Traditional Korean Kimchi Recipe

Kimchi is a popular Korean side dish of fermented vegetables. This quick, classic recipe and its daikon variation both preserve the spice and tradition of the dish.

From "The Quick Pickle Cookbook"
November 2016

  • This versatile recipe goes on everything from rice and stir-fry to hot dogs and tortillas.
    Photo by Glenn Scott Photography
  • “The Quick Pickle Cookbook: Recipes and Techniques for Making and Using Brined Fruits & Vegetables” by Grace Parisi.
    Cover courtesy Quarry Books

Preparation Time: 30 min

Cook Time: Let sit overnight

Yield: 1 quart (950 mL)

In The Quick Pickle Cookbook (Quarry Books, 2016), Grace Parisi outlines not just how to pickle fruits and veggies in delicious ways, but — in case you don’t want to eat them all straight from the jar — also how to use those homemade pickles in various dishes and cocktails. With creative flavor variations and even ways to use the leftover brine as an ingredient, it’s never been easier to add pickled foods to your favorite recipes!

I was so worried that my fridge would stink if I left the jar in there for more than two weeks, but this kimchi is so delicious and so versatile, it didn’t last the weekend. It’s amazing chopped and added to rice, stir-fries, hot dogs, grilled cheese, and lots more. One of my favorites is to cook it on a hot griddle until lightly caramelized, and serve it with sliced skirt steak in a corn tortilla.


• 1 small Napa cabbage, about 1-1/2 pounds (680 g)
• 4 tablespoons (36 g) kosher salt
• 1/4 cup (50 g) sugar, divided
• 4 tablespoons (40 g) minced garlic (8 large cloves)
• 2 tablespoons (12 g) minced peeled ginger
• 1/4 cup (60 g) kochugaru (Korean pepper flakes)
• 1/4 cup (72 g) Asian fish sauce
• 2 tablespoons (28 mL) light soy sauce
• 1 tablespoon (15 mL) rice vinegar
• 3 large scallions, halved lengthwise and cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm) lengths
• 1 large carrot, coarsely shredded
• 2 tablespoons (16 g) toasted sesame seed


1. Trim the root end from the Napa cabbage and separate the leaves. Stacking the leaves, cut them in half lengthwise. Place the cabbage in a bowl along with the salt and 1 tablespoon (13 g) of the sugar and gently massage until slightly wilted. Refrigerate for 1 hour until wilted. Drain and rinse the cabbage. Squeeze out excess water and pat dry.

2. In a large bowl, combine the remaining 3 tablespoons (37 g) sugar with the garlic, ginger, kochugaru, fish sauce, soy sauce, and vinegar. Add the cabbage, scallions, carrot, and sesame seeds. Using gloves, toss everything together. Transfer to a clean, quart-size (950 mL) jar and refrigerate overnight.

Variation: Daikon Kimchi (kkakdugi) is another popular Korean banchan, or side dish. It’s usually served with a dozen or so small plates at Korean restaurants. Made just like traditional kimchi, simply substitute 2 medium daikon, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch (2 cm) cubes, for the Napa cabbage. Sprinkle with the salt and sugar, and refrigerate for 1 hour. Rinse and pat dry. Proceed with the recipe.

Make Ahead
The kimchi will keep in the refrigerator for 2 weeks. The longer it sits, the funkier the smell.

More from The Quick Pickle Cookbook:

Pickled Asparagus Recipe
Simple, Spicy, Homemade Pickles Recipe

Reprinted with permission from The Quick Pickle Cookbook: Recipes and Techniques for Making and Using Brined Fruits & Vegetables by Grace Parisi, published by Quarry Books, an imprint of Quarto Publishing Group USA Inc., 2016.

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