Guest Post: Mama Oh’s Kimchi


Awhile back I was talking to my pastor’s wife about making kimchi. I love eating kimchi, but I had no idea how to make it. I guess I didn’t have enough motivation to try to find a recipe online or anything either. But at some point in the conversation we agreed that it was the mark of a “real Korean woman” to know how to make homemade kimchi.

Recently, some other friends who shared my enthusiasm for kimchi and I finally decided to give it a try. I didn’t actually organize this experience so it was nice to just join in. I didn’t even have to find a recipe because some of the others are Korean and asked their mothers.

The process took up much of the day — we soaked the cabbage for 3 hours, made the paste, then coated the cabbage in the paste and jarred it. Now it has to ferment at room temperature for 24 hours, then in the refrigerator for 3 days. But we did a preliminary taste test and it tastes really good. It’s definitely cheaper and better tasting than anything you can get in stores here in Madison. I’m really excited to eat it when it’s fully ready.

Below is the hand-transcribed recipe of Mama Oh’s kimchi
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Note the quote of the day at the bottom of the page. “Get into the armpits of the kimchi; get it all in there so you hear it laugh when it’s tickled!” It sounds ridiculous, but there actually is some logic behind the statement. In order to get the best flavor, it’s important to get the pepper paste in between all the leaves of the cabbage. But yeah. Kimchi armpits. Sounds delicious right?

Achievement for today: I am now a REAL Korean woman (despite being Chinese-American). Yay!