How to Make Kimchi
A quick and easy recipe for authentic Kimchi, full of healthy probiotics that will keep for months in the fridge. Easy, flavorful and adaptable! Vegan adaptable!
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 3 days
- Total Time: 72 hours 30 minutes
- Yield: 8 cups
- Category: fermented, sides, preserved
- Method: fermented
- Cuisine: Korean
- 2 pounds napa cabbage, cored and cut into 1-inch pieces (one large cabbage)
- ¼ cup sea salt
- 2 cups daikon 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) See notes!
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce ( or use vegan fish sauce, miso, or soy sauce), more to taste
- 2 teaspoons sugar ( or alternative)
- OPTIONAL :1 tablespoon glutenous rice powder ( see notes)
- Reserve 1-2 outer leaves of the napa cabbage and refrigerate for later use (wrap in plastic). Cut remaining cabbage and place it in a 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 cabbage, drain, squeeze out any excess water and place it back in the bowl, adding the daikon radish and scallions.
- Place the ginger, garlic, shallot, red pepper flakes, fish sauce ( or alternatives) and sugar in your food processor. Process until well combined, pulsing, until it becomes a paste. Scoop 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 2-quart glass jar (or two, 1 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. Cover with a lid and place the jar on a rimmed baking sheet 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 over fill) Leave on the counter for 3 days, then store in a sealed jar in the refrigerator where it will continue to ferment. The kimchi is ready, but won’t achieve its full flavor and complexity, until about 2 weeks, slowly fermenting. The longer you ferment, the more complex and sour the taste.
- This will keep for months on end in the fridge and will continue to ferment very slowly, getting more and more flavorful.
- To serve it in a bowl as a side dish, scoop out using a slotted spoon, drizzle with sesame oil and toasted sesame seeds, fresh scallions.
For milder kimchi, start with 2 tablespoons Korean chili flakes ( you can always stir in more). I like a spicy version with 6 tablespoons. 4 tablespoons is medium spicy.
If you like your kimchi, thick, and less watery, you can use sweet rice powder (also called glutinous rice powder ) to thicken. 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.
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