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How To Make Kimchi


How To Make Kimchi

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How To Make Kimchi

How To Make Kimchi

The Art of Making Kimchi: A Culinary Journey to Korean Delicacy

Kimchi, South Korea’s national dish, is a fermented dish consisting of vegetables, typically napa cabbage and Korean radish, seasoned with a spicy paste made from red chili powder, garlic, ginger, and other ingredients. This beloved side dish is not only a culinary delight but also a cornerstone of Korean gastronomy, deeply ingrained in the country’s history and culture.

Making kimchi at home may seem daunting, but with the right ingredients and a bit of patience, you can craft this culinary masterpiece in your own kitchen. Here’s a comprehensive guide to help you embark on this gastronomic adventure:


For the Vegetables:

  • 1 large head of napa cabbage (about 2 pounds)
  • 1 large Korean radish (about 1 pound)

For the Gochujang Paste:

  • 1 cup gochujang (Korean red chili paste)
  • 1/2 cup fish sauce
  • 1/2 cup Korean anchovy sauce (optional, adds umami flavor)
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 3 tablespoons minced ginger
  • 1 tablespoon grated Asian pear (optional, adds sweetness)
  • 1/2 tablespoon coarse sea salt

Other Ingredients:

  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup Korean radish, julienned
  • 1/2 cup carrot, julienned
  • 1/4 cup daikon radish, julienned (optional)


  • Large bowl
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Mixing utensils
  • Cutting board and knife
  • Cheesecloth or muslin
  • Large container (preferably glass or ceramic) with a lid


Step 1: Prepare the Vegetables

  • Cut the napa cabbage into 2-inch squares.
  • Cut the Korean radish into matchsticks.
  • Place the cabbage and radish in a large bowl and sprinkle with coarse sea salt.
  • Mix well and let rest for 1 hour. This will help draw out excess moisture.

Step 2: Make the Gochujang Paste

  • In a separate bowl, combine all the gochujang paste ingredients.
  • Mix thoroughly until smooth and well-combined.

Step 3: Drain and Rinse the Vegetables

  • After an hour, drain the cabbage and radish in a colander.
  • Rinse thoroughly with cold water to remove excess salt.
  • Squeeze out as much water as possible using your hands or a salad spinner.

Step 4: Combine the Vegetables and Paste

  • Add the drained vegetables to the gochujang paste.
  • Mix thoroughly until all the vegetables are evenly coated.

Step 5: Add the Additional Ingredients

  • Stir in the green onions, julienned Korean radish, carrot, and daikon (if using).
  • Mix well to combine.

Step 6: Store and Ferment

  • Transfer the kimchi mixture to a large glass or ceramic container.
  • Cover with cheesecloth or muslin, then secure with a lid.
  • Let the kimchi ferment at room temperature (65-70°F) for 2-3 days.

Step 7: Refrigerate and Enjoy

  • After 2-3 days, the kimchi should be slightly sour and bubbly, indicating that it has fermented.
  • Transfer the kimchi to an airtight container and refrigerate for at least 2 weeks.
  • The kimchi will continue to ferment in the refrigerator, developing a richer flavor over time.

Tips for Success:

  • Use fresh, high-quality vegetables for the best flavor.
  • If you can’t find Korean anchovy sauce, you can substitute with regular fish sauce.
  • If you don’t have an Asian pear, you can omit it or replace it with a tablespoon of sugar.
  • As kimchi ferments, it will produce gases. Burp the container every few days to release the pressure.
  • The longer you ferment the kimchi, the more sour and spicy it will become. Adjust the fermentation time according to your taste preferences.

Serving Suggestions:

Kimchi is a versatile side dish that can be enjoyed in various ways:

  • Serve alongside grilled or roasted meats, such as beef, pork, or chicken.
  • Use as a condiment in wraps, sandwiches, or burgers.
  • Add to soups, stews, or fried rice for a spicy kick.
  • Make kimchi pancakes or dumplings for a delicious appetizer or snack.

Health Benefits of Kimchi:

In addition to its culinary value, kimchi is also highly nutritious:

  • Rich in probiotics, which support digestive health.
  • Contains vitamins A, C, and K.
  • Good source of fiber and antioxidants.
  • May boost immunity and reduce inflammation.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Q: How long does kimchi last?

A: Homemade kimchi can last for several months in the refrigerator.

Q: Can I freeze kimchi?

A: Yes, you can freeze kimchi for up to 6 months. However, it may lose some of its crispness upon thawing.

Q: Why did my kimchi turn pink?

A: Pink kimchi is caused by a harmless bacteria called Lactobacillus hilgardii. It’s safe to eat and adds a unique flavor to the kimchi.

Q: Can I make kimchi with other vegetables?

A: Yes, you can experiment with different vegetables, such as cucumbers, bell peppers, or carrots.

Q: My kimchi is too spicy. What can I do?

A: You can add more napa cabbage or carrot to dilute the spiciness.

Q: How do I store kimchi opened?

A: Keep opened kimchi in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It should last for several weeks.

By following this comprehensive guide, you can master the art of making kimchi and enjoy this beloved Korean delicacy in the comfort of your own home. Embrace the flavors, the culture, and the health benefits that this culinary treasure brings to the table.