My Kim Chee is stubborn – it won't get sour!

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    I have made my first attempt at home made Kim Chee about half a year ago, and that didn’t turn out well. It just refused to get sour. I did everything as is in the recipe. And no one in my family liked the smell of fish sauce (frankly, I think, I over did it with the fish :D )

    Last week I tried to make it again, and I think I failed again. I substituted fish sauce with soy sauce, and I forgot to add radish. Now it has been almost a week and it is still not sour. I don’t know what I did wrong. What causes it to get sour, is it the radish? In store theere is kimchi and in ingridients there is no anchovy sauce or radish and then there is one (my favorite) with anchivy sauce but no radish and both are sour. Am I the “black thumb” of Kim Chee making? :) Or should I just give it more time? Maybe let it sit outside the fridge? Thank you in advance for any input! :)



    The fermentation that makes kimchee “sour” is the growth of beneficial micoorganisms. This requires three things: the proper amount of salt/brine and the proper temperature and the proper length of time. Without this you will have a yummy “fresh” kimchee but not a sour fermented one.

    The brining takes about 1 tb of pickling salt for each two cups of water – mix the brine well and let it sit until it isn’t cloudy anymore, then let your Napa/Chinese cabbage sit in it for 6 to 15 hours at room temperature before you drain it off and proceed with the recipe.

    Once you have it mixed up with whatever paste you are using, it needs to sit in a closed but not totally airtight container at a temperature under 68 degrees (I find 58 – 65 works fine) for about 4 to 6 days.

    Then you refrigerate it.

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