How to Make Kimchi

Learn how to make and ferment this traditional Korean dish. Recipe courtesy of Sunghee Kim.



  • 6 pounds Napa cabbage (about 2 large or 3 or 4 small)
  • ¾ cup kosher salt - most likely you would need to use more or less salt as you feel the cabbage while brining


  • 3 tablespoons glutinous rice flour (chapssal-garu) - regular rice flour is OK as well (this can be eliminated if unavailable)
  • 2½ cups water


  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 20 garlic cloves, minced (½ cup)
  • 2 teaspoons minced peeled ginger
  • 1 small onion, minced (½ cup)
  • ½ cup fish sauce - can substitute with 2/3 cup kelp broth (boil 2 inches of dry kelp in a cup of water for at least 6 hours on low heat)
  • 1½ cups Korean hot pepper flakes (gochu-garu)
  • 12 ounces Korean radish (mu) or daikon, peeled and cut into matchsticks (1½ cups)
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and cut into matchsticks (1 cup), optional
  • 10 scallions, chopped
  • 3 ounces Asian chives or additional scallions, chopped (1 cup)

1. Cut each cabbage in half through the core, then cut a slit through the core 2 inches above the stem so that the leaves are loosened but still attached. Dunk the halves in a large bowl of water to moisten all the leaves. Place on a work surface. Sprinkle the salt between the leaves on thicker parts and put the cabbage in a large bowl. Let stand for 6 or 7 hours, turning the cabbage over every 1 hour or so. Add more salt to the soft parts of the leaves as the thick parts start to soften up.

2. Meanwhile, combine the rice flour and water in a saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring with a whisk, until it bubbles, about 10 minutes. Add the sugar and cook, stirring, until the porridge is a little translucent and thinner, a few more minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature.

3. Rinse the cabbage halves under cold running water, ruffling the leaves to remove any dirt and the excess salt. Split each half lengthwise into 2 pieces. Drain well.

4. Put the cooled porridge, garlic, ginger, onion, fish sauce, hot pepper flakes, radish, carrot, scallions, and chives in a large bowl. Mix well. (This is the kimchi paste.)

5. Rub the paste in between the leaves and wrap it nice and tight. Put it in a container and squeeze it down so you get any air pockets out.

6.  Leave it at room temperature (about 70 degree) for half day or a day. Move it in fridge (around 40 degree) for 3 weeks. For long term storage, it's kept best at just above freezing temperature.

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