White Kimchi

Baek-kimchi 백김치

Baek-kimchi literally translates as “white kimchi” in English, because it’s not made with hot pepper flakes, which makes it whitish. It’s not spicy at all, but that doesn’t mean it’s bland! As you see in the video, it’s made with precious ingredients like chestnuts, jujubes, pine nuts, and a whole range of vegetables. It has a lot of fresh flavors, is incredibly refreshing, and is beautiful to look at!

This is a vegetarian recipe because unlike some other kimchi recipes I didn’t use fish sauce. But one variation would be to replace the 1 teaspoon of salt with 1 to 2 teaspoons of salted fermented shrimp.

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It’s a great kimchi to make for special occasions.
“Oh, check this out, everybody! I made white kimchi!”
They will be impressed!

This is a good recipe for anyone who can’t take spicy food, and also for spicy food lovers who are looking for a change of pace. I usually love freshly made kimchi, but when it comes to baek-kimchi, I always wait until it ferments before I start eating it, which usually takes 1 to 3 days. It becomes a little fizzy, sweet, sour, and nutty – it’s a totally unique taste!

So many of my readers have requested this recipe over years. One of them, Kerry in Minnesota, requested it in 2009 and said:

“Despite being Korean, my stomach can’t handle spicy foods, but I would love to make kimchi. I don’t know if just cutting the amount of hot pepper flakes would make a much milder kimchi, but I would like to try making the white kind, which I hear isn’t spicy at all. Do you have any good white kimchi recipes, Maangchi-ssi?”

She added “ssi” at the end of my name to show me respect, Korean style!

Ok Kerry, here’s the recipe! Thanks for waiting!

Ingredients

  • 1 large napa cabbage (3 pounds’ worth)
  • ⅓ cup, 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons salt
  • ½ pound Korean radish (or daikon) cut into matchsticks
  • ¼ cup carrot, cut into matchsticks
  • ¾ cup buchu (Asian chives), cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 3 jujubes, seeded, cut into thin strips
  • 2 fresh chestnuts, peeled and cut into thin strips
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • ½ of red bell pepper (⅓ cup’s worth), cored, seeded, and cut into thin strips
  • 1 medium Korean pear (2 cups’s worth), peeled and cored
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • ½ cup onion
  • 1 teaspoon ginger

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Directions

Salt the cabbage:

  1. Cut the cabbage in half, then cut a slit through the core 2 inches above the stem, so the leaves are loosened but still attached.white kimchi
  2. Rinse the halves under running water, or soak them in a basin for a few seconds until all the leaves are wet.
  3. Put the halves in a large basin and sprinkle ⅓ cup of salt evenly between the leaves. Let them sit for  1½ to 2 hours, turning them over every 20 minutes.white kimchi
  4. Rinse the cabbage under cold running water a couple of times to get rid of any dirt or salt. Split each half under the running water, to divide the cabbage into quarters. Cut out the remainder of the core. Drain and set aside.

white kimchi

Make the vegetable fillings:

  1. Combine radish, carrot, jujubes, chives, chestnuts, and red bell pepper in a bowl. Set aside.

vegetables

Make seasoning mix for brine:

  1. Blend pear, garlic, onion, and ginger in a food processor until creamy. Set aside.baek-kimchi

Make brine:

  1. Mix 4 cups of water and 2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons of salt in a bowl with a wooden spoon. Stir it well until the salt is thoroughly dissolved.
  2. Put the blended seasoning mix into a cotton pouch, or wrap it a couple times in cheesecloth, and put it into the bowl of brine. Press it down with a spoon so the delicious blended flavors seep through. Squeeze it a bit and stir the brine for a while. Remove the pouch.baek-kimchi

Make kimchi:

  1. Spread the vegetable fillings between each leaf of the cabbage. Fold the stuffed cabbage quarters over and put them into a container, glass jar, or Korean earthenware pot.white kimchi
  2. Pour the brine over the kimchi so it’s submerged.white kimchibaek kimchi
  3. Cover and let sit at room temperature until it starts fermenting, which should be between 1½ to 3 days depending on how warm your room is. A warmer room will ferment faster. Just keep an eye on the kimchi and taste it now and then: when the brine turns sour, it’s fermenting.
  4. Move it to the fridge, which will slow down the fermentation process. It will keep for about 1 month. Serve cold.

baek kimchi

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36 Comments:

  1. Gertrude Montreal joined 9/14
    Posted July 27th, 2017 at 7:39 pm | # |

    Hello Maangchi! I was wondering if it’s possible to make this without the pear? I am fructose intolerant so nichi is our for me, so would apple. Can I just make it without the fruit? Would that work? Or is the sugar in the pear a big part of the fermentation?

  2. Diendi Indonesia joined 2/17
    Posted February 16th, 2017 at 6:43 am | # |

    Hello, Maangchi! Thank you so much for posting such wonderful recipes for people all over the world to try. Including me!

    I made baek-kimchi yesterday. Before I let it ferment, I tasted the broth. It was too salty! But then I believe in your recipe and tried to ferment it for 24 hours. I can eat it fine (the saltiness still there, but decreased by moderate amount), but it lacks of sweetness! It just taste sour and salty!

    I used one big pear, I measured it a little over 2 cups. Before I added it in my chopper, I tasted it first–it was sweet enough.

    So my question is: What should I put to my 24+ hours fermented kimchi to make it sweeter? If you suggest sugar or pear, can you tell me a rough measurement for each? If it’s sugar, should I dissolve it in the water first (or make a simple syrup with it)?

    Thanks again and I’m looking forward to your reply!
    xoxo, Diendi

    (I’ve sent this to your email too, just to make sure you’ll read my message. Sorry in advance for spamming your inbox! I’m really desperate to retrieve my kimchi!!!)

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted February 16th, 2017 at 11:03 am | # |

      Hi Diendi,
      You can make your kimchi sweeter very easily anytime by adding sugar.
      Mix 1/4 cup of the kimchi brine with 1 tablespoon white sugar well, then add to the kimchi. You will have to press and turn over your kimchi a little bit to make it sweet evenly. If you want to add more sugar, you can.
      Regarding saltiness, I think you should keep your kimchi a little salty because bland kimchi will get soggy easily.
      Yes, I read your email but now I’m working on my new video that I will launch today. Please understand if I don’t get back to you quickly.
      Good luck with your baek-kimchi project! : )

  3. gochugoose Minneapolis, MN joined 4/16
    Posted April 27th, 2016 at 5:34 pm | # |

    Hi Maangchi! Your tongbaechu-kimchi is so good and so gorgeous in a big glass jar on my kitchen table (it’s winter so we can’t have flowers). I want to finally try your baek-kimchi and was wondering what do do with the pine nuts? They’re in the recipe list but not the instructions anywhere I can see.

  4. daemonicblackcat Chicago,IL joined 4/16
    Posted April 20th, 2016 at 8:38 pm | # |

    Hi, I was wondering if I could cut this up like mak-kimchi. It makes brining so much easier!

  5. kelestis joined 10/15
    Posted December 21st, 2015 at 7:18 am | # |

    Greetings, Maangchi-ssi!
    Thank you for each and every of your wonderful recipes!

    Therr are a lot of dishes that we can make using spice kimchi, therefore, I would like to know if there are any dishes that we can cook using baek-kimchi?

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