A tribute to Bon Appetit's Brad Leone
Updated: Mar 16
I have become obsessed with "It's Alive with Brad!" on the Bon Appetit YouTube channel. Go watch one (or three) and agree with me that Brad and Vincenzo are the dream team we didn't know we needed. I love these shows because they're mildly science-y, have great editing, and the food is awesome! I've tried a few of the recipes, and this one below is my most successful one. It is the second most requested recipe of my food instagram posts (the first being focaccia bread from The Bread Baker's Apprentice: Mastering the Art of Extraordinary Bread). May I present...
Slightly modified from this episode.
One head Napa cabbage
~3 inch chunk of daikon radish
6 green onions, with the bottom half of the stalk cut into 2 inch pieces and the top half sliced thin
1 cup asian red chili flakes (just make sure they look like the Korean ones, but they don’t have to have Korean writing on the package I learned!)
1 inch ginger
1 whole bulb garlic
1 small onion
1/4-1/3 cup rock salt
3/8 cup fish sauce
1/2 cup water + 1/2 cup water (optional)
1/2 cup apple sauce (unsweetened)
1 tablespoon rice flour (optional)
1 tablespoon sugar (optional)
Cut the cabbage into quarters and wash them (like Brad does in the video).
Unlike the video, take the 1/2 cup water and a few teaspoons of the rock salt and mix them with your hand in the bottom of a large bowl. It doesn’t have to dissolve all the way.
Put your cabbage quarters into the bowl one at a time, using your hands to “wash” the cabbage in the briny water. Rub the remaining salt in between each leaf and let them all sit in the large bowl. Massage and mix the cabbage every 30 minutes for 2 hours like Brad says to.
Meanwhile, smash the garlic and roughly chop the ginger and onion. Put these into the food processor and blitz to a paste. Add the chili flakes, applesauce, and fish sauce and pulse a few times to mix.
OPTIONAL (to speed up the fermentation process): make a slurry of sugar, sweet rice flower, and the remaining 1/2 cup water. Add this to the chili flake mixture and mix with a spoon to combine.
After the two hours are up, cut out the cores from the cabbage and chop the leaves into whatever size pieces you want. Slice the daikon into sticks and chop the green onions as described above. Put everything back in the big bowl and do not get rid of the liquid!!
Put gloves on (important!) and toss the chili flake mixture with the vegetables until well incorporated. I didn’t have a large enough bowl so I split it into two.
Pack the kimchi into non-glass containers and pour the liquid over top. The liquid needs to cover the vegetables. If it doesn’t, just add a tiny bit more water. Seemed to turn out fine for me.
If you don’t have a fancy fermentation lid, just don’t seal the top on the container. To hold it down, put something heavy on top of the lid, but just don’t let it latch around the edges. Make sure you put a tray under the container because it will leak.
Check every few days by tasting, and make sure all the vegetables are still under liquid. When it’s to your liking, seal the top on and keep in the fridge for up to 6 months.