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Kimchi Recipe
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5 from 3 votes

Kimchi Recipe (Baechu Kimchi, or Napa Cabbage Kimchi)

Learn how to make kimchi at home with this easy kimchi recipe, including ingredients swaps and variations so you can make it your own way. I make mine with an easy wet brine and lots of extra spices.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time2 d
Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: Korean
Keyword: cabbage, fermented, gochugaru, gochujang
Servings: 16
Calories: 75kcal

Ingredients

FOR THE CABBAGE BRINE

  • 2 quarts unchlorinated water filtered or bottled water are good
  • ½ cup kosher salt or sea salt
  • 1 head about 3 pounds; 1.3kg Napa cabbage

TO MAKE THE KIMCHI

  • 1 carrot sliced into matchsticks
  • 1 bunch scallions end trimmed, cut into ½ inch pieces
  • 1 small daikon radish or turnip peeled, sliced into matchsticks
  • ½ Asian pear peeled, sliced into matchsticks
  • 6 garlic cloves chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh grated ginger
  • 3 tablespoons glutinous rice flour
  • 1 cup gochugaru Korean chili flakes
  • 1/2 cup fish sauce
  • 3 tablespoons salted shrimp saeujeot, minced – as an alternative, use 1.5 tablespoons shrimp paste, or 3 tablespoons chopped dried shrimp (soaked), or 2 tablespoons miso paste
  • 2 tablespoons miso paste red or white – optional, for extra umami flavor

Instructions

BRINE THE CABBAGE

  • Whisk together the unchlorinated cold water and sprinkle salt in a large bowl.
  • Slice off the root end of the cabbage. Slice the cabbage into quarters and submerge them in the brine. Use a plate or other small weights to keep the cabbage completely submerged.
  • Set aside for 8-12 hours at room temperature.
  • Set the cabbage into a colander and drain the brine. Rinse the cabbage and squeeze out excess water using your hands. Chop the cabbage into 1 inch pieces (if desired, or leave the pieces whole).

MAKE THE KIMCHI

  • Add the cabbage to a large bowl along with the carrot, scallions, radish or turnip, Asian pear, garlic and ginger. Toss to combine.
  • Add the rice flour and 1 cup water to a sauce pan. Heat to a simmer, then whisk for 3-4 minutes until smooth and the mixture forms a smooth, loose paste.
  • Remove from heat and stir in the gochugaru. The chili flakes will bloom as the mixture cools.
  • Stir in the fish sauce, salted shrimp, and miso paste (or your other umami alternatives).
  • Pour the mixture into the cabbage and vegetables. With your hands, rub the gochugaru mixture into the vegetables, covering them as completely as possible. Be thorough. Really get in there with your hands!
  • Taste and adjust for salt or any other desired seasonings.
  • Pack the kimchi into a large mason jar (or several). You can use other vessels, like a fermentation crock. Press the contents down and weigh it down with glass fermentation weights (or use a plastic bag filled with water).
  • Cover with a fermentation airlock lid, or use fermentation membranes (see notes). If you don’t have such lid options, use a 2-piece lid, but don’t screw it down, just set it on top. This is to allow any gases to escape while fermenting.
  • Set aside away from any sunlit areas and ferment for 1-3 days at room temperature (you CAN ferment longer if you’d like – see RECIPE NOTES on fermentation times). Moisture should release from the kimchi, so press the kimchi down if needed to keep it below the liquid. Gases should escape via the fermentation membrane, or just loosen the lid to let any gas build up out.
  • Set into the refrigerator and let sit for 1 week to let the flavors mingle. You can enjoy it right away, but it is better to wait. The fermenting kimchi will continue to ferment slowly in the fridge.
  • Use as desired.

Notes

Lasts 6-8 months or longer in the refrigerator.
Fermentation Times. Fermentation times can vary, depending on temperatures and ingredients. You can ferment longer if you'd like, but it is best to judge by smell and flavor. The kimchi will grow more sour as it ferments, which some people prefer. Smell and taste after a day or two, then transfer to the refrigerator where it will continue to ferment more slowly.

Nutrition

Calories: 75kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 32mg | Sodium: 998mg | Potassium: 416mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 5370IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 78mg | Iron: 3mg