a balanced plate with room for dessert

How to Make Kimchi


homemade kimchi |

Kimchi. Kimchee. Fermented cabbage. However you spell it out, there’s no denying that this stuff is good. Growing up,I could always find a huge jar of this spicy-salty-sour food. It was food at any time of day, with any kind of food. Oatmeal for breakfast? Boom, kimchi on top. Rice for dinner? Boom, kimchi as a side. Snack? Kimchi straight outta the jar (sorry, Mom).

homemade kimchi |

Now that I’m all grown up without a mom to fill my fridge, I have been loving a sad, kimchi-less life. I finally went to the store to buy a some a few weeks ago and grabbed a jar of it off the shelf. $8.75. Excuse me?! I put it back, pulled up a recipe on my phone and bought the ingredients to make my own instead.

It turns out that making kimchi is actually kind of easy. The only annoying part is the wait time between all the soaking steps. But the results are worth it!

how to make kimchi |

So join me on my journey as I not only make a batch of homemade kimchi, but as I discover new ways to cook with it as well.

homemade kimchi |

Homemade Kimchi
adapted from David Lebovitz and the Kitchen Wench

1 large head Napa cabbage
4 cups water
1/2 cup kosher salt, divided
2 pounds daikon radish, cut into matchstick
2 tablespoons dried salted shrimp, chopped
2/3 cup Korean chili powder
1/2 cup fish sauce
2″ piece of ginger, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
6 green onions, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 tablespoon sugar

  1. Remove and discard outer leaves of cabbage. Cut lengthwise into quarters and cut into the stem to remove most of it.
  2. Combine water with 1/4 cup of the kosher salt in a large bowl. Plunge cabbage sections into the water one at a time. Carefully separate the leaves under water and shake gently to get water and salt mixture in between the leaves.
  3. Drain water from the cabbage segments, then sprinkle a light layer of kosher salt over each leaf, making sure to cover the entire leaf.
  4. Place cabbage into a large bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let sit for 4- 6 hours, or until cabbage leaves are floppy.
  5. Rinse cabbage with water twice in clean water, then squeeze out as much water as possible. Place into a strainer and let sit for 1 hour for the remaining water to drain out.
  6. Meanwhile, place the daikon radish, shrimp, chili powder, fish sauce, ginger, garlic, green onions, and sugar into a large bowl. Mix with a wooden spoon until well combined.
  7. Chop drained cabbage into 1″ pieces and place into large bowl with radish. Toss with a pair of tongs until well combined. Once all the cabbage has been coated, place into an airtight container and store in a cool, dark place for 3 days to ferment. After 3 days, the kimchi should be tangy, crunchy, and spicy. Store in the refrigerator until being used.

Author: Jenni

Dietitian by day and Midwest food blogger by night. Lover of whiskey, running, and all things food.

7 thoughts on “How to Make Kimchi

  1. I love kimchi and always balk at the price too. This seems so easy to make at home. I’ll have to try it soon!

  2. Fun fact: Kimchi is the national dish of the Koreas!

  3. Pingback: Top 13 Recipes of 2013 |

  4. These pictures look amazing. I want to try the recipe, but – where do you find dried salted shrimp??

  5. To anyone who can’t find dried shrimp, just use Thia’s fish sauce. The main purpose is to get a bit of seafood taste. Please note that the fish sauce is VERY salty, so use 1TBS for each head of cabbage (assuming the salt is already washed off the leaves, too). Some people like to make a lot of them and store them in the fridge right away except for one. You let the first jar ferment until ready to eat. When you about to finish the first jar, take the 2nd jar out of fridge and let it ferment for a day. So you will always have fresh and crunchy kimchi to eat. I like my kimchi crunchy so I think that this is a great tip to follow.

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