Super Simple Kimchi Recipe – It Practically Makes Itself!

Following on from last weeks tips for great gut health, I’m going to show you how I make my own simple and tasty kimchi.

Fermented foods like kimchi and sauerkraut are fantastic for the gut because of the rich source of probiotics and digestive enzymes they contain. Ideally, a little would be eaten every day, but a few times a week is good.

My kimchi is riDICulously easy, and though I’m sure kimchi purists would have something to say about it, it is yummy, healthy, vegan, and doesn’t take too much time or effort out of your busy day.

You will need:

-1 mason jar, here’s a pic of mine:-IMG_3292

-1 napa cabbage (Chinese leaf)


-1 long pointed red pepper

-3 big cloves or 6 small cloves garlic

-1/4 onion

-1 knob of ginger, around 3 cm (1 in) thick

-4/6 spring onions, sliced width-wise

-1 small mild to medium red chilli (optional)

The amounts of garlic, onion, ginger; and spring onions can all be adapted to taste. Try it this way first, then you can always make it to suit your own taste next time if desired.


What you do:

Wash the outer leaves of the cabbage (if not organic), and pat dry. Put the cabbage horizontally in front of you and chop the root end off (you can compost this or feed it to the rabbit!)



Then slice it, with each slice around 4-5 cm (2 in) thick.





Then take a handful of the chopped cabbage, and lay it over the bottom of a cake mixing bowl or pyrex dish and sprinkle 3/4 teaspoon of salt all over it.



Then take another handful of the chopped cabbage, layer it on top of the first, and sprinkle 3/4 teaspoon of salt over that layer. Repeat until there is no more cabbage left.

Put the lid on (or cover with a plate) and stick it somewhere darkish, and room temperature or cool, for eight hours.



Wait eight hours….tum ti tum….la la la….

…go get your salty cabbage! You will see that during this time, the cabbage has absorbed the salt, shrunk down into the bowl, and there will be lots of salty liquid at the bottom of the bowl. This is good.

Blitz the red pepper, ginger, garlic, onion, and chilli (if you’re using it) in a blender until it looks like a smoothie.





Pour this over the cabbage. Put the sliced spring onions on top.



Mix it all together – salad tongs are really helpful for this, but you can use a fork or spoon.



When all the cabbage is nicely coated in the red mixture, and the spring onions are spread throughout, it’s time to put it in the jar (again, salad tongs make this easy, but use whatever).

You can keep pushing the cabbage down in the jar, to make room for it all. Get as much in as you can, and make sure there is enough liquid in there. When you’ve filled the jar to the top, push the cabbage down once more, and the liquid should just come over the top of the veg.



Seal the jar. It’s advisable, while the kimchi is fermenting and doing its thang, that you keep it in a bowl like this…


….Because it can get a bit frisky and leak out the top.

Store it in the same place you stored the salted cabbage.

Wait 48 hours….la di da di dum….

Done that? Yay! Now you can open your kimchi and sample it.

Please note: At first it may taste quite mild, and as the days/weeks go by it will get stronger. I prefer it strong, but you may be different! It lasts in the fridge for weeks, but at some point it will get too strong to eat. 3-4 weeks is probably a good life for your jar of kimchi – if it lasts that long!

You can eat it solo as a quick snack, in a sandwich, or on toast. You can make a kimchi stew with it, but my FAVOURITE way to enjoy kimchi is this: Warm a wholewheat pitta pocket in a toaster, then cut it open one side and put a scraping of Pure, Earthbalance (or any vegan spread) inside it, along with some sliced, cold, leftover vegan sausages. I particularly favour Vbites sage and marjoram sausages. Cover the sausage with kimchi, close pocket and devour. This.Snack.Will.Change.Your.Life.

16 thoughts on “Super Simple Kimchi Recipe – It Practically Makes Itself!”

  1. Just wanted to say this kimchi recipe is brilliant. Thanks so much for posting it. 🙂 I also tried adding a tablespoon of brown rice miso paste to the blitzed veg and it was great too.

    1. What a fab idea, adding the brown rice miso paste. I’m going to try that next time I make this, thanks!

  2. interesting, I’m South Korean, and this is very simple recipe but looks nice.
    actually in Kimchi there’s also ‘jutgal/jeotgal’ which is kind of fish sauce with anchovy. I think you can find this in Korean food market. and it should be aged in a dark, not transparent, cool space. (In traditional way, we put it in stone-made jar and bury into the soil.

    As this ages, there’s coming more juice from kimchi, and this is really good.

    Try kimchi as stir-fried with a little of oil, this is different taste at all, and you’ll like it, kimchi is very nice with pork (steamed or fried).

    and also try kimchi stew, with some more crushed garlic, with base of rice washed water, and pork! (the chemistry of oil from boiled pork and kimchi is great.)

    1. Hey Nam,

      Thanks for your comment. I’m glad you like the recipe, that means a lot coming from a Korean! I have purposely kept the fish sauce out of the kimchi as I wanted to make it vegan, that is, without animal products. They are not needed, kimchi is delicious and healthy without them!

      I will try and make a stew or stir fry with kimchi, I have had these in Korean restaurants and they are very good.

  3. Being a huge kimchi fan this looks like an amazing recipe totally gonna try it! Couple of questions.

    1. You using any extra liquid in once its in the jar?
    2. Could you suggest any extra such as carrots etc? I’m no vegetarian/vegan so if you could mabye suggest any extras you could throw in? If your cool with the idea, sorry to ask. But thanks for such a amazing recipe!

    1. Hi Steve,

      Thanks for your comment.

      1. I don’t use any extra liquid other than the 1tbsp of water in the recipe that goes in the pepper/ginger/garlic/onion/chili mix. With this and the liquid left at the bottom of the bowl from salting the cabbage, there should be enough liquid. Once your kimchi is in the jar, you add nothing. Just seal the jar and wait!

      2. You can probably add finely grated carrot, cucumber, or daikon (‘mooli’ in the UK) to this mix. Some people add pear, apple, persimmon, and other fruits. I’ve never done this – I’m a bit weird about adding fruit to savoury stuff 🙂 Feel free to try though!

      1. Would Pak Choi or chinese leaf be a good to use instead of Chinese cabbage I live in the UK an the more common stores only stock variations of it

        1. I use Chinese leaf in my recipe (I’m in the UK too)! Chinese leaf and Napa (Chinese) cabbage are the same thing. Most kim chi is made with Chinese leaf. I’d use this rather than Pak Choi.

  4. So tried it an didn’t get much liquid. Was only using the 1 cabbage any suggestions? Mabye type of salt etc.
    Got mabye 1-3tbps of liquid. Still its in a jar an ill let it go a day or 2 see how I get on

    1. This should be enough liquid. When you put the cabbage mix into the mason jar you must push it down with your fingers, so the liquid comes up to the top.

  5. If you wanna make a good a good kimchi stew that is vegan you can use a sheet of kelp, a nob of ginger and some onion which you boil for 20 mins or longer then discard to make a stock. its a surprisingly good stock from such a simple and cheap ingredients.

    You can add silken tofu, wakame seaweed, fresh shiitake mushrooms, spring onions and of course kimchi and boil until all is cooked. This is mixture of about 3 different Korean dishes i have adapted to make it vegan as i used to be vegan.

    But Nam is right I am afraid, the pork does go very well with this due to oiliness of it! I am wondering if anyone can think of anything oily that could replace the pork?

    Hope you like this version.

    1. Thanks for the suggestion, it sound good! No doubt seitan can be used in place of pork. And come back to the vegan side again!!!

  6. I was wondering if you can help. I have been following the recipe and adding also Black organic radish and red beetroot. The thing is after a week or so whilst the Kimchi tastes excellent the smell can be overwhelming and more so after a couple of weeks. I don’t have a problem but my wife takes exception. Any advice what to do apart from eating it outside? I tend to make a rather excellent smoothie using my Vitamix and adding a touch of apple juice to soften the impact!

    Many thanks, Hugh

    1. Haha! It can smell strong, it’s true. I actually quite like the smell, it always makes me hungry!

      You can try putting an open box of baking soda in your fridge, or half a peeled onion. These are supplosed to absorb smells.

      Let me know if it works!

  7. I’m a late starter I’m afraid and just discovered fermented foods! Now happily making my own coconut water based kefir and, having tried kimchi, want to have a go at my own. Quick question, some recipes I’ve read say to rinse the cabbage after salting it but I noticed you don’t. Any comments on this? I like salt but, don’t want it to be the overwhelming flavour.

    1. Hi Helen, thanks for your question. No, I don’t rinse it after salting it. You want the salty liquid to stay on the cabbage.

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