Easy and Adaptable Kimchi Recipe

You can adapt this easy kimchi recipe to use whatever vegetables you may have on hand.

From "Wild Fermentation
September/October 2014

  • A traditional Korean dish, kimchi pairs well with most other foods.
    Photo by Fotolia/elieli

Yield: Makes 1 quart-sized jar

Kimchi is a traditional salt-preserved, fermented, Korean condiment that pairs well with a wide variety of foods and can be made from a range of ingredients. Cabbage (regular or Napa), carrots, green onions and radishes are common in kimchi. Substitute any vegetables and seasonings you like except potatoes. Do not add seasoning items that contain preservatives.

Easy and Adaptable Kimchi Recipe


• 2 tablespoons sea salt or pickling salt
• 3 cups water
• 2 pounds vegetables (except potatoes), trimmed and sliced
• Small handful garlic cloves, peeled and diced
• 1-inch piece fresh ginger root, horseradish root or turmeric root, peeled and grated (or a combination)
• 2 to 4 fresh or dried hot chilies or chili powder, to taste


1. To make brine, mix salt into water until dissolved.

2. Add vegetables to a nonreactive quart-sized glass jar or ceramic pickle crock with a wide mouth. Pour brine over ingredients. Fill a baggie with water and press it into the top of the vessel so that ingredients are completely submerged. Cover container with a towel and let it sit overnight.

3. In the morning, use a mortar and pestle to pound roots and chilies into a spice paste. Drain brine off vegetables into a bowl. Thoroughly incorporate spice paste into vegetables.

4. Pour brine back into container and recover with the baggie weight and the towel. Let kimchi ferment in a warm spot. Every day, check to make sure food is completely submerged. Skim off and discard any scum from the top of the container.

5. After a few days, taste kimchi. When it reaches a level of sourness you like (a week is usually ideal), move it to the refrigerator to slow fermentation.

For more recipes for preserving food check out our End-of-Summer Food Preservation Guide.

Adapted from the basic process outlined by Sandor Ellix Katz in his book Wild Fermentation.

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