Easy-to-make kimchi

Mak-kimchi 막김치

Hi everybody,

I’m introducing “mak-kimchi” to you today! It’s made with napa cabbage (baechu in Korean), pre-cut into bite size pieces, so you can serve it without cutting. This way of making kimchi is really time saving compared to making whole cabbage kimchi. But the taste is exactly the same as whole cabbage kimchi because the ingredients are the same! So I am translating “mak-kimchi” into “easy kimchi.” I hope this recipe makes your life easier! : )

Since I posted my whole cabbage kimchi recipe in June 2007, so many people have surprised me with their kimchi related stories and questions. A lot of my readers make their own kimchi on a regular basis and they email me the photos of their delicious kimchi! Some people modify the recipe to their taste and some people add more ingredients to invent their own kimchi!

For example, Julie made vegan kimchi. She skipped fish sauce and used a little soy sauce and salt instead. Smart! Isn’t it? Some people like Reinier, James, Sylvia, Clyde, Sara make kimchi on a regular basis. They say, “oh, my kimchi runs out, I will make it this weekend.” If any of you reading this might want to be included the list of people who make kimchi on a regular basis, please email me. I will include your names here. : )

I’m surprised to see all these mouth-watering looking kimchi photos!

But as you know, the kimchi recipe was not using exact measurements. You remember? I said, “use 2 medium napa cabbage and 2 radishes.” The size of cabbage is actually huge by American standards! ; ) And the amount of kimchi paste you need to make is for both cabbage kimchi and radish kimchi. Some people only want to make only cabbage kimchi. They sometimes ask me, “Maangchi, can you tell me how much salt do I have to use for only 1 napa cabbage?”
How can I know?

I didn’t measure when I filmed the first video recipe years ago. : ) Anyway, whenever I was asked the similar questions, I felt kind of bad and a little bit guilty and I always thought I should post a more accurate kimchi recipe.

Here you go! : )

So this recipe will be for a total beginner. Just follow the recipe step by step. This recipe is mine that I have been using for my kimchi for decades and popular among even my Korean friends.

If you want to use whole cabbage kimchi, you can check my whole cabbage kimchi recipe and this easy kimchi recipe, then you will figure out what to do. Only difference is how to handle cabbage: cutting , salting, and how to put or mix the kimchi paste with the cabbage!

Did you see how many questions and answers were made for my whole cabbage kimchi?  So far  831 comments!  These questions are the most frequently asked, so I’m letting you know this.


Q: Maangchi, do I have to make porridge to make kimchi? If I don’t want to use porridge, what shall I do?
A: No, you don’t have to. Some people don’t use porridge, but I always make porridge to make good kimchi paste. Porridge helps hot pepper flakes, fish sauce, garlic, ginger and all spices mix together. Otherwise, the kimchi paste will be too thick to put it between cabbage leaves easily. So you can use sweet pear juice instead of making porridge if you want. I sometimes use pear to make kimchi paste, too.

Q: Why do you give a shower to the cabbage before salting? : )
A: If you sprinkle salt on cabbage directly without pre-soaking in water, the salting process will take too long: this is “osmotic pressure.”

Q: Maangchi, kimchi never goes bad? How come there is some white stuff on the top of my kimchi?
A: If you keep your kimchi properly, it won’t go bad months and months. Don’t forget to press down the top of kimchi in the container with a spoon whenever you take some. It will prevent your kimchi from being exposed to air. If you see the top of your kimchi already has white stuff (mold), remove the top layer of the kimchi and you still can eat the rest of the kimchi.

Q: Maangchi, you used squid this time! Last time your kimchi was made with raw oysters! My other Korean friends never use oysters or squid.
A: Kimchi recipes vary from region to region, so some ingredients will be different. You can follow a few different recipes and choose the best recipe that suits your taste.

Q: I’m interested in adding raw oysters or squid in my Kimchi, but afraid that it might go bad so that I may have a stomachache.
A: You should use very fresh oysters or fresh frozen product, then it will ferment along with your kimchi.

Q: Ok, Maangchi, can you tell me how to make the salty squid for kimchi?
A: Choose about 300 grams (2/3 pound) of very fresh squid. Then:

  1. Remove the guts and backbone and rinse it.
  2. Add 3 tbs salt and mix it with a spoon.
  3. Put it in a container or glass jar and keep it in the refrigerator for a week.
  4. Rinse the squid thoroughly until not slippery and drain it (you can skin it if you want).
  5. Dry the squid with paper towel or cotton and chop it up.
  6. Add it to your kimchi paste!

I answer many other frequently asked questions about kinchi-making in this video:


Baechu (napa cabbage 10 pounds), salt, sweet rice flour, sugar, water, garlic, ginger, onion, fish sauce, squid, hot pepper flakes, leek, green onions, carrot, radish.


  1. Trim the discolored outer leaves of 10 pounds of napa cabbage.
  2. Cut the cabbage lengthwise into quarters and remove the cores. Chop it up into bite size pieces.
  3. Soak the pieces of cabbage in cold water and put the soaked cabbage into a large basin. Sprinkle salt.
    *tip: 1 cup of salt will be used for 10 pounds of napa cabbage
  4. Every 30 minutes, turn the cabbage over to salt evenly (total salting time will be 1½ hours).
  5. 1½ hours later, rinse the cabbage in cold water 3 times to clean it thoroughly.
  6. Drain the cabbage and set aside.

Make porridge:

  1. Put 3 cups of water and ½ cup sweet rice flour (chapssal garu) in a pot and mix it well and bring to a boil. Keep stirring until the porridge makes bubbles (about 5 minutes).
  2. Add ¼ cup sugar. Stir and cook for a few more mintues until it’s translucent.
  3. Cool it down.

Make kimchi paste:

  1. Place the cold porridge into a large bowl. Now you will add all your ingredients one by one.
  2. Add 1 cup of fish sauce, 2.5 cups of hot pepper flakes (depending on your taste), 1 cup of crushed garlic, 1-2 tbs of minced ginger, 1 cup amount of minced onion.
    *tip: much easier to use a food processor.
  3. Wash and drain the salty squid. Chop it up and add it to the kimchi paste.
    *tip: how to prepare salty squid is posted on the FAQ above!
  4. Add 10 diagonally-sliced green onions, 2 cups amount of chopped leek, 2 cups of julienned Korean radish, and ¼ cup of julienned carrot.
  5. Mix all ingredients well and your kimchi paste is done.

Action! Mix the cabbage with the kimchi paste!

  1. Put the kimchi paste in a large basin and add all the cabbage. Mix it by hand.
    *tip: If your basin is not large enough to mix all the ingredients at once, do it bit by bit.
  2. Put the kimchi into an air-tight sealed plastic container or glass jar.
    You can eat it fresh right after making or wait until it’s fermented.

I usually put all my kimchi in the fridge except for a little bit in a small container. I like fresh kimchi, so this way the kimchi in the fridge ferments slowly and stays fresh, while the smaller container ferments faster and gets sour. I use this sour kimchi for making things like kimchi jjigae where sour kimchi is better. Then, when the small container is empty, I fill it up again with kimchi from the big container. It takes a little management, but experiment and you’ll get the hang of it!

How do you know it’s fermented or not?
One or 2 days after, open the lid of the Kimchi container. You may see some bubbles with lots of liquids, or maybe sour smells. That means it’s already being fermented.



  1. thisisdea Malaysia My profile page joined 5/16
    Posted May 22nd, 2016 at 11:19 pm | # |

    Hello Maangchi! Thank you so much for all your recipes! I’ve tried so many and loved it! My favorite still has to be dakgalbi and we love the addition of kkaenip. I’ll be making this kimchi recipe soon and was wondering if I could leave out the oysters/squid? I can’t seem to find fresh seafood near me and would prefer not to risk a stomachache :) Thank you so much!

  2. DawnTok Singapore My profile page joined 5/16
    Posted May 22nd, 2016 at 7:24 am | # |

    Maangchi. I bought hot pepper powder instead of hot pepper flakes. Can i still make kimchi with the powder? I was planning to make it tomorrow! :( thanks!

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted May 22nd, 2016 at 9:32 am | # |

      Yes, you can use hot pepper powder instead of hot pepper flakes when you make kimchi. Only difference between flakes and powder is how finely they ground. But you might have bought hot pepper flakes because I sometimes see English translation on the package is wrong. Check out this page for more in-depth explanation. http://www.maangchi.com/ingredient/hot-pepper-flakes

  3. katyajini new york city My profile page joined 4/16
    Posted May 18th, 2016 at 1:15 pm | # |

    Hello Mannchi! In this recipe you do not state the kind of salt you are using? Is it kosher salt or sea salt from Korean stores? Coarse or fine? What kind of salt should I use? Maybe someone can recommend? Thank you so much!

  4. sg624 nyc My profile page joined 5/16
    Posted May 17th, 2016 at 4:32 pm | # |

    I have made your recipe 2x in the last 2 weeks as a surprise for my (Korean) boyfriend’s birthday. The first time, I used a little too much garlic (leave it to an Italian, ha!) but after a week, the garlic mellowed. However, it did have a carbonated effect / taste, so I think I did not ferment it properly in the beginning.

    The second time around, I made the paste perfectly (he said the color was good, and the taste) and no fizzi-ness, however, I used a different salt (a kosher / coarse salt, instead of the fine sea salt I bought at the Korean grocery store) and we think this made the cabbage too salty (because the sauce is not salty, just the cabbage after taste). But he said the direction I’m going in is right.

    So this time I am making another batch this week, so he can take it to his mom.I have two questions:

    1)When you first soak the cabbage, how long do you actually soak it for in water, before you put it in the salt?

    2) This time I am going to add fish sauce. Which brand do you recommend? I haven’t used fish sauce the last 2 times because I was worried it would be too fishy, but I am ready to try it.

    Thank you! Your videos helped tremendously!! (I also made Miyeok Guk for his birthday last week!)

    With love,
    The Italian Kimchi Wannabe Chef :)

    • sg624 nyc My profile page joined 5/16
      Posted May 17th, 2016 at 4:34 pm | # |

      I forgot to mention that the second time, after I finished making the kimchi, I did not refrigerate it right away. Instead, I left it out on the counter and then put it in the fridge the next morning. I think this helped greatly to avoid the carbonated effect from the 1st time.

    • AdamB usa My profile page joined 12/14
      Posted May 18th, 2016 at 7:44 pm | # |

      In case maanchi does not get to respond to you, this is the one she recommends on this site:


      This brand is very popular at my local Korean market and gets a lot of shelf space, and stacks of crates at the ends of aisles, too! Three Crabs

  5. AdamB usa My profile page joined 12/14
    Posted May 17th, 2016 at 2:09 pm | # |

    Hi Maangchi. I hope you can answer this question.

    The last time I went to my local Korean market to purchase ingredients for mak kimchi, I couldn’t pass up a package of radish kimchi that the ladies make. (I was so hungry and ate my fill in the car!) The Korean ladies there make all kinds of great kimchi, pancakes, salads, all the good stuff!

    So, I then went home and made my batch of kimchi, and since I had juice left over from the store-bought, I put about a tablespoon of the sauce in each of my 8 quart mason jars. In just a few days the kimchi was bubbling and over-flowing the jars! It was so carbonated it was like “eating” a cola! My question is, do you know, as a Korean “insider” if the people who make fermented kimchi for sale in the markets use a starter culture, like a packet of lactobacillus and other cultures? My kimchi has never, never been so well-fermented than this last time when I added juice from “their” kimchi. Take care! Love you!

  6. haydenlhy Malaysia My profile page joined 5/16
    Posted May 4th, 2016 at 11:10 pm | # |

    Hi Maangchi, can I use fresh hot peppers for kimchi instead of hot pepper flakes?

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted May 17th, 2016 at 4:19 am | # |

      Yes, you can.
      Grind the fresh peppers until creamy and mix with garlic, ginger, fish sauce and follow the recipe. You don’t need to add porridge.

  7. ravi_j New York, NY My profile page joined 4/16
    Posted April 30th, 2016 at 11:03 am | # |

    Maangchi! I have been making this recipe for more than 7 years and I still keep coming back to it. Thanks for turning the world onto Korean food (and good kimchi).

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted May 21st, 2016 at 7:59 am | # |

      It’s been a long time I heard from you! I’m happy to hear that you have been making your own kimchi for years! Didn’t you say you are a vegetarian when we ran into each other at an event in Brooklyn a few years ago? I’d like to taste your kimchi someday!

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