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.

FAQ

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, fermented squid for kimchi?
A: Choose about 300 grams (⅔ pound) of very fresh squid. Then:

  1. Remove the guts and backbone and rinse it.
  2. Add 3 tbs kosher 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:

Ingredients

  • 10 pounds baechu (napa cabbage)
  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • ½ cup sweet rice flour
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • water
  • 1 cup of crushed garlic
  • 1 to 2 tbs ginger, minced
  • 1 cup onion, minced
  • 1 cup fish sauce
  • salty, fermented squid (see FAQ, above)
  • 2½ cups Korean hot pepper flakes (gochugaru) (to taste)
  • 2 cups leek, chopped
  • 10 green onions (diagonally sliced)
  • ¼ cup of carrot, julienned
  • 2 cups Korean radish, julienned

Directions

  1. Trim the discolored outer leaves of the 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.
  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 sweet rice flour 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 minutes 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 fish sauce, hot pepper flakes, crushed garlic, minced ginger, and minced onion.
    *tip: it’s 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 green onions, chopped leek, Korean radish, and 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.

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1,136 Comments:

  1. Jim Pickens Peru joined 5/22 & has 1 comment

    Hey Maangchi. I made this recipe but I didn’t make the porridge. After it fermented, I wasn’t happy with the amount of liquid in it. Can I add the porridge after the fermentation process? Or should I just eat this batch and add the porridge at the proper time next time I make it? Thank you so much! Lots of love from Peru!

    -Jim

    • sanne Munich joined 8/14 & has 268 comments

      There’s no such thing as too much kimchi juice. ;-)
      You may use it for soup – and many recipes call for it!
      Besides: Submerging the solid parts helps keeping the kimchi from spoiling.

      • nforkgma United States joined 6/22 & has 1 comment

        I just finished making my first batch of kimchi using this recipe. I don’t have any brine (like the kind I get with my kraut). It’s just heavily covered in the thick paste. Looks like the pictures but no liquid on top. Should I add water to cover?

  2. Yepyep911 New York City joined 4/22 & has 1 comment

    @omolarakareem
    I’m not Maangchi, obviously, but I might have some insight you could use.
    I often make sauerkraut from “regular cabbage.” Regular cabbage (RC) is much more dense than Napa cabbage (NC), and has far thicker leaves. NC is also noticeably sweeter than RC — but RC has plenty of sweetness, too! Finally, NC seems to have more liquid (water) stored in its cells, but that might not be the case — it might just be a slower process to access and release that liquid in RC.

    RC takes two weeks of room-temperature fermentation to make good sauerkraut, though that result is quite sour. I haven’t made sauerkraut from NC (yet) and haven’t made kimchi from RC. But I would predict that kimchi from RC would require much longer than from NC. NC kimchi on the counter takes ~ one week. I think, like sauerkraut, RC kimchi would take ~ two weeks.

    That would be fine, in theory, but RC sauerkraut is only two things: cabbage and salt. That’s ALL (maybe some extra water). But there are many things in kimchi, and you’d want to be very careful fermenting many ingredients for the two weeks it might take for RC to ferment and soften to your taste.

    All that said: I would absolutely try it with RC — and I plan to do it myself one day. But I will keep a close eye on the fermentation to make sure it’s clean and on track for a two-week fermentation. If I have any doubts, I’ll put it in the fridge to slow it down and reduce the chances for mold. It will still ferment, it will just be very slow.

    Good Luck! Please let us know how things work out if you give it a try. And you DEFINITELY SHOULD!!! lol

  3. JonB California joined 12/21 & has 3 comments

    This is by far the best kimchi I’ve ever made. I never used the porridge technique before, and it works like a charm. I used a bit more fish sauce because I like fish sauce, and I used salted shrimp paste because I had some (from previous batches of kimchi) and it was easier than the squid. I didn’t use all of the porridge: I cooked it up, and then put all the other ingredients into the food processor, processed them as far as they’d go without liquid, and then added porridge and kept processing until I got something that looked like a nice spreadable paste, about the consistency of gochujang. I stopped at two cups of gochugaru because it seemed like enough, and that turned out to be the perfect spice level for me. And I added a nice handful of julienned ginger root to the veggies, in addition to the ginger in the paste, because can you really have too much ginger in kimchi? It’s totally awesome and I’m never making kimchi any other way.

  4. EmilyTheChef Meridian, ID USA joined 3/22 & has 1 comment

    I just wanted to thank you for your great instructions and delicious recipe. I have made this recipe (slightly modified, I use a little less fish sauce) and I have made a spreadsheet to calculate your recipe ingredients based on various weights of cabbage because I never know exactly how much I’ll get. (I usually aim for about 5 lbs). I can’t wait until this starts to bubble and ferment.

  5. brennan1031 Virginia joined 1/22 & has 1 comment

    Love this recipe! I loveee letting it ferment and making kimchi stew according to her recipe as well. This kimchi lasts me so long and it has such a beautiful color and flavor! I always have left over paste too and it’s really good on some cucumbers & radish as well. Thanks so much for the recipe.


    See full size image

  6. omolarakareem Nigeria joined 1/22 & has 1 comment

    Hello Maangchi. Thank you for all your awesome recipes. I want to try this Easy Kimchi recipe. I have ALL the required ingredients, except the napa cabbage, which we don’t have in my corner of the world. Can I use the regular cabbage instead. I know you have another recipe using the regular cabbage, but I will rather use this recipe because it is richer, and I have every ingredient listed.

  7. elee1020 Los Angeles, CA joined 1/22 & has 1 comment

    Thank you for the easy to follow recipe! I was wondering what I can do with leftover kimchi paste? I made way too much! Can I use it to make radish cube kimchi? Or can I save it to make another fresh batch of kimchi later? If so, how long is the paste good for?

    Thank you!

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