Kimchi (Korean Fermented Spicy Cabbage)


I finally made my first official batch of kimchi (fermented spicy cabbage) last week with great success.

Prep Time:
1 hrs
Cook Time:
10 mins
Additional Time:
2 days 8 hrs 15 mins
Total Time:
2 days 9 hrs 25 mins
14 servings


  • 3 heads napa cabbage

  • 3 cups water

  • 4 cups coarse sea salt

  • 3 cups water

  • 3 tablespoons sweet rice flour

  • 1 yellow onion

  • 12 cloves garlic, peeled

  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger root

  • 1 tablespoon water, or as needed

  • 4 cups Korean red chile flakes (gochugaru)

  • ½ cup fish sauce

  • ¼ cup dried salted shrimp (saeujeot)

  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar

  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds, or more to taste

  • 2 cups Korean radish, cut into matchstick-size pieces

  • 3 green onions, cut into 2-inch pieces


  1. Remove discolored, bruised outer leaves of cabbage and rinse cabbage under cold water. Cut cabbage head into 2-inch pieces.

  2. Divide 3 cups water among 3 bowls. Stir 1 cup sea salt into each bowl of water. Sprinkle the remaining 1 cup sea salt over cabbage.

  3. Place salted cabbage in the 3 bowls salted water until partially submerged; let sit 6 to 12 hours.

  4. Rinse cabbage thoroughly under cold water several times. Squeeze cabbage to remove excess water. Cabbage should have a rubbery texture. Transfer cabbage to a colander or basket to thoroughly drain the cabbage, at least 2 hours.

  5. Combine 3 cups water and rice flour in a saucepan; bring to a boil. Whisk mixture until a glue-like consistency, 5 to 10 minutes. Remove saucepan from heat and cool rice mixture to room temperature.

  6. Combine onion, garlic, ginger, and 1 tablespoon water in a food processor; pulse until smooth, adding more water if needed.

  7. Pour chile flakes into a large bowl; stir in onion-garlic mixture, cooled rice flour mixture, fish sauce, shrimp, brown sugar, and sesame seeds until well mixed. Add radish and green onions and mix well.

  8. Coat each cabbage piece with chile mixture by using your hands. (Rubber gloves are highly recommended.) Pack coated cabbage leaves inside air-tight glass jars or containers; cover each tightly with a lid. Keep jars at room temperature for fermentation to occur, about 2 days. Refrigerate kimchi after the 2 days.

Editor's Note:

Nutrition data for this recipe includes the full amount of salt. Most of the salt is washed off, so the actual amount of salt consumed will vary.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

88 Calories
1g Fat
18g Carbs
4g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 14
Calories 88
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 1g 2%
Saturated Fat 0g 1%
Cholesterol 3mg 1%
Sodium 24796mg 1,078%
Total Carbohydrate 18g 7%
Dietary Fiber 5g 18%
Total Sugars 5g
Protein 4g
Vitamin C 35mg 174%
Calcium 120mg 9%
Iron 288mg 1,600%
Potassium 744mg 16%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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