of tablespoons of brine per bottle will do. Place the lid on the jar.
Leave the jars of kim chi out in room temperature for 12 to 24 hours in summer or up to 5 days in winter, to give it a chance to ferment. When they begin to ferment, transfer the bottles to your refrigerator.
This will keep for about a month in the fridge, but it may sour over time. Some people enjoy the sourness of it. However, it is likely that it will not last more than a week, if your family loves kimchi!!
You can serve kim chi with just about anything. Koreans typically eat it with a bowl of rice, miso soup, and a couple of other vegetable side dishes.