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Home Cooking 6

Fermented Napa cabbage (酸白菜, sour cabbage) – sharing how to make it at home and some basic recipes

borntolovefood | Jan 21, 201506:17 PM

Fermented Napa cabbage is a traditional food to eat in the winter months for people living in northern China. While the Korean kimchi is also a form of fermented Napa cabbage, the Chinese version differs from kimchi in both appearance and taste. Its main characteristics are: pale yellow in color, sour in flavor, and crispy firm in texture.

Here is how one can make it at home:
• Cut Napa Cabbage lengthwise into 4 quarters, blanch each in boiling water for a few seconds and remove
• Tightly pack the cabbage quarters in a container (I prefer using 5-gal plastic bucket), weigh the cabbage down with something heavy (I use stainless steel discs)
• Pour blanching water (cooled to room temperature) into the container for total immersion of cabbage, cover with lid to keep away dust and wait for fermentation to take place (at least 10 days if room is warm)

Once it is fermented, judged by how it tastes, I pack the cabbage in plastic bags, 2-4 pieces per bag, and store them in the refrigerator.

Sour cabbage adds umami to a dish. So it requires only simple preparation to make the dish taste good. Here are 2 basic recipes:

Sour cabbage salad
• Squeeze dry the cabbage and cut crosswise into thin strips, place in deep dish to form a thick layer (about 1”)
• Spread a thin layer of julienned ginger and green onion on top of cabbage
• Heat some oil in pan and pour in a 1:1 mixture of white vinegar and sugar (cover quickly to avoid being splattered)
• When sugar is dissolve/melted, pour the liquid over the ginger and scallion-topped cabbage
• Toss to mix and serve

Sour cabbage and fish soup
• Cut cabbage crosswise into 1-inch pieces
• Gently slice white fish fillet into 1x2x0.3” pieces, lightly coat with cornstarch
• Heat your favorite stock/broth in a pot and add cabbage, let it boil and then simmer
• When almost ready to serve, slide the fish pieces in
• When the fish pieces are done, season with white pepper powder and a little bit of salt and serve

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