Korean pickles – Kimchi

Kimchi 4

I love Korean food!  I love going to Korean barbecue restaurants where you can cook your own food with a group of good friends and drink Korean rice wine.  Of course, you cannot have a Korean barbecue without Kimchi!

I love Kimchi, I can eat a whole jar of it on its own in one go!  Nothing compares to the perfect combination of Kimchi with Korean barbecued beef.  It is just heaven!

Unfortunately, we do not have any Korean restaurants nearby, so in order to bring this little Korean heaven closer to home, I decided to make my own Kimchi.  I know you can get Kimchi in most Asian supermarkets, however, most of them contain sugar.  Plus, it is fun to get my hands dirty and make my own.

As you may already know, fermented food is good for our gut, Kimchi is made by lacto-fermentation, which is the same process that creates traditional pickles.  The cabbage is soaked in a salty water that kills off harmful bacteria.  This then leaves the remaining good bacteria (Lactobacillus) and converts the natural sugar in the cabbage into lactic acid, which preserves the vegetables and gives them a wonderful flavour.  Lactobacillus is salt-tolerant and it promotes a healthy digestive system.  Lactobacillus has anti-inflammatory properties and aids yeast infections (i.e. candida).  Let’s not forget it is also dairy free, so it is perfect for those who have a dairy free diet to top up the good bacteria.


1 Chinese cabbage
1/4 cup ground sea salt

 filtered water (chlorinated water can inhibit fermentation)
 5 or 6 cloves of chopped garlic (you can grate the garlic if you prefer)
 1 teaspoon grated ginger
 2-3 tablespoons water
 1-5 tablespoons Korean red pepper flakes (Gochugaru – you can get it from most Asian supermarket)
 1 small Mooli, peeled and cut into matchsticks
 4 spring onions, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces

Kimchi 1


  1. Cut the cabbage lengthwise and remove the cores, I prefer to cut them into 2 inches wide strips.
  2. Place the cabbage and salt in a large bowl, massage the salt into the cabbage until it is slightly wilted, then add water to cover the cabbage. Place a plate with something heavy on top, i.e. a jar to weigh it down.  Leave it to soak for half a day.
  3. Rinse and drain the cabbage.  
  4. Meanwhile, combine the garlic, ginger and water in a small bowl and mix to form a smooth paste.  Mix in the Gochugaru, depending on your preference, use 1 tablespoon for mild and up to 5 tablespoons for spicy.
  5. Gently squeeze any remaining water from the cabbage and return it to the bowl along with the radish, spring onions and seasoning paste.
  6. Mix paste into the vegetables until they are thoroughly coated. (If you are mixing by hands, I would highly recommend you to wear gloves in order to protect your hands from stings, stains, and smells!). Pack the kimchi into a jar, pressing down on it until the juice rises to cover the vegetables.  Leave at least 1-inch of headspace.  Seal the jar with a tight lid.
  7. Let it ferment for a few days (up to 5 days).  You may see bubbles inside the jar and juices may seep out of the lid.  You can place a plate under the jar to help catch any overflow.
  8. Check it daily and pressing down on the vegetables with a spoon to keep them submerged under the juice.  This releases gases produced during fermentation.  When the kimchi tastes ripe enough for your liking, transfer the jar to the refrigerator.  You may eat it right away, but it’s best after another week or two.

Kimchi 3

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