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Fermented Kimchi

January 12th, 2015
Homemade Kimchi in a Bottle

I took a fermentation class a few months ago and have been playing around with this technique ever since.  Fermented vegetables are more easily digested than raw vegetables and they contain living bacteria that are incredibly healthy for your gut.  Fermenting is also just an incredible way to preserve any vegetables you have lying around that are about to go bad.  Here’s a fermented kimchi recipe that is absolutely amazing and super easy to make.  It takes a few days, but trust me – it is worth the wait!

1 head of Napa cabbage
1 quarts of water
1 cup of sea salt
**Do not use regular iodized, table salt – this actually inhibits the fermentation process.
1 medium yellow or white onion, peeled and quartered
1 medium apple, peeled and cubed
1 head of garlic, peeled (not a clove, a whole head!)
1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup Korean coarse red pepper powder
1-2 tsp cayenne pepper (optional – depends on how spicy you want your kimchi)
2 tablespoons of arrowroot powder
1/4 cup fish sauce
1 medium daikon radish, julienned
1 cup of scallions, cut into 2 inch long pieces


  1. Remove discolored leaves from outside of the cabbage. Slice cabbage through the stem into quarters. Slice each wedge into 1 or 2 inch pieces.Raw Napa Cabbage
  2. Dissolve 1 cup of sea salt into the quart of water. Add the water to the cabbage in a large bowl. If cabbage is not fully submerged in water, add more water (you might need an extra quart or so depending on how big your cabbage is).                   
  3. Place a some sort of weight over the cabbage, I use a plate with a cup on top as a weight. The purpose is to the make sure the cabbage is fully submerged in the salt water solution (if a few leaves end of floating to the top, it’s fine).                  Kimchi2
  4. Soak the cabbage in the salt water overnight at room temperature.
  5. The next morning, the cabbage will have drastically changed from crisp to limp. Remove the cabbage from the salt water and rinse with fresh water gently.  Drain again and squeeze as much water from the cabbage as possible, best to use your hands for this step. Set aside in a bowl.Soaked Napa Cabbage
  6. Blend onion, apple, garlic  and ginger in a blender or food processor, a thick paste should form. Add fish sauce to this paste and set aside.
  7. In a large bowl, mix the Korean red chili pepper powder, cayenne, arrowroot powder. Add the puree of onion, apple, garlic, ginger and fish sauce to these dry ingredients to make a kimchi paste.
  8. Add cabbage, daikon and scallions to the kimchi paste. Combine well. If you are using your hands to mix, use gloves because it’s spicy!Fresh Kimchi
  9. Pack kimchi into glass containers, I usually use 2 regular sized mason jars. Pack the kimchi down tightly and smooth any remaining kimchi paste on top of the vegetables in each jar.
  10. Cover with a loose lid to allow for some air flow and store at room temperature to ferment for at ~3 days. Every day you will see pockets of air forming throughout the jar, this means it’s working! The cabbage and daikon are fermenting and these air pockets are basically bubbles of gas from the bacteria that are growing. When you see these pockets of air form, use a spoon to push the kimchi down further into the jar. This will release these air bubbles, bring them to the surface and allow your kimchi to keep fermenting nicely.                                                                  Kimchi Fermenting
  11. After ~3 days, seal the jar tightly and store in the refrigerator. The kimchi will be good for at least 1 month. Use as a condiment in dishes or just eat it with a spoon in the middle of the kitchen like my fiancé does. Enjoy!
Recipe by Michelle S. Gupta, PhD Candidate



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Fermented Kimchi
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4 Responses

  1. Margaret says:

    Great post! Here is my question: which one offers more probiotic values/nutrition? Kim-chi [straight from its jar] or cooked kimchi [i.e. kimchi soup, stew]?

    • Andi Petty says:

      Great question Margaret! In my opinion, you will get more probiotic value from cold, natural kimchi straight from the jar as heating it could kill off some of that healthy bacteria =)

  2. Daniel says:

    What do you think this would taste like without the fish sauce?

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