Kimchi is Korea’s quintessential dish.
Every Korean household has a jar of Kimchi in their refrigerator.
It’s so important that the Korean economy has a "Kimchi Index”.
The index tracks the change in price of the 13 main ingredients used in Kimchi like Napa cabbage, chili, Korean radish, anchovies, etc.
When the price start to climb, it makes national headlines. Stay high for too long…and we’re talking about impeachment (heh!)
There are many different types of Kimchi, but the most famous one is Napa Cabbage Kimchi.
Do Koreans actually make Kimchi at home?
With the dizzying pace of life in Korea, it’s rare to see families (let alone, single livers) make Kimchi it at home.
Back in the old days, families would gather every winter to make an extra-large batch of Kimchi for the whole year.
This event is called Gimjang in Korean.
To describe gimjang in a few phrases...
Newspaper spread over the floor. Large plastic tubs filled with Kimchi paste. Gloves on. Mini squabbles between family members...
And a whole lot of Kimchi!
Today, we’ll show you a simple recipe that you can use to make your first homemade Kimchi.
Best of all, we’ll only use 1 Napa cabbage.
That way, if you mess up… its okay! No big deal... just buy another one (However, if you mess up with a batch of 10 cabbages, chances are you'll never try again!)
I highly-recommend that you follow each step as instructed below!
Remember to sample the cabbage (or Kimchi paste) as you proceed through each step.
Then make notes on a scratch pad about the spiciness, saltiness, etc. On your next try, you can the include less salt, more gochugaru or other adjustements.
Soon enough, you'll have your own personal Kimchi recipe that's tailor-fitted to your palate.
Key Taste Variable: Time
The Kimchi will taste different as it sits and ferments in the refrigerator.
Try tasting it fresh - right after you finish making it.
Then sample a piece - after 24 hours at room temperature, and being chilled in the refrigerator.
You will notice the flavor get deeper, slightly more sour and concentrated as the days go on. I think it tastes best when it's been in the refrigerator for about 3-4 days.
Regardless, if you get stuck or have any troubles with the recipe, DM us on IG!
We’ll be more than happy to help you out 🤓
-Daniel out 🕺
Kimchi - A simple recipe for your first time
- Napa cabbage - 1 head
- Kosher salt or Sea Salt - 1.5 cups Don't use regular dining salt - the salt crystals should be large
- Korean radish - 2 inch piece
- Asian Chives - 20 stalks
- Dashima Kombu - iPhone size piece of
- Shiitake mushrooms - 4
- Glutinous rice powder - 2 Tablespoon ok to use all-purpose flour as well
- Gochugaru Korean red chili flakes - 1 cup
- Minced garlic - 2 Tablespoon
- Minced ginger - 1 Tablespoon
- Anchovy sauce - ¼ cup
- Honey - 2 Tablespoon
- Sugar - ½ Tablespoon
- Kosher Salt - 1 Tablespoon
- Cut the Napa cabbage into 4 pieces. Wash thoroughly and get off any dirt - especially near the stems.
- Fill a large plastic bowl with 6 cups of water. Then add-in ½ cup* of kosher salt. [*NOTE: In the video, we state to add 1 cup of kosher salt. That's because we purposely didn't stir the water until the salt pieces completely dissolved. Some of our viewers have stirred the water until all of the salt crystals disintegrate - which makes the water too salty! To avoid confusion, we recommend using only ½ cup of kosher salt.] After adding the ½ cup, give the water a few stirs with your hands. (Again, no need to completely dissolve the salt into the water.) Then quickly dip each cabbage piece into the water - just so its wet, don't leave it sitting in the water. Afterwards, set it on a strainer and let it drip-off excess water for a few minutes.
- Then pour-out 1 cup** of kosher salt - we'll use roughly this amount for the entire 4 cabbage pieces. Now, grab some salt with your fingers and toss it onto each layer of the cabbage - just a few sprinkles for each layer. (Imagine sprinkling salt on an egg - thats the amount you want to put on each layer.) Focus the salt onto the white stems of the cabbage.[**NOTE: You do NOT need to sprinkle on the whole 1 cup of salt - okay to use like ¾ cup and have some leftover (as cabbage sizes are not always the same). Don't over-salt in this stage or your Kimchi will taste too salty] Then cover it with a lid (to prevent bugs from getting in) and let it sit in room-temperature for at least 6 hours (or overnight).
- Next day, bend the cabbage stem and check that it doesn't snap. If it does snap, let it sit for longer in the salty water.
- Drain the cabbage from the brine and wash each layer thoroughly under a running faucet. After one round of washing, wash again! This second wash will help reduce the overall salty flavor from the leaves. [IMPORTANT: At this point, taste the cabbage leaf - it should taste slightly-salty, but not overly salty.]Wash it again for a third time - if it tastes too salty.
- Set the washed cabbage pieces on a strainer and get rid of excess water.
- Peel Korean radish. Then cut each section into thin circles. Then cut each circle into thin match sticks.
- Cut asian chives into 2 inch sections.
- Take out a pot and fill with 2 cups of water. Place in 4 Shiitake mushrooms and dashima pieces. Put it on a medium heat and cook for 10 minutes to extract broth. Strain the broth and let it fully cool down. (Note: It is important to let the stock broth cool down completely)
- When the broth is cooled down, place in the glutinous rice powder (or flour) and mix into the stock. Mix thoroughly to get rid of all clumps. (Note: Don't turn on the heat until you have fully mixed the powder into the stock). Then place the pot onto a medium heat. Keep stirring until the paste thickens up and gets a gravvy-like consistency.
- Get a large plastic bowl. Put in Gochugaru, minced garlic, minced ginger, anchovy sauce, honey, salt and sugar. Then put-in the paste as well. Give all of the ingredients a good mix.
- Then put-in the Korean radish and garlic chive pieces as well. Mix veggies in and coat them in the thick paste.
- Place Kimchi paste on each layer of the cabbage leaf (reference video). Repeat for all 4 cabbage pieces.
- Place the finished Kimchi pieces into a large Tupperware or large mason jar.
- Place plastic wrap over the container and poke some holes into it. Let it sit out in room temperature for one day.
- The next day, you will see bubbles in the kimchi liquid (from the fermentation). Now place the fermenting kimchi in the refrigerator. Let it chill in the refrigerator for a few hours
- Once the kimchi is cold, chop the cabbage into sections and serve! Enjoy!
- Make sure to cool down the stock soup before placing in the glutinous rice powder. Fully stir in the powder until you see no lumps - then turn on the heat.
- With each week, the Kimchi will taste more sour as it ferments longer. Kimchi is edible for many months. "Aged" Kimchi is popular in Kimchi Jjigae or Kimchi panackes.
- If you have any specific questions, leave us a comment.
- Watch video below for more details.
This is my 2nd time using your kimchi recipe (1st time turned out great ) and I was wondering if there was an expiration date for kimchi after its been set in the fridge. The 1st time I did this I only used 1 cabbage and my large family ate it too fast for me to have to worry about when it might go bad lol. But now I'm using 4 cabbages so just in case we eat it slower this time I want to be able to put a date on my jars.
I've made one batch of kimchi that lasted a year in the fridge before I devoured it! Once it's in the refrigerator, kimchi ferments so slowly that it can comfortably last for months and even years!
Angela Denizac says
When I first found that I loved Korean cuisine I was a little overwhelmed, however my love for cooking and desire to learn drove me to find a way. Along the way I found the
"Future Neighbor's" YouTube channel and it helped to pave the way in my journey to successfully preparing wonderful Korean dishes. Kimchi is now a daily standard staple in my house, one that I am very proud to know I prepare myself. I have since modified the original recipe, as most cooks do, tweaking it to my preferences. However, in the many months since I have discovered my love of Korean food and begun the dance of learning to preparing the cuisine I have never lost appreciation for Daniel and Katie's channel or this wonderfully simple recipe that I started with. I encourage all my friends and family that I share my kimchi with to check out this the video and written recipe. I want to thank Daniel and Katie for sharing their cultural heritage through recipes, honest, simple, fun videos with the world. I really appreciate all you do. Thank you.
Hi Daniel and Katie! I followed your recipe, left the kimchi out at room temperature (~28 degrees Celcius) for 24 hours before letting it rest in the refrigerator at 3 degrees Celcius. It's been about 2 months but the kimchi turned out more spicy than sour. Still yummy though! Any tips to deepen the sourness of the kimchi? Thanks 🙂
Hello Neighbors! is it okay to mix in the mushrooms and the kombu from the dashi into the kimchi?
I cant find Kosher salt, wondering i can use normal salt and probably use only 1/2 of ur kosher salt portion? Or what will be the amount you recommend for cooking salt? Thank you!
As long as you use non-iodized salt it will be fine. Iodized salt will likely halt the fermentation process. Taste as you go as fine salt is likely twice as salty as flaky kosher salt.
Thanks for the thorough recipe, you guys are so cool.
I made a kimchi batch, but after just a week or two, molds started to grow at the top of the container and there was an unmistakeably bad smell as soon as I took off the lid. I kept them refrigerated this whole two weeks.
is there anything I should've been avoiding? has this happened to you?
Hi Vesta! 2 weeks is not a long time when it comes to kimchi. Many times, we eat Kimchi after 6 months. My guess is that it has to do with the container you put it in. You want to sterilize the jar/container first if you will make a lot and keep in the refrigerator for a long(er) period of time.
Hello Dan-yul, I usually buy my kimchi from my local Asian supermarket but I'm going to try your recipe. I've noticed that many recipes assume a napa cabbage (chines leaf here in the uk) to be about 3lbs but the ones I buy are usually only half that weight. What sort of weight are you thinking of for this recipe?
Hi Sue! Happy to hear that you will try it out! The NAPA cabbage we used in this recipe was similar size to the 3lb that you mention (our was about 1.5~2kg). If you're working with smaller ones, I would recommend using rouhgly half the amount of salt that we did... so about 1/4 cup for dissolving into the water and about 1/3 cup for sprinkling between the leaves. (Make sure to wash the leaves thoroughly to rinse off all the salt afterwards). For the paste itself, I think dividing everything by half could work 🙂 Let us know how it turns out!
First time I see Kimchi recipe with Shiitake, kombu and honey. Did you guys try letting it ferment for longer? How about a week? How about two weeks?
Would love to see other Kimchi recipe from other parts of Korea 😉
Keep the good work!
Hi Daniel and Katie!
So I made my first batch of kimchi this past Friday, but it turned out to be way too salty even though I had washed it twice. Is there any way I can reduce the saltiness of my kimchi? I added additional Korean radish in-between each layer of cabbage. Would adding sugar help combat this? Also, how long are we supposed to put the cabbage in the salt-diffused water? I looked at both the recipe and the video and didn't see a specific amount of time it should be in the water for. I'm so excited and still hopeful for my kimchi and am excited to try again and see what I can do differently next time. Thank you so much for your time and for providing awesome recipes and videos for the world to see!
Happy that you tried it out! Great job 🙂 Hmm, based on your comment, lets look at a few variables. (1) First are you using kosher salt? This is a must - as dining table salt is way too salty, given the measurements in the video. (2) As for the putting in the salt-diffused water, this is just a one-time dip - we don't leave it sitting in it. (3) When spreading salt in between the leaves, just a few sprinkles. On your next attempt - After you finish through the steps, let it sit overnight and wash-off the leaves, try tasting the leaves. It should be slightly salty (not overly salty).
I hope that works and don't feel discouraged! Making Kimchi is tough and everyone makes their own unique tweaks until it fits their palate!