How To Make Korean Kimchi

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Delicious Kimchi

Delicious Kimchi

The mention of kimchi makes my saliva flows. It’s so nice on its own, great for making kimchi pancakes and just goes great with almost any food! I just can’t believe that I disliked it so much when I was first introduced to it by my Korean friends while I was in South Korea. I’m so glad I never gave up trying. Pretty soon I got to like it very, very much. I’m so thankful to my Korean friends who never gave up on me but consistently encouraged and taught me different ways to eat kimchi. We became very close friends through sharing food. Food always builds friendship and brings friends closer.

Have taught quite a few friends to make kimchi and they love it so much that they make very frequently. It’s quite a while since I last made. A friend mentioned of kimchi pancake this week and the thought of it just stayed in my mind. I just have to make it. So I made kimchi yesterday.

Chinese Cabbage

Chinese Cabbage

I bought 2 big Chinese cabbages yesterday. Well, even though they are considered big here, they are really tiny compared to those found in Korea…..huge! The 2 that I bought weighed only 1.4kg. My recipe here to share:

Ingredients A
2 Chinese long cabbages (about 1.4kg)
1C coarse salt

Cabbage in salt solution

Cabbage in salt solution

Add the salt to half a big pot or plastic basin of water and stir to dissolve. Cut the cabbage in half length wise and place them in the salt solution to soak until soft. I let it soak for about 3 hours. Remove and squeeze out the water.

Ingredients B
1C Korean chili powder
2T salted shrimp (or 2T fish sauce)
2 knob ginger
1 whole garlic
1 bunch spring onions
1T sugar
1 carrot

Kimchi ingredients to mix

Kimchi ingredients to mix

Pound the ginger and garlic. I used my most wonderful juicer to do that which grinds it to a paste. Since I had to wash the juicer, I rewarded myself with my most wonderful drink, carrot-apple juice before I grind the ginger and garlic.

Wash and cut the spring onions to 3 inches length. Grate the carrots or you can cut into strips the length of the spring onions. Put into a mixing bowl and add the rest of the other ingredients B.

Mixed kimchi ingredients

Mixed kimchi ingredients

Ingredients C
4T rice flour
1& 1/2 C water

Mix the rice flour with water and cook until thick. Keep stirring to avoid burning. Cool it down and then add to mixture B. Mix well and then spread in between the leaves of the cabbage. The rice mixture helps the cabbage in the fermenting. Leave outside for a few hours before keeping it in the fridge to continue fermenting. You can eat it the second day but I prefer to eat it after a few days which is more fermented and sour by then.

Mix ingredients into the cabbage

Mix ingredients into the cabbage

If you like it spicier, just add more of the chili powder. I find Korean powder is the best, both in colour & taste though you can try out with other chili powder. Test it out before you add more because some chili powder can be too hot and too over-powering.

Do you like Korean food? What is your favourite dish? Do you like kimchi? What do you eat kimchi with? Please share, add and comment in the comment box below. In the mean time, keep learning, keep cooking and keep smiling. Learning new things always brings happiness and makes life more meaningful and fulfilled.

Related articles about Korean food:
Healthy Korean Kimchi Pancake
Korean Food In London
More Korean Food In London
Food And Friends Bring Happiness
How To Make Sushi (Kimbap) Without a Sushi Mat

Quote of the day……

‘Determine never to be idle. No person will have occasion to complain of the want of time who never loses any. It is wonderful how much may be done if we are always doing.’

Thomas Jefferson

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Easy, Healthy Asian Recipes  on September 5th, 2009

[...] it with rice and noodles. It’s very easy to make. More pictures and recipe on how to make it at http://www.keeplearningkeepsmiling.c…imchi-is-easy/ Cheers, shalinee __________________ [...]

Divina  on September 5th, 2009

I love kimchi too. I always have it at home.

Janis  on September 5th, 2009

Korean food is my comfort food and my FAVORITE food of all. I used to outside of San Francisco and had lots of places to choose from. Now I live outside of Boston and I have 1 place I like. So, I started making it at home. What is my favorite dish? Dol Sot Bibimbop.

Mary  on September 5th, 2009

Divina and Janis, great to know you share my love for Korean food….awesome food. Dolsot Bibimbap is also my favourite. On my list is also bulgogi and tokbokki, pictures at

Eleanor Hoh (WokStar)  on September 5th, 2009

I gotta try this because my Korean market is far away. Thanks for it. I might leave out the rice flour step though.

Sook  on September 6th, 2009

I LOVE Kimchi! I’ve tried to make it once or twice when I was in college. It wasn’t as good as my mom’s, of course. I think I might have to try this! Thanks!

Eleanor Hoh (WokStar)  on September 6th, 2009

I’m very excited about my first batch of kimchee. I’ve tried before and realize I shouldn’t have listened to the salesgal at the Korean market. The chili powder was the secret, I used chili flakes - wrong. Your recipe was so simple, I checked others online and was confused. So, thnx for simplifying. Will let you know whether omitting rice flour works. I put them into cute glass jars to give away as prezzies.

Alexandra@Chefspiration  on September 6th, 2009

Looks great! I’ll have to try it…I hope it’s not too hard to find Korean Chilli Powder :)

Mary  on September 7th, 2009

Eleanor, Sook & Alexandra, I’m thrilled to know we share the love for kimchi.

Eleanor, It’s exciting to know you made the kimchi. It’s good to try it differently. I’m sure it will come out nice. Really sweet of you to make and give away.

Alexandra, lovely to know you’ll try it. I hope you can find the Korean chili powder at your place. Maybe ask the Korean restaurant there where they get theirs. I’m pretty sure you can find that in Malaysia.

alice  on September 8th, 2009

This post is so lovely and so close to my heart. Nice job.. I love kimchee and miss the days I used to help my mother make it.

Masterthin  on September 9th, 2009

Great 1 :D

Olive  on September 9th, 2009

I have tried store-bought kimchi before and I didn’t really like it although I really love hot and spicy food. I would like to give it another try with your home made kimchi recipe.. thanks for sharing it :)

Mary  on September 9th, 2009

Alice, thanks for your comments. Making kimchi also brings back many good memories….of beautiful Koje Do in South Korean and all wonderful Korean friends.

Masterthin, thanks for your comments.

Olive, thanks for your comments. Hope you will give it a try. You are going to like it. It is simple and easy.

PJ  on February 19th, 2010

Love to try this out but can you pls tell me if I can replace salted shrimp/fish sauce with any other ingredient?

Mary  on February 19th, 2010

@PJ - The actual kimchi uses shrimp sauce. But since I can’t get it here, I use fish sauce. They do give a very lovely flavour. But I believe you can do without it … only less flavourful I think. But would be good to give a try. I would love to know how you get along with it. Have fun making kimchi :D It’s such a healthy, delicious dish.

Ei  on July 13th, 2010

I like Korean food. But, Kimchi & Sushi I like.

Mary  on July 13th, 2010

@Ei - Thanks for visiting and for lovely comment, Ei! :D Lovely to know you like Korean food too. I like sushi too and often make it myself. Have a nice day.

Spoon and Chopsticks  on July 28th, 2010

Your recipe is slightly different from the one I tried:

I should try yours out… Yours seem to have more ingredients…

Pascal  on October 25th, 2010

Hi Mary,
First, I must thank you for your wonderful Kimchi recipe, it is so nice to be able to eat nice home-made kimchi. By the way, I don’t see Salt in the recipe and I had to add salt otherwise it would not be salty enough. Are you Korean Mary? I never knew home-made kimchi is so different from those in restaurant and shops.
Once again thank you for your recipe.

Mary  on October 26th, 2010

@Pascal - Thanks very much for visiting and lovely comment, Pascal! I didn’t add salt again as the vegetables were soaked in quite concentrated salt solution and the fish/shrimp sauce is salty. I don’t eat very salty but you can add some. No, I’m not Korean. I’m a Malaysian but lived in South Korean for 1+ year many years back. Would love to visit it again….beautiful place and lovely food :D

Pascal  on November 9th, 2010

Hi Mary, I forgot to ask you, if I add salted fish (fried crispy and grind to very fine) would it better than fish sauce, I used Thai fish sauce and sometime it is very fishy taste which I don’t like. I have a feeling the salted fish would be better alternative for me.
Please let me know early, because I am planning to make another batch with salted fish for experiment within a few days from today 9 November. Thanks very much in advance

Mary  on November 9th, 2010

@Pascal - I’m so sorry I’m not sure whether it works the same but I do think it’s interesting and would most likely work. Would be good to give it a try. The only problem is that you will have bits of salted fish in it. Also I’m not sure if you can keep the kimchi for long as there’s salted fish in it whereas the fish sauce is different. You can also use ‘chincaluk’ which is shrimp sauce. I suppose if you just leave the fish sauce out altogether, it will be just as delicious. Let me know if you try. Hope my explanation helps. Have fun making kimchi :D

Pascal  on November 15th, 2010

Hi Mary, I have tried making kimchi without fish sauce and it has less flavour but still ok. And I have done the experiment using salt fish instead of fish sauce. I fried the salt fish crispy (using very little salt fish) I cut in fine thin pieces. And the Kimchi with salt fish taste good. Best regards. Pascal Ps: must use good quality salt fish, the hard dried and not smelly type. Not the soft strong smelling type.

caninefairy88  on March 4th, 2011

this is mouth watering…love kimchi! my kids love em too!^_^

ida  on July 9th, 2011

thank you for the recipe,i and my kids love it so much,the kids love to eat the kimchi with rice and beef,thanks.

Angee  on August 8th, 2011

Hi Mary, I love your blog. I am interested in learning how to make fermented foods and Kimchee looks good. Does it smell AWFUL while it is in the fridge fermenting? You said to keep it outside for a few hours. Does the temp outside matter? The thing that keeps me from making fermented foods is the smell while it is fermenting.
Thank you,

suci  on April 19th, 2012

last night i made my 1st kimchi. but this afternoon i when i eat it, they were sour. did i have a mistake while cooking or they taste are always like that?

Mary  on April 19th, 2012

@Pascal - So sorry I somehow missed this comment :( Thanks very much for sharing your substitute for fish sauce. Never thought of that. I love salted fish. Would love to try that next time when I have salted fish :D

@caninefairy88 - So sorry for missing your comment :( Thanks very much for sharing! :D

@ida - So sorry I missed your comment :( Wonderful to know your kids love it with rice and beef. I love that too :D

@Angee - So sorry I missed your comment :( Thanks very much for your compliment! No, it doesn’t smell awful as it’s in airtight container. When you leave it outside, it ferments faster as it’s warmer outside. It only has a sourish smell which I actually like. Maybe you can give it a try. Hope you like it :D

@suci - Sour means your kimchi has fermented and it’s good.
To slow it down from fermenting, you can keep them in the refrigerator once it has reached the sourness that you prefer. I believe that you did not make any mistake. Well done for your first attempt! :D

Marina  on May 14th, 2012

Hello Mary :)Can I use these same ingredients to make cucumber kimchi?

Mary  on May 15th, 2012

@Marina - So sorry, I’m not too sure if it works. Cucumber has a lot of juice. I think it will be very watery after the fermentation. Maybe you can try that out. I would love to know. I don’t quite like cucumber so I never try. But I do think that it would be nice if you slice the cucumber, marinate with some salt, squeeze out the water, dry under the sun for some time to crisp it a little before adding the seasoning. I think that would very likely work. Hope my thoughts help. Have fun making kimchi! :D

Mistletoe  on August 20th, 2012

I never knew rice flour was one of the ingredients in kim chi. The things you learn through blogging. Your kim chi and kim chi pancakes look delicious…like mouthwatering delicious! I want some NOW! I already have a plan to cheat. Lol. I will make kim chi using your recipe and go buy a small jar to eat while I’m waiting. Hahaha! I can’t wait a couple days. I really want some like right now. Lol. Thank you for sharing these wonderful recipes, as always, Mary.

Jenn  on February 6th, 2013

Hi Mary,

Thank you for sharing this recipe. My husband and I have been making kimchi for almost 1 year now, but a bit differently. We shred napa cabbage, some carrots, radishes, and other root vegetables like Jerusalem artichoke or turnip, and we leave out the fish sauce because my husband hates the taste of fish. We have a batch souring right now!

I look forward to trying this recipe for our next batch and maybe I’ll even convince my husband to use fish sauce. Wish me luck!

Thanks again for the recipe (I’m trying the dumpling one this weekend, too).

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