My friend’s Korean mother came to my house and taught me how to make homemade kimchi and I am forever grateful to her. I eat so much kimchi. I buy bags of them from the Asian market and they are not cheap. I also like to incorporate kimchi into a variety of dishes.
a quick and easy recipe that only takes 30 minutes of hands-on-time Full of healthy, gut-healing probiotics, the benefits of eating kimchi are endless. This authentic kimchi recipe is vegan adaptable, gluten-free and can be made as spicy or as mild as you like!
what is kimchi ?
Kimchi, the national food of South Korea, is a spicy pickled vegetable dish. Kimchi is traditionally made by combining cabbage, scallions, or radishes in a brine with garlic, ginger, chili pepper, and fish sauce, and allowing the ingredients to ferment. Kimchi has a rich history in South Korea dating back more than two thousand years.
what does kimchi taste like?
Kimchi tastes sour, tangy, salty, spicy, and pungent! It’s similar to sauerkraut in that it is fermented cabbage, but kimchi is packed with flavor, umami and a little (or a lot) of heat! The fermentation process is what gives kimchi its sour flavor.
Is it really spicy?
Depends on what kind of kimchi you make and/or buy. Some can be really spicy but with homemade kimchi you can tailor it to your spice level.
Why is it spelled kimchi and kimchee?
Kimchee is the traditional way that South Koreans spell it. Apparently ‘kimchi’ was made up from Japanese and it’s some kind of word-war.
Why is homemade kimchi better than store-bought?
- So much cheaper (cost-effective)
- You can make it your own
- You can share with friends and family
- It’s fun!
- Like so many things, there are so many variations to kimchi, and people have their own personal preferences. I just wanted to provide you with a starting point, and I’m sure you will adapt to your own tastes!
- Some people add sugar, some don’t.
- Some add carrots, some don’t.
- And, to be clear this is not the exact recipe from the mother of the bride, but a little simplified. The ingredients are similar (except I believe she added dried shrimp) but I tried to make this as easy as possible.
- And guess what? It IS easy! And fun!
Kimchi Homemade recipe !!!
- 2 pounds napa cabbage, cored and cut into 1-inch pieces (one large cabbage) you can use other kind of cabbages
- ¼ cup sea salt (60 grams)
- 2 cups radish, cut into matchstick strips (optional, or use carrots)
- 1 bunch scallions, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, sliced ( 2-3 disks, peels ok)
- 6 cloves garlic, whole
- 1 shallot, quartered (optional)
- 2–6 tablespoons Korean-style red pepper flakes (gochugaru) if you don't find gochugaru pepper on market you can use also replace it with red ground cayenne pepper
- 2 tablespoons of soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons sugar ( or an alternative like honey, brown rice syrup)
- 1 tablespoon glutenous rice powder optional
- SALT THE CABBAGE (6-8 hours): Reserve 1-2 outer leaves of the napa cabbage and refrigerate for later use (wrap in plastic). Cut the remaining cabbage and place it in a large bowl with the salt and toss. Add enough cool water to cover the cabbage and stir until salt is dissolved. Keep the cabbage submerged with a plate over the bowl and let stand at room temperature 6-8 hours (giving a stir midway through if possible) or overnight.
- Drain the cabbage, saving the brine. Rinse the cabbage (not excessively, just a little quick rinse), drain, squeeze out any excess water, or blot with paper towels, and place it back in the bowl, adding the daikon radish and scallions.
- Make the PASTE: Place the ginger, garlic, shallot, red pepper flakes, fish sauce (or alternatives) and sugar in your food processor. Add optional rice powder (see notes!) Process until well combined, pulsing, until it becomes a thick paste.
- Scoop the paste over the cabbage and using tongs or gloves, mix and massage the vegetables and the red pepper mixture together really well, until well coated.
- PACK the cabbage into a large, two-quart jar (or two, quart jars) or a crock, leaving 1-2 inches room at the top for juices to release. Add a little of the reserved brine to just cover the vegetables, pressing them down a bit ( so they are submerged) Place the whole cabbage leaf over top, pressing down- this should help keep the kimchi submerged under the brine. You can also use a fermentation weight placed over top of the whole leaf to keep it submerged. Or a small zip lock filled with water. Basically anything that touches air may mold – but no worries if this happens (see notes) it is not ruined.
- FERMENT (3-4 days) Cover loosely with a lid (allowing air to escape) and place the jar in a baking dish (or big bowl) to collect any juices that may escape. (The idea though, is to keep as much of the flavorful juice in the jar, so don’t overfill.) Leave this somewhere dark and cool (55F-65F is ideal) for 3 days. A basement or lower cooler cabinet in the pantry or kitchen away from appliances works best.
- EVENING OF DAY 3: Check for fermentation action or bubbles. Tap the jar and see if tiny bubbles rise to the top. Check for overflow (which also indicates fermentation). If you see bubbles, it is ready to store in the refrigerator where it will continue to ferment and develop more flavor slowly. For a softer tangier kimchi, you can continue to ferment for 3 more days or longer. If no action, give it another day or two. If you don’t see bubbles when tapping the jar, it just may need a couple more days- especially in cooler climates. Be patient. See the troubleshooting section below.
- REFRIGERATE: After you see bubbles (usually 3-5 days) the kimchi is ready, but it won’t achieve its full flavor and complexity, until about 2 weeks (in the fridge) slowly fermenting. The longer you ferment, the more complex and tangy the taste. If you like a fizzy brine, tighten the lid, burping every week or so. If you don’t want to think about it, give the lid one loose twist, so it’s on there, but gases can escape.
- This will keep for months on end in the fridge (as long as it is submerged in the brine) and will continue to ferment very slowly, getting more and more flavorful. Feel free to remove the cabbage leaf and just press kimchi down under the brine, after each use. ( See notes for adding more brine.)
Instructions Tips !
- If you like your kimchi, thick, and less watery, you can use sweet glutenous rice powder to thicken. This is not the same as rice flour! Cook 1 tablespoon glutenous rice powder with ½ cup water, in a small pot over medium heat, stirring constantly until it boils. Let cool, still whisking occasionally. Add to the chili paste in the food processor. Continue with recipe.
- BRINE If you need or want to add more salt brine to the kimchi, to keep it submerged, mix water and salt at this ratio: 1 cup water and 1 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt. Stir it together first, pour over the kimchi.
Storage !Kimchi will keep well in the fridge for several months. It will still be safe to eat after that point, but the flavor will intensify and become more pungent, and the veggies may lose some of their crispness.