How to Make Kimchi: 5 Delicious Recipes

8 mins read
By: Mayura Benjarataanapakee on Shutterstock

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Just as Korean Pop Culture has made its mark, Korean cuisine has gained widespread popularity in the past few years and filled every nook and corner of the world.

After watching the BTS members turn their kitchen upside down, most of us are guilty of googling recipes like “How to make kimchi” or “How to make gimbap.”

Kimchi is among the most popular fermented foods in Korean cuisine and is eaten alongside multiple Korean dishes. It is made of fermented cabbage daikon radish and contains healthy bacteria.

There can be several kimchi variations and many recipes on ‘how to make kimchi.’ These are determined by the vegetable used and the mixture of seasoning to flavor the Kimchi.

  • Baechu Kimchi follows the traditional kimchi recipe of using Napa cabbage with various seasonings.
  • BaechuGeotjeori– Unlike fermented Kimchi, this recipe uses unfermented Napa cabbage.
  • Dongchimi /Winter Kimchi is a watery variant made with Radish produced with comparatively fewer spices and seasonings.
  • Kkakdugi– It is Radish-based Kimchi that also contains fermented shrimp.
  • Oi Sobagi – It is a cucumber-based kimchi recipe

So if you wish to know more about this Korean delicacy, keep reading further.


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By: Brent Hofacker on Shutterstock

1. Basic Rules To Keep In Mind

  1. A necessary process to be noted while making Kimchi is fermentation. Kimchi is fermented at room temperature within 1-2 days and takes longer in the refrigerator.
  2. The step of salting the Kimchi and adding red pepper powder curbs the growth of harmful bacteria and aids the growth of lactic acid bacteria, causing the final product to be of high quality and flavor.
  3. The fermentation process should not last longer than two days, compromising the Kimchi’s quality.
  4. Moreover, the Kimchi should be stored in an airtight or Kimchi container post-fermentation refrigerator.
  5. Stored Kimchi should be consumed within a week of production as its quality might deteriorate.

Keeping all the tips in mind, here is an easy guide to making traditional homemade Kimchi.

2. Tong Baechu Kimchi Recipe/ Napa Cabbage Kimchi Recipe

The traditional kimchi recipe is the Tong Baechu kimchi, also called the Napa cabbage kimchi. It is an excellent recipe that produces well-fermented Kimchi.

It is eaten alongside everyday meals in a Korean households. Here are some easy steps on how to make Kimchi:

2.1 Ingredients Required to Make Kimchi

Basic ingredients required to make Kimchi-

  • Napa cabbage/Chinese cabbage or a few large cabbages: 8-10 lb.
  • Kosher Salt: 1 Cup


  1. Remove the stem and cut the cabbage lengthwise into halves.
  2. Cut a small slit of 3-4 inches in the Centre of each half.
  3. Soak the Napa cabbage in salt water (1/2 cup salt + 5 cups cold water).
  4. Let it sit for about 30 minutes.
  5. Drain the excess saltwater, sprinkle salt between each cabbage leaf, and let it sit for about 2 hours. This will allow the cabbage to thoroughly soak in the salt, developing its taste and flavor.
  6. Turn it over every 30 minutes for the salt to be absorbed evenly. 

2.2 Ingredients for Dashima Broth/ Kimchi Base

  • 2 cups plain water
  • 2 tbsp. glutinous rice flour/ all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp. brown sugar

How to

  1. Heat 2 cups of plain water on medium heat and add 2 tbsp: of glutinous sweet rice flour or all-purpose flour.
  2. Stir the mixture consistently until there are no lumps formed.
  3. As the mixture starts to boil, add 2 tbsp—brown sugar.
  4. Stir occasionally to make a thin rice paste.
  5. Turn off the heat and let the broth cool.

2.3 Ingredients for Seasoning

  • Sliced daikon radish and carrots.
  • Finely chopped scallion (green onions)
  • Chopped Asian Chives (Buchu) and Java Water Dropwort (Minari) – Optional
  • 1/2 cup Fish sauce
  • 1/4 cup fermented salted shrimp.
  • 1-2 cups hot paprika powder/red pepper flakes

Source: Shutterstock

2.4 Ingredients for Puree

  • 1/2 cup Garlic
  • 2 tbsp. chopped Ginger
  • 1 cup chopped Onion
  • 1/4 cup plain water


  1. Add 1/2 cup of garlic and 1 cup of Onion in 1/4 cup of plain water, and blend them into a thick paste.
  2. Add 2 tbsp. Chopped ginger and blended it into a smooth paste.
  3. Make sure the paste is fine, thick, and has no lumps.

How to

  1. Add the Dashima broth/Kimchi base and Puree and mix it thoroughly in a large bowl. Stir it continuously to dissolve any lumps.
  2. Add the chopped vegetables (Daikon Radish, Green onions, carrots)
  3. Add 1/2 cup Fish sauce to the paste.
  4. Take the fermented salted shrimp, squeeze the juice out and mince them before adding it to the Kimchi paste.
  5. Add 1-2 cups of hot paprika powder or red pepper flakes per the spice level required.

(1 cup for Mild spice, 2 cups for extreme spice)

2.5. Final Kimchi recipe

  1. Wash the salted Napa cabbage in a large bowl and tear it along the slits.
  2. Drain the excess water.
  3. Spread the kimchi paste evenly along with the cabbage leaves.
  4. Beef, fish slices, or dried shrimp can be placed between the leaves for extra protein. For vegan Kimchi, refrain from adding meat.
  5. Fill it in a Kimchi container/ an airtight container and press down to remove air pockets.
  6. Let the Kimchi sit for a few days to allow fermentation. The growth of lactic acid bacteria will release a sour smell, which means the lactic fermentation process is done.
  7. Transfer the contents into a mason jar and press it down to submerge the Kimchi in the kimchi juice.
  8. In hot weather, keep the mason jar in the refrigerator.

3. Baechu Geotjeori (Unfermented Kimchi)

Geotjeori is an unfermented Kimchi eaten alongside Korean dishes such as mild soups and noodle soups. Here is another exciting Kimchi recipe for those who love Korean cuisine. Here are some easy steps on how to make Kimchi:

Essential ingredients required for making Kimchi-

  • Napa cabbage or a large cabbage: 2.5 lb.
  • Coarse sea salt : 3 tbsp.


  1. Remove the stem and cut the cabbage along the lengths into halves.
  2. Tear the Napa cabbage leaves and place them in a large bowl.
  3. Add 3 tbsp. Coarse sea salt and mix them lightly.
  4. Sprinkle some water over the cabbage to speed up the salting process.
  5. Let it sit for about 60 minutes, and flip over the leaves every 20 minutes.
  6. The salting is over when the cabbage is wilted and slightly bendable. Then, rinse the leaves in plain water.

Ingredients for Seasoning

  • Sliced daikon radish and carrots.
  • Finely chopped scallion (green onions)
  • Chopped Asian Chives (Buchu) and Java Water Dropwort (Minari) – Optional
  • 1 tbsp. Cup Fish sauce
  • One cup of Korean Oligodang, corn syrup, or brown sugar for sweetening.
  • 2 tbsp. Garlic
  • 1/2 tbsp. chopped ginger
  • Sesame seeds


  1. Crush the garlic and mince it with a knife.
  2. Grate the ginger into a fine consistency.
  3. Add the ginger and garlic into a large bowl and 4 tbsp Korean Red Chili flakes.
  4. Mix them thoroughly with 3 tbsp of fish sauce.
  5. Since this kimchi recipe does not require fermentation, a sweetener develops the taste. Add 2 tbsp of sweetener and a couple of spoons of water to thin the seasoning.
  6. Mix the paste well.
  7. Add the chopped vegetables and the rinsed cabbage leaves, and mix them all.
  8. Touch up with sesame seeds, and it is ready to serve.

Source: Shutterstock

4. Dongchimi (Winter Kimchi)

Dongchimi is water kimchi made of Radish. It is traditionally made before winter or late fall and is called ‘Winter Kimchi.’ Here are some easy steps on how to make Kimchi:

Basic Ingredients Required

  • 6-8 Korean radishes.
  • 1/3 cup Kosher Salt


  1. Wash the radishes and clean them thoroughly.
  2. Add the salt to a large bowl, dip the Radish in it, and coat it evenly.
  3. Put the salted Radish in a glass jar and put some radish leaves on top.
  4. Close the lid and refrigerate for 4-5 days.

Ingredients for Seasoning

  • Four cloves of minced garlic.
  • 2 tbsp. minced Ginger
  • 2-3 green chili peppers
  • 2-3 red chili peppers
  • 1 cup of finely cut Korean Pear
  • 3 Scallions with roots
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions
  • 9 cups of water


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By: Incheols Hwang on Shutterstock

  1. Wrap the ginger and garlic in a cloth with its ends tied together and place it inside the jar.
  2. Add a few holes into the green and red chili peppers and add them along with the tied garlic and ginger to the jar.
  3. Add the finely cut pear, chopped onions, green onions, and cups of water and stir lightly with a spoon.
  4. Close the lid back and leave the jar at room temperature for 2-3 days to let the kimchi ferment.
  5. Post-fermentation, the water will turn milky and smell sour. Store it in the refrigerator and serve when required.

5. Kkakdugi (Cubed Radish Kimchi)

Kkkakdugi is a kimchi recipe made of Radish and is popular in Korean cooking. It is served alongside daily meals paired with the traditional Napa cabbage kimchi. Here are some easy steps on how to make Kimchi:

Basic ingredients-

  • 4Fourlb. of Korean Radish
  • 2 tbsp. coarse sea salt
  • 2 tbsp. sugar


  1. Peel and thoroughly clean the Korean Radishes and cut them into cubes of about 1 inch.
  2. Add 2tbsp. Of both salt and sugar and mix them well.
  3. Set the mixture aside for 30 minutes to allow the Radish to soak the salt and sugar seasoning.

Ingredients for Seasoning

  • Four finely chopped scallions (green onions)
  • 1 tbsp. minced Ginger
  • 2 tbsp. minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce
  • 2/3 cup Korean chili flakes


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By: Becky’s on Shutterstock

  1. Drain the Radish juice into a bowl and add the minced garlic, ginger, and onions.
  2. Add 1/4 cup fish sauce and 2/3 cup Korean chili flakes into the mixture.
  3. Mix all the ingredients into a consistent paste and ensure the radish cubes are evenly coated with seasoning to develop their flavor.
  4. Transfer the kkakdugi into a glass jar and press down the contents to remove all air pockets.
  5. Leave it outside for 2-3 days and let the kimchi ferment. Store away in a refrigerator post-fermentation and serve when required.

6. Oi Sobagi (Cucumber Kimchi)

Oi Sobagi is a traditional kimchi recipe with kimchi paste stuffed with vegetables in a cucumber pocket. It does not require fermentation and can be served straight after preparation. Here are some easy steps on how to make Kimchi:

Basic ingredients-

  • 2Twolb. worth of cucumber
  • 2 tbsp. salt


  1. Wash and clean the cucumbers and slice them twice along the length at right angles while keeping the end intact. This will turn them into pockets.
  2. Please place them in a bowl and add salt both inside and out. Make sure that salt has been rubbed evenly along the length of the cucumbers. Let them sit for about 20 minutes to allow the cucumbers to soak in the salt.
  3. After 20 mins, rinse the cucumbers to remove excess salt and drain them.

Ingredients for Seasoning

  • 1 cup Buchu ( Asian Chives) finely chopped
  • Four cloves of minced garlic
  • 1Onemedium-sized carrot cut into thin stripes
  • 1/2 cup pepper flakes.
  • 3 tbsp. Fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tbsp. sesame seeds


  1. Add the Asian chives, thinly sliced carrot, hot pepper flakes, fish sauce, brown sugar, and sesame seeds. Mix them thoroughly and make a paste.
  2. Stuff the paste into the cucumber pockets.
  3. Serve as required and store in the refrigerator.

7. Side Dishes

Apart from the easy kimchi recipes, here is a list of dishes paired with Kimchi to make every meal happy.

  1. Pair your traditional Kimchi with a bowl of steaming rice and fried eggs. This healthy meal has a balanced amount of nutrients and a good protein intake. Moreover, it keeps you full for several hours.
  2. Kimchi Fried Rice- Fry your leftover rice in some kimchi and olive oil to make a quick meal while you are in a rush. It is healthy and filling and will satisfy your cravings.
  3. Kimchi with Dumplings- Pair kimchi with pork/beef or chicken fillings and wrap them into little dumplings. This blend of cuisine will lift your mood like no other.
  4. Kimchi noodles- Add Kimchi to your noodles to get an instant kick-in taste. Easy to cook and has a savory flavor. The spicy flavor of the Kimchi blended with the noodles is a perfect dinner for a night in.
  5. Kimchi with Barbequed chicken- No other meal can beat the combination of Barbequed chicken with some kimchi. This heavenly pair will leave you craving more and more of it.
  6. Kimchi stew- Slow cook some kimchi with leftover beef or pork stew to add a new flavor, and eat with steamed rice. This is great for days when you’re too lazy to cook but are also skeptical about ordering in.

Closing Thoughts

Here are some other unusual dishes you can pair with homemade Kimchi with easy kimchi recipe and dishes in this post. I hope the post satisfied the budding chef in you. Make sure to comment on which recipe you tried and liked the most. HAPPY COOKING.

Also, click here for a quick guide on 25 Kids Bento Box ideas.



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