This mild version omits the chilies. Begin making it at least 3 days ahead. This recipe is nice because it is mild for those who don’t like too much heat.
7 tablespoons kosher salt, divided
1 large head Savoy cabbage, outer leaves discarded, cabbage quartered lengthwise with root ends left intact
1 tablespoon sweetener
1 teaspoon fish sauce (such as nam pla or nuoc nam – or if you don’t want to use fish sauce, try a little soy sauce in place of it)
1 Asian pear, peeled, cored and cut into matchstick strips
½ pound daikon (Japanese white radish) cut into matchstick strips
6 green onions, cut into matchstick strips
3 cloves garlic, minced
1. Mix 6 cups water and 6 tablespoons coarse sea salt in a very large bowl, stirring to dissolve salt. Place cabbage, cut side up, in water so that water almost covers the cabbage. Put a heavy plate on top cabbage, then top with an iron skillet to weigh down to submerge cabbage in water. Set aside at room temperature 10-12 hours.
2. Drain cabbage; discard water. Rinse cabbage under cold water. Mix 2 cup water, 1 tablespoon coarse sea salt, sugar and fish sauce or soy sauce in same large bowl. Let brine stand until salt dissolves, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.
3. Mix pear, daikon, green onions, and garlic in a medium bowl. Lift each cabbage leaf and distribute some radish mixture between each leaf, about 1 to 1 ½ tablespoons. Nestle layered cabbage in bowl of brine as tightly as possible. Put heavy plate on top cabbage, then top with heavy iron skillet to weigh down and submerge cabbage in brine. Set aside at room temperature for at least 24 hours. Then refrigerate kimchi submerged in brine for 24 hours. (Can be made 3 weeks ahead. Remove weight. Cover and keep refrigerated in brine.)
4. Lift cabbage from brine, allowing excess brine to drip back down into bowl. Place on a work surface. Cut crosswise into 1-to 2-inch slices and serve.
Serve 12-16 people