An easy kimchi with sweet onions! Simple, delicious and great with Korean grilled dishes.
Onions are one of the basic ingredients in many dishes around the world. They are versatile and available all year round. But when spring comes, freshly picked onions are tender and sweet. Onion kimchi (yangpa kimchi, 양파김치), along with pa kimchi (파김치), is a springtime favorite in Korea. This crispy, flavorful and delicious onion kimchi pairs particularly well with Korean grilled dishes.
While any type of onion is fine for making kimchi, a mild, sweet variety is best — the kind you would use in your salad. My favorite are Georgia-grown small Vidalia bulbs, which are usually available here in 3-pound bags.
Onions lose some of their bite when salted and soften further as the kimchi ferments, developing more sweetness in the process.
How to make onion kimchi
Probably the hardest part of making onion kimchi is peeling and slicing. To prevent them from cracking, soak the onions in ice-cold water for about 30 minutes before peeling. Halve the onion from the tip to the end of the bulb and remove the outer skin. Place the onion half, cut-side down, on a cutting board and slice lengthwise at a slight angle into 2 or 3 even wedges. Depending on the size, this results in 4 to 6 pieces per onion.
Since this is kimchi, the onions need to be pre-salted. Simply soak the onion wedges in salted water for about an hour.
Onion kimchi doesn’t need a lot of other flavorful veggies, but a bit of scallions and/or garlic chives add a nice pop of color. I don’t use garlic or ginger in this kimchi, but feel free to add some if you’d like.
As for condiments, onion kimchi can be seasoned with fish sauce (myulchiaekjeot or kkanari aekjeot). I like to use a combination of fish sauce and saeujeot (salted and fermented shrimp). As long as you’re using sweet onions, you don’t need an additional sweetener, but depending on the sweetness of your onion, a little sugar will help.
For a vegan version, you can substitute soup soy sauce for the fish sauce and salted shrimp.
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Yangpa Kimchi (Onion Kimchi)
To prevent them from cracking, soak the onions in ice-cold water for about 30 minutes before peeling. Halve the onion from the tip to the end of the bulb and remove the outer skin. Place the onion half, cut-side down, on a cutting board and slice lengthwise at a slight angle into 2 or 3 even wedges.
Dissolve the salt in 2 cups of water and pour over the onions. Let rest for about an hour, turning halfway through.
Whisk together the sticky powder and 1/2 cup water. Simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, until thickened into a thin paste. let it cool down Then mix all the seasoning ingredients in a large bowl.
Drain the onions from the salt water. Rinse the onion once with fresh water and drain well.
Add the onions and toss well until the onion slices are evenly coated with the spices.
Toss in the optional spring onion and/or garlic chives. Store the kimchi in an airtight container. Keep it at room temperature for a day and then put it in the fridge. Onion kimchi can be eaten right away, but the flavor will develop as it ferments in the fridge for over a week or two.
A few tablespoons of vinegar in salted water can help remove the onion’s sharp bite. I don’t find it necessary with Vidalia onions, but it will help with spicier onions.