How to make Kimchi

Have you ever wondered how to make kimchi? If you are a kimchi lover you know that the jars you can buy at the store are anything but cheap.Β  Kimchi is basically a spicier, yummier version of sauerkraut. It is also fermented, making it a great gut-healthy food. Today I am sharing with you my version of a Kimchi.

how to make kimchi

No one in my house enjoys my fermented “experiments.” But that is okay. It just means more for me.

Every time I pull out my kimchi, my 10 year old asks me if I am eating my “konnichiwa.” I am pretty sure konnichiwa is how you say “hi” in Japanese, but don’t quote me on it. My source comes from an episode of bad auditions for American Idol many years ago. πŸ™‚

Before I started making kimchi at home, I would wait all year long for our local “Ethnic Food Festival”. My husband usually darts for the Mexican booth, the kids grab their pizza at the Italian booth, and I make a beeline for the Korean booth for my yearly dose of kimchi.

Can I just say waiting a whole year for a little bit of kimchi just isn’t right? Not to mention two years ago the Korean booth wasn’t there. I tried really hard to hold it together because I knew trying to explain to my husband that I was crying in the middle of a crowded park because I didn’t get my kimchi might be a little overboard.

Anyways, now I don’t have to wait for the festival for my kimchi. Because now I know how to make kimchi at home.

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In this recipe you will see that you use Korean chili powder. I had a wonderful friend pick it up for me when she was out of town shopping at some stores that they carry it in. I did notice, however, that I can not read the package as it is not in English.

I am just trusting that it is Korean chili powder. πŸ™‚ Korean chili powder is different than the regular chili powder you can buy in the grocery store so you don’t want to try and replace it with plain old regular chili powder.Β  It won’t taste right.

You can also go the online route and buy Korean Chili Powder HERE.

If you can’t find Korean chili powder, you can try substituting sriracha. I haven’t tried this before but I have heard of other people using it with great results.

How to Make Kimchi

how to make kimchi

Take the outer layers of your nappa cabbage off and set aside. Cut your cabbage into 4 quarters.

how to make kimchi

After you have cut the cabbage into quarters, cut the quarters in thin slices.

Place the cabbage in a bowl, and sprinkle the sea salt all over it. You will want to use sea salt, and not table salt, as table salt may ruin your kimchi. Massage the salt into the cabbage with your hands until it starts to soften a bit.

how to make kimchi

Cover the cabbage with cold water. Use enough water to JUST cover the cabbage. Place a plate (I used a pot lid instead of a plate) and a heavy weight of some sort to hold it down on the cabbage. I used a mason jar filled with water.

how to make kimchi

Let it sit for at least an hour.

Mix together the ginger, garlic, sugar, and fish sauce until it forms a paste. Add in the chili powder. Set aside.

After the cabbage has sat for an hour, rinse it in a colander. Make sure to rinse it well. Let it drain for 10-20 minutes.

Cut up the carrots into matchstick pieces. Slice of your green onions. Put in a bowl.

Squeeze out the rest of the water from the cabbage and then add the cabbage to the bowl.

Add the paste. Many people mix the paste into the cabbage and vegetable mixture with their hands to make it easier to massage the paste into all of the vegetables.

If you do this, PLEASE use gloves. Years ago I made some salsa without gloves. I cut up spicy peppers without gloves. And my hands burned for a long, long time. Though I haven’t tried it, I imagine chili powder would have the same effect.

I didn’t have gloves, so I just used a wooden spatula to mix it all, and I was very thorough in making sure it was completely mixed in.

how to make kimchi

After it is all mixed in, stuff it into a jar. I used the wooden spoon for this. Make sure to pound it down with every little bunch you put in the jar. You want the kimchi very compacted.

how to make kimchi

Make sure once your jar is full that the kimchi is completely submerged under the brine. If you don’t have it under the brine you risk the chance of mold.

I like to take one of the cabbage leaves I set aside at the beginning to help weigh it down under the brine. I just fold it up and put it on top of the kimchi.Β  You can also use these special fermenting lids you can get on Amazon.

how to make kimchi

Put your lid on it and let it sit somewhere warm for 2-5 days to ferment. I let mine sit for 3 days. It all comes down to personal preference in how long you let it sit out. The longer it sits the stronger the taste is. It will continue to ferment in the fridge, just at a slower rate.

Also, make sure to take the lid off your kimchi everyday to check on it. This releases any gas build up, and allows you to make sure the kimchi is still submerged. If it isn’t, push it down under the brine.

how to make kimchi

And now you know how to make kimchi! Kimchi, I find, is very much a personal preference on what you put in it. It may take away from some of it’s authenticity, but it is still delicious!

Some people use radishes instead of carrots, others don’t put any sugar in it, and some add seafood to theirs. Make yours the way your family would enjoy it. πŸ™‚ Or if your house is like mine and it is all for you because no one else will eat it, then you get complete say over what you want in it. πŸ™‚

Happy fermenting!

Kimchi

Korean kimchi recipe
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine korean

Ingredients
  

  • 1 head nappa cabbage (about 2 lbs)
  • 4 tbsn sea salt
  • 1 tbsn Korean chili powder
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 2 Tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 carrots
  • 1/2 bunch green onions

Instructions
 

  • Take the outer layers of your nappa cabbage off and set aside.  Cut your cabbage into 4 quarters.
  • After you have cut the cabbage into quarters, cut the quarters in thin slices.
  • Place the cabbage in a bowl, and sprinkle the sea salt all over it.  Massage the salt into the cabbage with your hands until it starts to soften a bit.
  • Cover the cabbage with cold water.  Use enough water to JUST cover the cabbage.  Place a plate and a heavy weight of some sort to hold it down on the cabbage.   
  • Let it sit for at least an hour.
  • Mix together the ginger, garlic, sugar, and fish sauce until it forms a paste. Add in the chili powder. Set aside.
  • After the cabbage has sat for an hour, rinse it in a colander. Make sure to rinse it well. Let it drain for 10-20 minutes.
  • Cut up the carrots into matchstick pieces. Slice of your green onions. Put in a bowl.
  • Squeeze out the rest of the water from the cabbage and then add the cabbage to the bowl.
  • Add the paste.  Mix together with GLOVED hands or a spoon or spatula.  Make sure the vegetable mixture is completely covered in the paste.
  • After it is all mixed in, stuff it into a jar.  Make sure to pound it down with every little bunch you put in the jar.  Use a wooden spoon to do this. Make sure once your jar is full that the kimchi is completely submerged under the brine. 
  • Take a cabbage leaf and fold it up.  Put it in the top of the jar of kimchi to help weigh it down under the brine.
  • Put a lid on the kimchi and place it in a warm spot for 2-5 days.  Check it everyday.  Unscrew the lid each day to let the gases out and to make sure the kimchi is under the brine.  If it isn't, push it down.  
  • Once it has fermented to your liking, put it in the fridge and enjoy! 
Keyword korean kimchi recipe, how to make kimchi

4 thoughts on “How to make Kimchi”

  1. A couple of questions-

    ginger – powder or grated fresh

    fish sauce- brand? and how much

    sorry, a bit out of my element here.

    1. Haha, no problem. I was out of my element the first time I made it. I used powdered ginger but you could use fresh too. The fish sauce brand I got was called Marc Pina and it was just the brand I could find at the local Walmart.:). Be prepared, the smell of fish sauce is STRONG. Lol.

  2. 5 stars
    Does it need to be Korean chili or does normal chili powder work? Also, the fish sauce isn’t listed in the ingredient list just FYI πŸ™‚

    1. Oh, shoot…I will fix the ingredient list for the fish sauce right now! Thanks for pointing that out! And it does need to be Korean chili powder. Apparently it is different than normal chili powder, though some people have had success with using sriracha sauce, though I have never tried.

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