The Best Korean Kimchi Recipe 韓國泡菜

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Esther grew up cooking with her grandma. Grandma taught Esther everything about food, including on how to love every ingredient, appreciate and respect the process of making every dish. Esther believes that is what Korean food is all about: dedication and passing on that kind of love to people.

 

So you may be wondering, what exactly is kimchi? Kimchi is a fermented side dish, which is usually made of napa cabbages, garlic, gingers, scallions, daikon radishes, and with a variety of seasonings. Kimchi is rich in vitamin A, thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), calcium, iron, and contains lactic acid bacteria. Health magazine even named kimchi in its list of the top five “World’s Healthiest Foods”.

 

Korean loves kimchi so much that they made is as a national dish. South Koreans consume about 40 pounds of kimchi per person every year. During South Korea’s involvement in the Vietnam War its government requested American help to ensure that South Korean troops receiving their kimchi supplies. That’s how important kimchi is to Korean.

 

Ingredients:
1 head of napa cabbage, cut lengthwise, quartered
5 tablespoons of rock salt
3 oz of Korean dried cod, shredded (bugeochae)
1 medium daikon radish, about 1 pound, cut into 2-inch matchsticks
1 bunch of scallions, cut into 2-inch pieces
½ of apple, pureed
1 tablespoon of ginger, minced
2 tablespoons of garlic, minced
½ of onion, pureed
1/4 cup of salted shrimp (saewoo juht)
1/4 cup of anchovy fish sauce
1/4 cup of lance fish sauce
1/4 cup of plum extract
2 tablespoons of sweet rice flour
1 1/2 to 2 cups of Korean red chili pepper flakes (gochugaru)

 

Instructions:

1. Rice glue: in a small saucepan, add the rice flour and 2 cups of water over high heat. Bring to a boil, and then reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook for 20 minutes, whisking constantly, until the liquid is thickened to a ribbon-like consistency and you can see the bottom of the pan while whisking. Set aside to cool.

 

2. Add 1 cup of water inside a big bowl, dissolve 2 tablespoons of rock salt, put the Napa cabbages inside the bowl and rub rock salt on every leaf. Leave them there for 5 hours, then flip them and leave them there for another 5 hours. After 10 hours, drain all the excess of water.

 

3. Soften the dried cod with half cup of warm water. Put it aside for the kimchi paste.

 

4. Kimchi paste: In a big bowl, combine the daikon radish, scallions, ginger, garlic, salt shrimps, anchovy fish sauce, lance fish sauce, plum extract, rice glue, dried fish, Korean red chili pepper flakes, and mix everything well to become a paste.

 

5. Bring the cabbages into this bowl, and rub the paste into every single leaf.

 

6. Tightly pack the kimchi into jars or containers with tightly fitting lids, or cover tightly with plastic, making sure it is not exposed to the air. Allow the kimchi to sit at room temperature for at least 2 days, or longer if you desire a stronger flavor. Then put it in the Refrigerate for another 5 days.

 

Special Thanks to Chef Esther and Mokbar

75 9th Avenue
New York, NY 10011
(646) 964-5963

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38 Comments
  1. Henry says

    Thanks you CeCe for sharing this. I will try this out and will let you know more. I always want to know how to make Kimchi.

    1. CiCi says

      I’m so glad that you like this recipe! 🙂

  2. thomassin says

    Hi, recipe looks interesting, but how big the nappa cabbage for these proprtions of ingredients? I’ve seen 3 lbs cabbages and 7-8 pounds cabbages, and these 2 will lead to completely differently hot kimchi. Thanks for this detail.

  3. CiCi says

    Hi Thomas,

    Thank you fort he question! The cabbage that we got is about 6 lbs.

    CiCi

  4. Martin Avila says

    KIam going to try this soon. Where i live there is no asian market so I will have to hunt down the ingredients.. Thank you for this one

    1. CiCi says

      I hope the recipe works out for you! 🙂

  5. Andy says

    Hi Cici,

    I don’t see the ‘plum extract’ in the video. Can you tell me what’s that? Thanks!

    1. CiCi says

      It’s in the video at the 4:06 seconds. 🙂

  6. Mark says

    Salted shrimps: is that a prepared or purchased ingredient?

    1. CiCi says

      You can purchase the salted shrimp in any Asian supermarkets. 🙂

  7. Bassel Baltaji says

    Wow..I saw your video and tried doing it, but i cut the cabbage into 2″ pieces instead of leaving the leaves one piece. It turned out awesome and so delicious, infact i am writing this email and i have a bowl of Kimchi just beside me. I advice everyone to try this recipe for Kimchi. Thank you CICI. I love it.

    Eng. Bassel

    1. CiCi says

      Bassel, thanks for the comment and letting me know that the kimchi recipe works out for you well! Now, my mouth is watering too! 😀

  8. Alice ball says

    I made Kimchi many times in Aus and UK. But I might try this Kimchi recipe .
    Thanks a lot for share and nice to meet you both.

  9. rushad says

    Hi,

    what is the ideal substitute for the korean red chilli flakes?

    1. CiCi says

      Hi Rushad, the taste of Korean Red Chili Flake is indeed very unique. It’s hard to find a substitute for it. If you really can’t find it in a local supermarket, you can also buy it online. Here, I found it on eBay: http://www.ebay.com/itm/like/281641650144?ul_noapp=true&chn=ps&lpid=82

  10. Tammy says

    Hi, I’ve never used those fish sauce before, would you mind showing me where to get it and how the bottles look like? I also want to know for the sweet rice flour too. Thanks.

  11. Robert Henderson says

    Love the video! Went to Asian market today and started gathering all the ingredients. What restaurant was that .

    1. CiCi Li says

      It was in Mŏkbar in NYC. 🙂

  12. Sue says

    Hi there
    I now have your receipe..
    Looking forward to trying it..
    Thank you
    Best wishes
    Sue

    1. CiCi says

      Hi Sue,

      Let me know how it works out for you! 🙂

  13. Esther Cazorla says

    I love kimchi , can’t wait to try this recipe. .where do you get the plum extract? and do you rinse the cabbage after being salted… tnanks!

    1. CiCi says

      Hi Esther,

      You can find plum extract in Korean supermarkets. On the East Coast, we have it in H Mart. Or you can simply get it on the internet, like Amazon.

      And you don’t have to raise off the salt. Let me know how it works out for you. Enjoy! 🙂

  14. Amy says

    Hi Cici: I’ve tried it yesterday. Thanks a ton!
    Now I have a question: I put too much salt and made the kimchi too salty. Is there any way to change it?

    1. CiCi says

      Hi Amy, if your kimchi turned out to be too salty. You can add some other vegetables, like radishes into the kimchi container. It will dilute the salty taste a bit.

  15. Ai @ Ma Recipes says

    Kimchi is so hard to make. I’ve tried a few times but still couldn’t get the taste I wanted. Thanks for your demo and recipe. I got to try again!

  16. Lily Wang says

    Hi, need help here. I want to know what type of Rice flour is sweet rice flour. Is it glutinous rice flour pls ? also what is anchovy fish sauce and lance fish sauce differs from ? are they not the same ? What type of plum sauce are you using ? can I use plum paste instead ? and lastly for the apple puree, are you using red or green apple ?

    Thank you

    Regards.

  17. Chan says

    Annyeong-haseyo 🙂

    can I use chili powder instead of flakes??

    Thanks or the recipe~~

  18. Chana says

    Hi ~ Ceci~
    I am really big of korean food and its cultures 😀

    Q: can I use chili powder instead of flakes??

    Thanks or the recipe~~

  19. Chana says

    Hi ~ Ceci~
    I am really big of korean food and its cultures 😀

    Q: can I use powder instead of flakes??

    Thanks or the recipe~~

  20. Steve says

    Hey there! How long will this keep in the fridge?

    1. DLee says

      It will last for many months. I had mine in my fridge for over a year, but by this time it’s best to stir fry (with maple syrup bacon) or make kim chi soup. Kim chi really never gets bad, just gets smellier and better for you the longer you wait.

  21. ffe says

    Hi,

    are you sure it should be air tight? last time my kimchi container exploded becuz of the generated gas during fermentation.

  22. Matt says

    Thanks for posting this video Cici
    Ive been making almost the identical recipe for years but this is the first time Ive seen the rice paste added. Im going to give it a try for my next batch.
    Best regards

  23. vin says

    Where can one find authentic Korean red chili flakes used in this recipe and not the ones produced in China? Any link will be much appreciated..

    Thanks

  24. Hendra says

    Hi Cici,

    I wanna try to make the Kimchi, but can not find Plum Extract,
    What is the plum extract use for ? Is it to give the sour taste to the kimchi ?
    Can we substitute this item with may be apple vinegar ?

    In your recipe, there are 2 fish sauce, can we just use one of it ?

    Can we use glutinous rice flour to substitute the sweet rice flour ? Or any other suggestion for substitute

  25. Hendra says

    Hi Cici,

    I wanna try make kimchi from youir recipe.

    What is the plum extract use for ? Is it to make the sour taste to the kimchi ? If I can not find the plum extract can it be substitute with apple vinegar or anything else ?

    There are 2 kind of fish sauce in your recipe, can i use just one of them ?

    Sweet rice flour can be substitute with glutinous rice flour or just ordinary rice flour ?

  26. Rick says

    After soaking the cabbage in the salt brine, plus having rubbed every leaf with rock salt, you don’t mention anything about a final rinse of the cabbage after the 10 hours. After adding the additional ingredients, of which many (fish sauce, salted shrimp) wouldn’t the final kimchi be way to salty to the taste? Could you address the issue of a final rinse please.

  27. Catine says

    Hi, I love kimchi very much, but I can’t find Korean red chilli pepper flakes in kedah, Malaysia. Can I use paprika for the kimchi?

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