Homemade Kimchi Recipe (So Easy!)

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Easy Korean kimchi recipe, homemade with simple ingredients. Napa cabbage, green onions are fermented in a tangy, spicy red sauce.

If you have never eaten kimchi, you are missing out on an unbelievable, flavor packing, traditional Korean dish! While this version is technically not one pot, I kept the number of bowls to a minimum. You only need 1 bowl and 1 food processor. Trust me, it will be worth the extra dish. If you are looking to expand your condiment world, then try the Best Chimichurri Sauce (Blender) while you are at it.

What Is Kimchi? What Does It Taste Like? Is It Spicy?

Kimchi is a traditional Korean dish made from cabbage that is salted and seasoned, packed into a jar and left to the lacto-fermentation process. Each recipe is unique to each family and the length of fermentation varies from days to years. It tastes tangy and sour from the fermentation process, and is traditionally spicy.

Making Kimchi Cabbage is Super Easy!

  • Cost-effective
  • Simple ingredients
  • Fresh
  • Can modify to your liking
  • Makes a great homemade gift for family and friends

How To Make Homemade Kimchi Recipe From Scratch?

  1. Mix sea salt and water– In a large bowl and stir until salt has dissolved.
  2. Wilt cabbage– Add cabbage and let it sit in this salted water till wilted.
  3. Make paste– In a blender, add onion, garlic, ginger, fish sauce, sugar, red pepper powder, water and pulse until paste-like. Keep aside.
  4. Rinse cabbage– Drain and rinse cabbage in cold water to remove most of the salt water. Add it back in the same bowl (just rinse it).
  5. Coat cabbage– Add the red pepper paste, green onions and mix until cabbage is coated well.
  6. Pack into jar– Transfer this seasoned kimchi to a large mason jar and push it down. Keep stuffing it until it’s completely full.
  7. Let it sit– Tighten the lid and let it sit at room temperature.
  8. Taste it– Try it the next day with a clean spoon or fork. If you want it more sour and ripe, leave it out for another 3-4 days. Check daily until you are satisfied with the flavor.
  9. Refrigerate– When the kimchi tastes sour and ripe enough to your liking, transfer the jar from room temperature to to the fridge. Enjoy!

Kimchi Ingredients/Base

  • Kosher salt– Sea salt that is iodine-free is used in this base.
  • Water– 1 cup needed to wilt the cabbage initially
  • Napa cabbage–  4-5 pounds needed. Cut it into 1-2 inch pieces.

Spicy Kimchi Sauce/Kimchi paste

Blend together the following ingredients in order to create a smooth paste.

  • 1/2 cup Onion Sliced
  • 2 cloves Garlic Peeled
  • 1 tsp Ginger Freshly grated
  • 1 tbsp Fish sauce Or shrimp paste, Optional
  • 1 tsp Granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup Korean red pepper powder
  • 1/4 cup Water

Fermentation Time

The kimchi needs at least 24 hours to ferment. Taste it the next day with a clean spoon or fork and if you want it more sour and ripe, leave it out for another 3-4 days. Check daily until you are satisfied with the flavor. You may see bubbles inside the jar and some brine may seep out of the top of the lid. That’s normal and means the fermentation is working. For me, 2 days of fermentation is best.

What to Serve with Korean Kimchi?

Korean kimchi is traditionally served with Korean BBQ, in soups, Bibimbap, with dumplings, or by itself.

Rice is an excellent pairing with kimchi. You can use kimchi as a topping on the rice, or as a side with the rice. Make any of the following for a wonderful pairing:

It would also be delicious with these Asian inspired dishes:

Variations for Korean cabbage/ Fermented red cabbage/ Pickled cabbage

Cucumber kimchi– Add very thinly sliced cucumbers, using a mandolin slicer would be ideal. You can also stuff cucumbers with the paste and then ferment them instead of cabbage.

Radish kimchi– Add thinly sliced radish for additional vegetable and flavor.

Vegetarian/vegan kimchi– Omit the fish sauce, although it does add a lovely umami flavor and aroma.

Add carrots– Make sure to thinly slice them before adding them to the jar.

Bok choy kimchi– Use bok choy leaves instead of Nappa Cabbage for another variation.

Tips And Techniques for Kimchi

What cabbage to use? You can not use American cabbage. It has to be Napa cabbage!

Seal the mason jar as tightly as you can- For fermentation to do it’s best job.

Can I use regular salt? NO, because it wilts the cabbage too much and removes too much moisture. Also, most table salts have iodine which can affect the fermenting process.

How to make kimchi more sour? Less sour? To make it more sour leave the kimchi out at room temperature for longer. To make it less sour leave it out at room temperature for less time.

Can you use gochujang instead of Korean red pepper powder? No, it will not work for kimchi. It has to be Korean red pepper powder.

Adjust spice– Add more or less according to your desire for mild or spicy kimchi.

What to use in place of fish sauce? You can use shrimp paste instead of fish sauce, or simply leave out the fish sauce entirely.

Do I have to soak the cabbage first? Yes! Do not skip this step. This step begins to soften and brine the cabbage so that the bad bacteria dies off, and good fermentation can occur.

Storage

Refrigerate– In the sealed mason jar for up to 2 months. Make sure to always use a clean utensil so that bad bacteria doesn’t contaminate the jar.

Freeze– Due to the high water content of the vegetables, kimchi does not freeze and thaw well.

More One Pot Cabbage Recipes

Easy Homemade Kimchi in White Bowl on White Background
Closeup Shot of Fork Packed With Red Fermented Pickled Korean Cabbage in White Bowl on White Background
Easy Homemade Korean Kimchi Cabbage in White Bowl on White Background
Print

Homemade Kimchi

Prep Time
2 hrs
Total Time
2 d 2 hrs
 

Easy Korean kimchi recipe, homemade with simple ingredients. Napa cabbage, green onions are fermented in a tangy, spicy red sauce.

Servings: 8 People
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Chinese
Calories: 46 kcal
Author: Abeer Rizvi

Ingredients

Cabbage
  • 1/2 cup Sea salt Or kosher salt, Has to be iodine-free
  • 1 cup Water
  • 4-5 pound Napa cabbage Cut into 1-2 inch pieces
Spice paste
  • 1/2 cup Onion Sliced
  • 2 cloves Garlic Peeled
  • 1 tsp Ginger Freshly grated
  • 1 tbsp Fish sauce Or shrimp paste, Optional
  • 1 tsp Granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup Korean red pepper powder
  • 1/4 cup Water
  • 4 Green onions Cut into 2 inch pieces

Instructions

  1. Mix together sea salt and water in a large bowl and stir until salt has dissolved.

  2. Add cabbage and let it sit in this salted water for about 1-2 hours or until it's significantly wilted.

  3. In a blender, add onion, garlic, ginger, fish sauce, sugar, red pepper powder, water and pulse until you have a smooth paste. Keep aside.

  4. Drain and rinse cabbage in cold water to remove most of the salt water.

  5. Add it back in the same bowl (just rinse it).

  6. Add the red pepper paste, green onions and mix until cabbage is coated well.

  7. Transfer this seasoned kimchi to a large mason jar and push it down and keep stuffing it until it's completely full. Use another jar, if necessary.

  8. Tighten the lid and let it sit at room temperature.

  9. Taste it the next day with a clean spoon or fork and if you want it more sour and ripe, leave it out for another 3-4 days. Check daily until you are satisfied with the flavor. You may see bubbles inside the jar and some brine may seep out of the top of the lid. That's normal and means the fermentation is working. For me, 2 days is best.

  10. When the kimchi tastes sour and ripe enough to your liking, transfer the jar from room temperature to to the fridge. Enjoy!

Recipe Notes

  • Read all my tips above.
  • This can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 months. 
Nutrition Facts
Homemade Kimchi
Amount Per Serving
Calories 46 Calories from Fat 9
% Daily Value*
Fat 1g2%
Saturated Fat 1g5%
Sodium 7274mg303%
Potassium 583mg17%
Carbohydrates 10g3%
Fiber 3g12%
Sugar 4g4%
Protein 3g6%
Vitamin A 782IU16%
Vitamin C 63mg76%
Calcium 189mg19%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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