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Fresh homemade kimchi in a bowl.

Easy Korean Kimchi - Fermented Spicy Cabbage

Seasoned and fermented to perfection, this easy Korean Kimchi is one very versatile dish. Eat it by itself or add to a myriad of meals including Korean Army Stew and Pajeon Kimchi Seafood Pancakes.
Course Condiment, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine Korean
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Soaking Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 15 minutes
Servings 1 Jar
Calories 229kcal
Cost $7



  • Chop cabbage into large chunks and sprinkle with the salt. Mix it through all the leaves. Add 6 cups (1.5 quart / 1.5 litres) of cold water and mix the cabbage again. Pop a heavy plate on top, to keep the cabbage under water.
    1/4 cabbage, 3 tbsp salt, 6 cups water
  • Soak the salted cabbage in the salt water for 4 - 6 hours, turning over the cabbage pieces every 2 hours. Humidity will play a role here, so the higher the humidity in your environment the less time you'll need to soak and vice versa. In Australia, it's recommended to soak around 4 hours.
  • While the cabbage is soaking, it's time to mix the seasoning. In a small bowl, add the Korean chilli flakes, garlic, salted shrimp (or miso), fish sauce, sugar, pear juice (or apple), dashi powder dissolved in warm water and chopped spring onion.
    2 tbsp Korean hot pepper flakes / gochugaru, 1 tbsp garlic, 1 tbsp salted shrimp, 1 tbsp fish sauce, 1 tbsp sugar, 1 tbsp pear juice, 1/4 tsp dashi powder, 1 bunch spring onion / green onion
  • After soaking the cabbage, rinse the cabbage two or three times under fresh water to remove the salt. We find a colander works well for this step. The cabbage should now have a flexible texture.
  • Transfer the rinsed cabbage to a large bowl and add the kimchi seasoning. (We recommend gloves for this next step.) Using your hands, work the seasoning through the cabbage, making sure everything is very well coated. You can have a taste here and see if your kimchi needs any more chilli or salt to your preference.
  • Next it's time to store the kimchi in a large jar. We recommend lining the top of the jar with cling wrap, then poking a hole to fill it, that way the the top of the jar will stay clean. Pop in all the kimchi, then press it down firmly so it's all compacted. This is important to get out air bubbles and help the fermentation process.
  • Leave on the bench for 24 hours to kick off the fermentation, then transfer to the fridge and eat whenever you like.



  • Don't Seal Tightly - Since kimchi is a fermented food, gasses can build as part of the fermentation process. It's best not to seal the jar or container too tightly, otherwise it could potentially pop and overflow!
  • Storage - Kimchi will last one week out of the fridge at room temperature, as the fermentation process is sped up. However, it will last 3-6 months in the fridge. If it has any mould, smells alcoholic or 'off', then it should be discarded straight away.
  • Napa Cabbage - Also known as Baechu in Korean, or sometimes referred to as Chinese/ Asian cabbage or wombok. This is the traditional cabbage used for kimchi. It has the perfect texture of crunchy stems and soft leaves, and contains less water than other varieties for a better texture in Kimchi. You can substitute if necessary, but you'll need to adjust your fermentation time to account for the difference in texture of other cabbage varieties.
  • Coarse Salt (Sea Salt) - This is used to soak and soften the cabbage because it melts slower and so absorbs into the leaves more gradually. We don't recommend using fine salt or regular table salt as this can affect the fermentation process.
  • Korean Hot Pepper Flakes (Gochugaru) - These chilli flakes are milder than regular chilli flakes. The chillies are deseeded before processing, giving them the classic bright red colour. Substitute with Korean red pepper paste / gochujang in a pinch.
  • Salted Shrimp - Substitute with miso paste (red in the first instance, or white), or with fish sauce. Otherwise, use soy sauce for the vegan version.
  • Fish sauce (Korean style) - Substitute with soy sauce for the vegan variant.
  • Pear juice - Substitute with apple juice.
  • Dashi stock - Japanese or Korean dashi stock works. Substitute with 1/2 tsp fish sauce in a pinch.
  • Add Carrots and Daikon - You can grate or julienne carrot and daikon to add to your kimchi for an extra flavour hit.
Adapted from F&C Korean Food & Culture Academy.


Calories: 229kcal | Carbohydrates: 40g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 169mg | Sodium: 23248mg | Potassium: 816mg | Fiber: 12g | Sugar: 23g | Vitamin A: 5206IU | Vitamin C: 95mg | Calcium: 290mg | Iron: 5mg