One Pot Recipes

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 this, 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) or this Tzatziki Sauce (One Bowl) while you are at it.

Easy Homemade Kimchi in White Bowl on White Background

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

It is a traditional Korean dish made from cabbage that is salted and seasoned, packed into a jar and left to ferment. 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– Until salt has dissolved.
  2. Wilt cabbage– Add cabbage and let it sit in this salted water.
  3. Make a red pepper paste– Blend onion, garlic, ginger, fish sauce, sugar, red pepper powder, water until smooth.
  4. Drain/ Rinse cabbage-In cold water.
  5. Coat cabbage– With red pepper paste, green onions.
  6. Pack into jar– Keep stuffing it until it’s completely full.
  7. Let it sit– At room temperature for 3-4 days.
  8. Refrigerate– When it tastes ripe enough to your liking.

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 that should be cut into 1-2 inch pieces.

Spicy Kimchi Sauce/ Paste

Blend together the following ingredients 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

It 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?

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

Rice is an excellent pairing. You can use it 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.

Use Bok choy– Instead of Nappa Cabbage for another variation.

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

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- Because this allowed fermentation process 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 it 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. It has to be Korean red pepper powder.

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

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, it does not freeze and thaw well.

More One Pot Cabbage Recipes

Homemade Kimchi

Prep Time: 2 hrs
Fermenting time: 2 d
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.
Yield: 8 People

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 

  • Mix together sea salt and water in a large bowl and stir until salt has dissolved.
  • Add cabbage and let it sit in this salted water for about 1-2 hours or until it's significantly wilted.
  • In a blender, add onion, garlic, ginger, fish sauce, sugar, red pepper powder, water and pulse until you have a smooth paste. Keep aside.
  • Drain and rinse cabbage in cold water to remove most of the salt water.
  • Add it back in the same bowl (just rinse it).
  • Add the red pepper paste, green onions and mix until cabbage is coated well.
  • 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.
  • Tighten the lid and let it sit at room temperature.
  • 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.
  • When the kimchi tastes sour and ripe enough to your liking, transfer the jar from room temperature to to the fridge. Enjoy!

Notes

  • Read all my tips above.
  • This can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 months. 

Nutrition

Calories: 46kcal, Carbohydrates: 10g, Protein: 3g, Fat: 1g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 7274mg, Potassium: 583mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 4g, Vitamin A: 782IU, Vitamin C: 63mg, Calcium: 189mg, Iron: 1mg
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Chinese
Calories: 46
Author: Abeer Rizvi

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