And, I really like to think of kimchi as the lovely (if odiferous) substantial cousin of achaar--Indian pickles. And, that to me is the essential difference. In my family, achaar is a condiment and accompaniment. I have been known to add Bedekar's lime pickle to yoghurt and cucumbers for a sinister dip for chips. My grandmother presaged the hot and spicy Cheetos by insisting the plain variety should ALWAYS be dipped in vadu mango achaar. Kimchi is closer to a side dish and eating it with rice would seem acceptable and even filling. I could never feel satiated eating rice with achaar--I would definitely need dal or a vegetable side dish.
Of course there are more practical differences. While both use salinated, hypertonic environments to hold off bacteria, kimchi also is fermented (another great method of preservation.) In addition, while salt is used to soften the cell walls of the vegetables in kimchi, in many pickles, but not all cooking is often used. I have a few more Indian pickles to post, eventually, but if you wish to read about cooking in Indian pickle recipes, look at my orange pickle recipe.
So that said, here is how we make cabbage kimchi. First, we accept the ridicule and derision that might occur from purchasing kimchi red pepper, chinese cabbage (substitute napa if desired), and turnips at a Korean grocery store. I almost never ever make kimchi without a radish, daikon, turnip component. I love their crunch. You can add shredded carrot, I often do. And to answer Modern Beet's question, spring green garlic would be great. Pea shoots are good. Nettle and sorrel work, but when added to cabbage. Rhubarb and spring garlic, it is weird but good. (Will post that eventually.)
Plan of action:
Cube a 4 inch piece of daikon or turnip. Remove the stems from 1 small cabbage and cut into thick shreds. Salt all the vegetables (use about 1/2 cup pickling salt, yes, 1/2 cup), reserve in a colander over a bowl. Squeeze the cabbage periodically.
Pour out the water and rinse these vegetables. Place in a non-reactive sealable container. Tupperware is fine but it will stain. Add:
2 scallions sliced
5 cloves garlic slivered
2 t sugar
2 T korean chili powder
1 T sesame oil
2 t ginger powder
1/4 cup soy sauce
Mash together this mixture with your hands, put in sealed container, leave out for 4 days and then refrigerate.