There is a Korean restaurant right across the street from us and they make the most spectacular kimchi. I was inspired to make it, but it wasn’t even close to the style the restaurant makes. I wanted a “saucy and red” kimchi. So began the search for a recipe and I found it on a youtube post by Maangchi – a traditional kimchi recipe.

It ended up being exactly what I was looking for and the work is definitely worth the reward. This is an afternoon of work and then you can set it aside to ferment. She also recommended trying fresh kimchi, so I set aside a small wedge and used it for kimchi rice that night and then had it with homemade pickled daikon on a cheddar smokie.

NOTE: We eat fairly spicy for a couple of white folks and when she mentioned for those who like spicy to use 2 cups of pepper flakes and for those who like it mild, use 1 cup. I figured a cup and a half was about right. It’s HOT. SOOOO tasty, but with a definite kick. Next time, it will be down to 1 cup.

This filled just over 3 large pickle jars. If you’re sharing it, just remind them to keep it in the fridge. I may experiment with canning them in the future as it’s such a great recipe and don’t want to fill up my fridge with 20 jars of kimchi.


Traditional Kimchi


The Cabbage

  • 6 pounds napa cabbage
  • ½ cup Kosher salt

The Porridge

  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons sweet rice flour glutinous rice flour
  • 2 tablespoons turbinado sugar or brown or white sugar

The Spices

  • ½ cup minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon ginger paste
  • ½ cup fish sauce
  • 1 medium onion minced
  • ¼ cup fermented salted shrimp saeujeot with the salty brine, chopped
  • 1-2 cups hot pepper flakes gochugaru

The Vegetables

  • 2 cups radish cut into matchsticks
  • 1 cup carrots cut into matchsticks
  • 7 to 8 green onions chopped small
  • 1 cup chopped Asian chives substitute with 3 green onions, chopped small


The Cabbage

  • Trim the core ends of the cabbage off. Cut a short slit in the base of the cabbage, enough to get a grip on either half, and then gently pull the halves apart so the cabbage splits open. (For large heads of cabbage, I cut into quarter wedges.)
  • Cut a slit through the core of each half, 2 inches above the stem. You want the cabbage leaves to be loose but still attached to the core.
  • Dunk the halves in a large basin of water to get them wet. Sprinkle the salt between the leaves by lifting up every leaf and getting salt in there. Use more salt closer to the stems, where the leaves are thicker.
  • Let the cabbages rest for 2 hours. Turn over every 30 minutes, so they get well salted. From time to time you can ladle some of the salty water from the bottom of the basin over top of the cabbages if you want to.
  • After 2 hours, wash the cabbage halves a few times under cold running water. Giving them a good washing, to remove the salt and any dirt.
  • As you wash, split the halves into quarters along the slits you cut into earlier. Trim off the cores, and put them in a strainer over a basin so they can drain well.

The Porridge

  • Combine the water and the glutinous rice flour in a small pot. Mix well with a wooden spoon and let it cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes until it starts to bubble. Add the sugar and cook 1 more minute, stirring. Remove from the heat and let it cool off completely.
  • Pour cooled porridge into a large mixing bowl.
  • Measure out the fermented salted shrimp, squeeze the liquid into the bowl, then finely mince the shrimp, adding to the porridge.
  • Add the garlic, ginger, and onion to a small food processor and make a puree. Add to the porridge.
  • Add the fish sauce and desired amount of hot pepper flakes. Mix well with the wooden spoon until the mixture turns into a thin paste.

The Vegetables

  • Add the cut up vegetables and mix until everything is coated

Time to assemble the kimchi!

  • Spread some kimchi paste on each cabbage leaf.
  • When every leaf in a quarter is covered with paste, wrap it around itself into a small packet.
  • Put into your jar, BPA-free plastic container, or onggi (traditional kimchi pot) and make sure to press down so that the air bubbles are squeezed out..
  • Set aside for 2-3 days to ferment (make sure to set some aside to eat right away! It's delicious!) You'll know when it's doing it's job, when you press down and there are small bubbles.
  • When you get those bubbles, stick into the fridge for keeping.
If you like this recipe, please share!

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