Monday, 3 January 2011

Homemade Kimchi

Kimchi!! Sour, salty, sweet, spicy-- all in one! There's no doubt as to why it's such an important part of Korea's rich food culture. It makes the perfect side dish to rice dishes, to grilled meats, it's great in stews and in pancakes/omelettes, and it's also great for your health.

Methods for making kimchi vary, and in Korea they even have nationwide kimchi competitions! (I was watching some food documentary on my plane ride to Singapore last summer after I got bored of the movies.) Do check out Maangchi's kimchi recipe! Hers will probably taste better, because she takes the extra effort to make a kimchi "spice porridge" first before coating the cabbage. And she has add-ons like oysters. But oh well, my fuss-free method tastes not half bad too!

Homemade Kimchi
2 heads Chinese leaf lettuce/Napa cabbage, chopped into big pieces (or you can leave whole)
1/2 cup kosher salt
2" piece of ginger, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 onion, minced
1 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp sugar
5 tbsp Korean red chilli powder (it's more earthy and less spicy than normal chilli powder so you can add a lot to get that depth and nice red colour without burning your tongue)
1 tbsp hot pepper flakes (optional)

Choose your own "add-ons"
Spring onions, Leeks, Carrots, Radishes etc.

1. Sprinkle the cabbage with the sea salt, and set aside for 2-4h, turning once in a while to salt evenly.
2. Rinse the lettuce 3 times. Drain.
3. Rub and evenly coat the cabbage with the rest of the ingredients.
4. Transfer to a tight sealed container, and leave it at room temperature for 2-4 days. You'll see bubbles!
5. Transfer to the fridge, for up to a month. It will get more sour and develop a stronger flavour. If you can wait, don't enjoy immediately. But I've left mine much longer, and Koreans prized long-fermented kimchi.


  1. How gorgeous. I've got my own recipe as well, just haven't had the chance to post about it yet. When I can, I try to ferment it with whey, have you tried this?

  2. Yes I have done that for my more recent batch actually! Traditionally, it is done with just salt though, so I find the taste more "right" that way. But I liek that I can use less salt when I use whey, and I get results quicker too (: There are pros and cons I guess!

  3. I'm planning to try this tomorrow! I want to include more fermented foods in my diet, but I don't like sauerkraut, even though I'm of German background. I've had kimchi before and I like it, so I can't wait to make my own.

  4. Yes do try this! I find the taste of kimchi much more appealing than sauerkraut too, maybe cause of all those spices! Do check out the video by Maangchi if you want to make sure you get it perfect ;)

  5. Sounds good! Your's looks alot more like the one I had in a resturant ysterday than mine does. Thanks for sharing!

  6. I'm making this today! :) Yum!!

  7. hi katie! I have a better kimchi recipe now, I'll update this when I next find time to make it again and photograph all the steps! This old one is still good though, and simple, let me know how it goes! (: