【CONFINEMENT】Kimchi + Sauerkraut Fermentation Process

A process that satisfies all confinement criteria: obsessive hand-washing, gut-health maintenance and delicious use of vegetable scraps.

The most important thing throughout this whole process to stop your kimchi and sauerkraut from going bad: sterilise all. the. time. Always with boiling water, always let them dry completely and come back to room temperature.

MZ’s Kimchi Process

[to be made to the sound of this Japanese City Pop mix]

1 head of Napa cabbage (I have also done this successfully with green or red cabbage and Swiss chard)
Any other vegetables chopped in matchsticks (carrots, parsnips, scraps like broccoli stalks work well)
5 tbsp mineral salt
3 tbsp chili flakes (preferably Korean chili, but work fine)
2 tbsp fresh garlic (minced – I have gotten away with powdered before, though)
1 tbsp fresh ginger (peeled, minced)
4 stalks of green onions (sliced)
2 tbsp soy sauce (you can sub with tamari if gluten-free, or fish sauce if not vegetarian/vegan)
1 apple (cored, roughly chopped — you can also use pears, beets… generally just a good way to use up overripe fruit)
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
Warm filtered water
Sterilised glass jars
Food-safe gloves
  1. Separate cabbage leaves and chop into bite-sized pieces. Dissolve a quarter cup of sea salt in a bowl of warm water. Pour salt water over cabbage leaves. Toss a little to distribute evenly. Allow salted cabbage to sit for 2-4 hours.
  2. Meanwhile, combine the chili flakes, garlic, ginger, green onions, soy sauce, apple, honey and apple cider vinegar in a food processor until it becomes a paste. Add a little water if it’s having trouble.
  3. Shake out cabbage and transfer to another bowl.
  4. Add the paste to your cabbage along with the rest of your matchstick vegetables and with clean hands and/or gloves (I’d recommend gloves, as your hands will smell like Kimchi all day if not) massage without breaking your vegetables, until the chili paste is evenly distributed and every piece is coated.
  5. Transfer into your sterilised jar, pressing down so there aren’t gaps. Pour any liquid accumulated during the mixing process into the bottle as well.
  6. Leave about 3-4 cm of room at the top of the jar before capping it tightly with a lid. Allow the bottle of Kimchi to sit at room temperature for around 48 hours, but if you like it tangier you can go for up to a week before transferring to the fridge. When you’re taste testing, used a sterilised spoon and don’t double dip.
  7. Transfer to the fridge – it’ll keep there for up to a month.

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Margaret Zhang 章凝 is an Australian-born-Chinese filmmaker, photographer, consultant and writer based between New York and Shanghai. Since establishing her website in 2009, Zhang has gone on to work with global brands including CHANEL, Swarovski, YEEZY, Bulgari, Gucci, MATCHES, Under Armour, and Louis Vuitton in a wide range of capacities both in front of and behind the camera, while completing her Bachelor of Commerce/Bachelor of Laws at The University of Sydney. Zhang’s directing, photography, and styling has been employed by the likes of VOGUE, L’Officiel, Harper’s BAZAAR, NOWNESS, and ELLE internationally. She has been listed in Forbes Asia’s 30Under30 and TimeOut’s 40Under40, and her work has been recognized as shaping the international fashion industry by the Business of Fashion BoF500 Index for four consecutive years. CNN has identified Zhang as a leading fashion photographer in Asia and ELLE named her the region’s most influential digital voice. She went on to be the first Asian face to cover ELLE Australia. In 2016, she co-founded BACKGROUND, a global consultancy for which she specialises in Western-to-Chinese and Chinese-to-Western cultural bridging for a range of luxury, lifestyle, and brand initiatives. In 2017, she exhibited a series of 39 unseen photographic works as a solo show in Sydney, and premiered her first short film – a 15-minute exploration of her visceral relationship with classical music on both performance and abstract planes – to critical acclaim. In 2018, co-curated the first annual FOREFRONT Summit focused on inter-industry problem-solving at all scales of business. From this king summit, Zhang developed FOREFRONT+ – a round table series of candid conversations covering subject matters of universal concern. In 2019, THE FACE Magazine engaged Zhang as Creative-Director-at-Large for Asia for its relaunch. Zhang is currently working on her first feature film.