Traditional Kimchi Recipe (2024)

Kimchi is popular worldwide. It is a traditional ethnic Korean staple that is made of salted and fermented vegetables. The commonly used ingredients are cabbage and radish with a variety of seasonings including chili, scallions, garlic, ginger, and fermented salted seafood. It is widely eaten as a side dish but kimchi is also used as an ingredient in a wide variety of Korean dishes. Although the most globally recognized kimchi is made from cabbage, there are actually more than 200 variations of this fermented dish and countless ways to enjoy it. Today we are demonstrating how to make the traditional kimchi. You can eat this freshly made or fermented. It can be a perfect side dish to your grilled or fried meats or seafood or, used to make your kimchi fried rice or, added to your soup to give it a kick of spice and a depth of flavor.


• 6 lb Napa cabbage
• ½ cup of kosher salt
• 2 cups of radish, cut into thin strips
• 1 cup of carrot, cut into thin strips
• 7 to 8 scallions, chopped
• 1 cup of chives, chopped
• 1 cup water dropwort (minori), chopped (optional)


• 2 cups of water
• 2 tbsp glutinous rice flour
• 2 tbsp brown sugar

Kimchi Paste:

• 24 cloves of garlic, minced or pureed
• 2 tsp ginger, minced
• 1 medium onion, minced
• ½ cup fish sauce
• ¼ cup of fermented salted shrimp (saeujeot), chopped
• 2 cups of hot pepper flakes (gochugaru)


This recipe takes about 30 minutes to make. The salting process takes about 2 hours. Kimchi needs to ferment for at least a day. Makes about 8 lb of Kimchi.

To prepare the Napa cabbage for salting, slice off the tough part of the core.
Carefully split the cabbage in half, lengthwise.
Cut a small slit through the center of the core of each cabbage. This way the leaves are loose but still attached to the core.
Wash the cabbage thoroughly and place them in a basin.
Sprinkle salt on each leaf. Lift every layer as you go along but be careful not to tear off the leaves from the core.
Set the cabbage aside for 2 hours but turn the cabbage over every 30 minutes to ensure even salting. You will notice more water at the bottom of the basin every time you turn the cabbage.
After 2 hours, split the cabbage halves into 2 and wash them several times under cold running water to remove any salt particles or dirt.
Put the cabbage in a strainer to drain excess water.
To make the porridge or rice paste, continuously stir water, glutinous rice flour, and sugar in a pot over medium heat for 9 minutes.
Let this cool completely.
To make the kimchi paste, put porridge in a large mixing bowl. Add garlic, ginger, onion, fish sauce, fermented salted shrimp, and hot pepper flakes. Mix well with the wooden spoon.
Add the radish, carrots, scallions, chives, and water dropwort. Mix well.
Take your cabbage and rub kimchi paste on each cabbage leaf.
Fold or roll the cabbage into a packet and put them in a leak-proof plastic container or jar. Make sure you press to pack the kimchi well before putting the lid on.
You may eat kimchi right away or let it sit for a few days to ferment.

Ideas And Tips:

• The kimchi will start fermenting in a day or two at room temperature. Warmer temperatures hasten fermentation. Fermentation starts when the kimchi smells and tastes sour. It is recommended that you store kimchi in the refrigerator after a day or two to slow down the fermentation process. It is also recommended that you press the kimchi down with a spoon to release the bubbles at the bottom of the container and to make sure that the cabbage stays submerged in the liquid.

• If you can’t find water dropwort or minori in your area, you may skip this ingredient, but definitely not the scallions.

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Traditional Kimchi Recipe (1)

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Traditional Kimchi Recipe (2)

Traditional Kimchi Recipe (2024)


How is kimchi made traditionally? ›

The process of making kimchi involves brining (salting) the vegetables to draw out the water, which helps in preservation and allows the seasonings to penetrate the food over time; the final salt concentration ranges from 2-5%. Kimchi is typically fermented by 'wild cultures' naturally present on the vegetables.

What is the ingredients of Korean kimchi? ›

Image of What is the ingredients of Korean kimchi?
Napa cabbage is a type of Chinese cabbage originating near the Beijing region of China that is widely used in East Asian cuisine. Since the 20th century, it has also become a widespread crop in Europe, the Americas and Australia. In much of the world, it is referred to as "Chinese cabbage".

Can kimchi go bad? ›

If you have store-bought kimchi that's been opened, it will be good for 3-4 days at room temperature and up to 6 months when refrigerated. Signs of your kimchi going bad include mold growth, an alcoholic smell, and an extremely sour taste.

How long to ferment kimchi before eating? ›

Add a cabbage leaf as a follower and a glass weight to jar to keep vegetables under the liquid. Cap with an airlock lid and place in a cool, dark place. Ferment for 5-10 days, remove lid, weight and follower. If it has a pH of 4 and/or tastes tangy it is done.

Is kimchi difficult to make? ›

Kimchi may seem complex to make, but it's no more difficult than making a salad. Summary: Kimchi is typically made with cabbage, radish, garlic, onion, ginger, carrot, fish sauce, and chili flakes.

Is there a difference between kimchi and fermented kimchi? ›

Taste. The biggest difference between fresh and fermented Kimchi is the taste. Fresh Kimchi is more like a salad, so it taste more raw, fresh and crunchy. Fermented Kimchi is softer and tangy.

What is the most important ingredient in kimchi? ›

In general, kimchi is made using Chinese leaves (Napa cabbage) or radish as the primary ingredient, with red chilli pepper powder, garlic and spring onions used as supplementary ingredients.

What is in Seoul kimchi original? ›

Napa Cabbage, Chili Pepper, Carrot, Garlic, Green Onion, Cane Sugar, Onion, Salted Baby Shrimp, Sea Salt, Ginger, Anchovy Extract.

What is the ratio of salt to cabbage in kimchi? ›

When making kimchi, you want to end up with 2–3% salt content by weight. If you're a Korean grandma, you can eyeball it. For the rest of us, here's a simple Google Sheet calculator to ensure you end with up with the right salt content. Feel free to copy and modify with your own recipe.

Why are there black dots on my kimchi? ›

Is it safe to eat? The cause of black dots, known as “pepper spot” or “black spec”, is likely to be low light levels, high soil pH, fertilizers high in nitrogen and phosphorus, and harvesting & storage conditions.

Can fermenting kimchi go wrong? ›

As your JIN Kimchi ferments like any other Kimchi, it starts smelling slightly sour and vinegary, this aroma gets stronger over time and is perfectly normal! However, if your Kimchi starts to smell rotten, it has most likely gone bad.

Can kimchi go bad in fridge? ›

Since kimchi continues to ferment in the fridge, you may find it unpleasantly sour and mushy after a few months — but if you prefer the pungent taste, that may not necessarily be a bad thing. Old kimchi can start to mold over time, though, so inspect your jar for mold and toss it if you notice anything off.

Why is kimchi buried in the ground? ›

In traditional preparation, kimchi was stored underground in jars to keep cool during the summer months and unfrozen during the winter months. There are hundreds of varieties of kimchi made from napa cabbage, radish, scallion, or cucumber as a main ingredient.

How did Koreans invent kimchi? ›

Historically, kimchi was born from the intention of Korean people to eat vegetables safely and deliciously later during the cold and harsh winter. They prepared yangnyeom (seasonings) firstly by mixing garlic, gochugaru (red chili powder), ginger and green onion prior to soaking vegetables in this mixture.

What is the difference between Japanese kimchi and Korean kimchi? ›

Korean kimchi is made with Chinese cabbage, red pepper, garlic, salted fish and ginger, and then stored in clay containers to ferment for at least four weeks. (Korea Food Research Institute) However, Japanese kimchi is made with Chinese cabbage and artificial flavor, skipping the fermentation process.

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