Kimchi – Korean Chilli and Ginger Cabbage Pickle

25 Mar

Korean Kimchi

I think Kimchi is probably one of those Love or Hate things, like Marmite. I’m definitely a lover not a hater of both. I can see why you would be put off I suppose. I mean it’s fermented cabbage for want of a better description. Kids will love it.

Chinese Cabbage & Korean Chiili Flakes

It’s my new favourite thing. If you have never heard of it, where have you been? It’s a spicy Korean cabbage pickle (or condiment really) that can be used to liven up a huge amount of dishes. There are recipes using it all over the internet for Kimchi Fried Rice and Kimchi Pancakes among other things. It is a really versatile thing to have in your fridge for those “What are we having for lunch/dinner that only takes 15 minutes” moments.


This recipe is healthier than most as it uses an apple for sweetness rather than the evil sugar monster. We like that.

Korean Kimchi

Korean Kimchi Recipe

Makes 1 large jar, vegan, gluten-free, refined sugar-free.

Adapted from Dr Ben Kim & Centre Stage Wellness

  • 1 Chinese cabbage (aka napa cabbage) the long ones (about 500g)
  • 4 Tbsp sea salt
  • about 450 ml (2 cups) warm water
  • 4 Tbsp Korean red chilli flakes/kimchi chilli powder (buy from Asian stores)
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic (about 3 cloves)
  • 1 Tbsp minced ginger
  • 3-4 spring onions/scallions, sliced 
  • 2 Tbsp fish sauce (optional)
  • 1 large apple
  • 1/2 onion

Discard any outer damaged leaves, separate off all the cabbage leaves, rinse and chop into bite-size pieces. Dissolve the sea salt in the bowl of warm water, pour it over the cabbage and mix it well. Leave it to sit for at least four hours.

Rinse the cabbage well to remove excess salt then put it in a large bowl. Mix the Korean chilli flakes with a few tablespoons of warm water to create a paste, add the minced garlic and ginger and stir together well. Pour this onto the cabbage, stir through the spring onions and fish sauce if using.

Blend the cored apple with the 1/2 onion and about 200 ml (3/4 cup) water then add this to the cabbage as well. Mix everything together really well with a wooden spoon or with your hands (using gloves) to make sure everything is well-distributed.

Transfer the cabbage with a clean spoon into a large sterilised glass jar or bottle, pressing it down well each time as you stack it up. Pour over any liquid remaining in the bowl but leave about 2 inches clear at the top of the jar/bottle before sealing it up. Leave the  kimchi to sit at room temperature for 24 hours.

The kimchi is now ready to eat. Store it in the fridge and it will continue to ferment slowly over time. As long as you use a clean spoon every time you take some out, it should keep for up to a month in the fridge.

Korean KimchiAdd a big dollop of it to vegetable stir fries to add another level of flavour, or to this Soba Noodle Salad or this Mee Goreng. It’s great in Asian style soups with some miso.  I love it sautéed with some broccoli, soy sauce and sesame oil which you can eat with noodles or add the whole lot to an omelette made with a bit of soy sauce or even some scrambled eggs. It is a fantastic thing to have around for food emergencies.

Have I convinced you yet?


10 Responses to “Kimchi – Korean Chilli and Ginger Cabbage Pickle”

  1. acrusteaten March 25, 2013 at 3:47 pm #

    I’m not sure if I’ve ever tried it, but I’ve smelled it and that was almost enough to put me off. I might try your recipe though…you never know.

    • Natalie Ward March 25, 2013 at 4:18 pm #

      I think when you make it yourself and know exactly what’s in it, it’s not scary anymore! 😉

  2. kellie@foodtoglow March 25, 2013 at 5:49 pm #

    I love kimchi. It’s the main reason for me to go to a Korean restaurant. But i have never made it, considering it a faff too far. But I must remedy this as there are so many great internet posts featuring inventive and wacky ways to use it. thanks for sharing this healthier version with us.

    • tony ward March 25, 2013 at 6:50 pm #

      Well now guapa this is a bit of a challenge, taking Grandads pickles to a whole new continent !! So now its OK to have things decomposing in the fridge,you GO girl. xx

  3. dassana March 25, 2013 at 8:30 pm #

    i just love khimchi. was introduced to this amazing pickle by our korean friend. just loved it at the first taste. your pics are making me wanna have them and also make them soon.

  4. peasepudding March 26, 2013 at 12:47 am #

    I LOVE Kimchi, I wish I could get a big more organised and make some. Yours look delish and i like the sweet addition of apple.

  5. Three Well Beings March 26, 2013 at 6:45 am #

    I’m really happy to have a recipe, Natalie. We have a very large Korean population in Los Angeles, and I’m certainly familiar with it, but the “stuff” sold in our local grocery is very unappealing. I see all these ingredients and I am sure I’d be happy with the result. I love the sound of kimchee fried rice!

  6. Carolina March 26, 2013 at 4:47 pm #

    That looks great! I have never tried Kimchi, but I think I would like it!


  1. Seoul Food | Maverick Mom - April 1, 2013

    […] Kimchi – Korean Chilli and Ginger Cabbage Pickle ( […]

  2. Japanese-inspired meatballs | missfoodfairy - June 13, 2014

    […] Cook Eat Love Vegetarian‘s Kimchi I pinned it to my Condiments board & looks similar to the one I made but I didn’t use any apple; Bill Granger has some great ideas of how to use Kimchi (pictured); Mom’s kimchi recipe will be the one I try next. It looks so good! Then for all my Vegan friends out there, here’s a Kimchi recipe for you. If you try it let me know what you think. […]

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