Kimchi Primer

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Why is this recipe interesting?

  • Kimchi is a Korean staple dish that includes fermented vegetables mixed with spicy sauce. It has complex flavors and tastes tangy, spicy and pungent.
  • Kimchi goes so well dumplings, noodles, fried rice, summer rolls or straight from the jar.
  • Kimchi is made by lacto-fermentation, the same process that is used to make sauerkraut and pickles. It was originally a way to preserve vegetables for winter.

Kimchi Primer

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Calories: 172kcal


  • 1 medium-sized napa or Chinese cabbage about 2 pounds
  • 4 scallions finely spiced
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp minced ginger
  • 1 carrot grated
  • 4 tbsp sea salt
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce alternatively use fish sauce
  • 1 to 4 tbsp Korean chilli flakes gochugaru
  • Water as needed


  • Chop the cabbage and add to a large bowl. Add salt and massage it into the cabbage until it starts to soften. Add water to cover the cabbage. Stir a bit to dissolve salt into the water. Place a heavy plate over it to weigh the cabbage down. Let it sit for a minimum of 6 hours or overnight.
  • The next morning, drain the cabbage and save the brine. Add it into a bowl along with chopped onion, scallion and grated carrot.
  • Make a spice paste by mixing minced ginger, garlic, soy sauce, sugar, gochugaru and a little water (if needed).
  • Using your hands, gently mix this spice paste with the vegetable. Mix well until well coated.
  • Pack this kimchi in a quart jar and weigh it down using a wooden spoon. Pour the brine you saved on top to cover the vegetables. Leave an inch space at the top. Cover loosely by placing a small zip lock filled with brine that serves the purpose of weighing it down.
  • Let it sit to ferment in cooler room temperature away front direct sunlight for 3-6 days.
  • Check every day once. Weigh it down a bit. Check if the vegetable is covered in brine. If not top with more brine. This process also burps it as it lets the air out of the jar.
  • On day three, check if the flavor is sour enough for you. For tangier kimchi, keep fermenting until day six. Just keep checking it every day and refrigerate if need be.
  • Refrigerate it after the sixth day. It stays good in a refrigerator for a year. The flavors keep getting complex and tangy as time goes.


Calories: 172kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 7514mg | Potassium: 693mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 3384IU | Vitamin C: 67mg | Calcium: 203mg | Iron: 1mg

Substitutions & Shortcuts

  • You can add more vegetables to kimchi like radishes (or daikon), cucumber, green beans, scallions etc.
  • You can substitute soy sauce with fish sauce, salted shrimp paste, miso paste.

Lessons learned while making this dish

  • Use distilled or filtered water as chlorinated water can hinder the fermentation process.
  • Use iodine-free salt as that hinders fermentation.
  • Start with one tbsp of Korean red chilli (gochugaru) if you’re used to milder taste. Stir in more along the process if needed.
  • The ideal temperature to ferment kimchi is 12.78-18.33 C (55-65 F). If it is hotter, ferment it in a cooler and dark place.

Enjoy your Kimchi and thank you for reading.

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