How to Make Kimchi

Kimchi is a Korean fermented cabbage dish that has gained worldwide popularity, particularly in recent years. Nowadays, it can be found in all kinds of dishes ranging from sandwiches to stews, though it's fantastic to eat on its own as well. If you've never had kimchi before, you might be wary of it; some people do consider it an acquired taste. However, if you're willing to try something new, you might find yourself enamored with this spicy, tangy cabbage dish and be glad to know that you can make it on your own!

Materials Needed

  • 2 pounds (~2 heads) of Napa cabbage cut into 2 inch pieces
  • 1 daikon radish, julienned
  • 6 scallions cut into 2 inch pieces and slivered
  • 1/2 tablespoon of fresh ginger, minced (reduce or increase to taste)
  • 1 cup of garlic, minced (reduce or increase to taste)
  • 1/4 cup of red pepper flakes or ground hot peppers
  • 3 tablespoons of anchovy fish sauce
  • 6 cups of water
  • salt
  • Large, non-reactive bowl or pot
  • A very large jar (2 quart holding capacity, at least).


Note: It takes several days to make kimchi, so patience is key! Day 1

  • Dissolve ~3 tablespoons of salt into 6 cups of water; this is the brine.
  • Put your diced head(s) of cabbage, scallions, and daikon into a large, non-reactive bowl/pot and pour the brine over it.
  • Weigh the cabbage mixture down by putting a heavy plate on top of it. Let stand for 12 hours (overnight).

Day 2

  • Drain the cabbage mixture and reserve the brine.
  • Combine the cabbage with the rest of the ingredients (minced garlic and ginger, ground hot peppers or red pepper flakes, anchovy paste, and another teaspoon of salt) and stir.
  • Pack the cabbage mixture tightly into a jar and pour enough of the reserved brine into the jar to cover it. (You can save the rest of the brine in another jar if you want to keep it).
  • Let the kimchi ferment in a cool place that doesn't get much warmer than 68 degrees Fahrenheit. You may want to put the kimchi on a tray to catch any liquids that might come out as the kimchi ferments.

Day 3 (and Beyond)

  • Allow the cabbage to ferment for 3-6 days. Some people like to check up on their kimchi as the days pass, pressing it down more with a wooden spoon. This is fine, especially if you skimped out on a few hours of cabbage pressing earlier.
  • Put the kimchi in the fridge! It should keep for several months.
  • Eat and enjoy at will!