How to Make Kimchi

Make this spicy, sour, fermented vegetable dish for enjoyment over several months.

Gather Your Ingredients

Clockwise from top: garlic, onions, Korean chile flakes, fish sauce, sweet rice flour, salted shrimp, carrot, daikon, scallions, ginger and apple.

Click here for the full list of ingredients.

Get the Recipe: Mak Kimchi

First, Brine

Slice the cabbage lengthwise into quarters. Cut out and discard the core. Cut each quarter crosswise into 2-inch pieces.

Combine the water and salt in a large bowl and stir to dissolve. Add the cabbage and toss well to coat with brine. Leave for 4 hours, tossing every hour.

This serves to purge the cabbage of excess moisture.

Drain the cabbage well, then spread the cabbage out on a baking sheet and gently pat dry with paper towels.

Gather Sauce (and Paste, Optional) Ingredients

For the sauce: fish sauce, apple, onion, garlic, ginger, sugar, chili flakes and salted shrimp

For the paste: sweet rice flour and water

Prepped and Ready

Sauce ingredients and vegetables, lined up and ready to go

These salted shrimp will add pungent intensity to the final product.

Time to Get Saucy

Clockwise from top: chile flakes, cooked paste, salted shrimp, garlic, ginger, apple, onion and fish sauce.

Pulse the garlic and ginger in a blender. Add the apple, onion, fish sauce, salted shrimp and sugar, and puree until everything is well broken down –– no need to overdo it.

Empty the contents of the blender into a large bowl. (If you're using the rice paste, add it now and stir well, to fully incorporate.) Add the gochugaru to the bowl and mix well.

This is the point at which things get messy. Suit up with a pair of clean latex gloves. (Dish gloves –– well-washed, of course –– will do perfectly fine.) Add the scallion, daikon and carrot to the bowl.

With your gloved hands, knead the ingredients well to coat the vegetables with sauce. 

Do the same with the cabbage, gently massaging sauce into the cabbage.

Continue to mix until the cabbage is well-coated.

Firmly pack the cabbage mixture into clean quart-size Mason jars, pressing as you go to remove any air pockets. Leave 1 inch of headroom in the jars to allow for expansion during fermentation. Press a small sheet of plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the cabbage and seal the jars tightly.

Refrigerate the jars, set on a plate to catch leaks. In a week, the kimchi will be fresh, very lightly fermented and pretty darn tasty. In two weeks, as the fermentation really kicks into gear, the kimchi will ascend to a whole other plane of awesome. Kimchi keeps for months, getting increasingly pungent over time. Dig in and enjoy it every step of the way.

Get the Recipe: Mak Kimchi

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