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! : )

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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 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:

Ingredients

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.

Directions

  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.

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1,021 Comments:

  1. Sio lover Ksa joined 12/16
    Posted October 10th, 2017 at 6:26 pm | # |

    Maangchi I used another method cause I couldn’t find hot pepper flakes so I had an idea I used fresh pepper. And then blend it in the blender so it came wow at the end


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  2. Sio lover Ksa joined 12/16
    Posted October 10th, 2017 at 6:15 pm | # |

    Maangchi I didnt find hot pepper flakes so I found a new method for the people who cant find like me so I thought I would help.
    I used red pepper fresh ones and crush it in the blender so I put it in the recipe and it turned out awesome❤


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  3. TheDistractedDayDreamer Texas joined 10/17
    Posted October 9th, 2017 at 5:32 pm | # |

    I need some help!
    I made the kimchi Saturday afternoon and stored it in some clean glass jars I kept from pasta sauce/salsa.
    I left them in a tray on a shelf in the laundry room to ferment. Yesterday (Sunday) I released some of the built up air and some of the liquid bubbled out so I just rinsed off the jars and washed out the tray and put it back.
    But today when I went to release some of the air the tray had a lot of clear liquid at the bottom but none of the jars were broken and it wasn’t red like the kimchi sauce. The kimchi looked a bit separated, too. With liquid at the bottom and the kimchi pushing on the lid of the jar. The sauce seeped out when I was taking the lids off to push it down too. It smells a bit more fishy than most of the kimchi I’ve ever tried. I used Squid brand fish sauce so maybe that’s why? I didn’t add any actual squid or seafood to the kimchi (and I didn’t have any leeks on hand) but other than that I followed the recipe.
    The temperature of where I put it is about 78 degrees Fahrenheit.
    Is this normal?? Or did I do something wrong??
    (Picture of the separation at bottom of jar)


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  4. NipJin Sri Lanka joined 10/17
    Posted October 9th, 2017 at 5:15 am | # |

    Hi! Can I make kimchi without porridge? Because I can’t find sweet rice flour in here, but have normal rice flour. What should I do?

  5. Sio lover Ksa joined 12/16
    Posted October 5th, 2017 at 7:33 pm | # |

    Maangchi I didnt find the pepper flakes you use so I got the hot pepper flakes its color is not so reddirectly like your flakes its an indian brand can I use it to make kimchi?please reply ❤

  6. AnneP France joined 10/17
    Posted October 5th, 2017 at 7:25 pm | # |

    Thank you for this recipe!

    I made kimchi for the first time about two weeks ago using this recipe (with some adjustments since I didn’t have a few ingredients) and it turned out great!

    I used three containers: two small plastic boxes and one glass jar (thoroughly cleaned, it originally contained store-bought kimchi). I tasted a bit of each kimchi every day and each one tasted a little different from the others, even though they all came from the same batch. I think there might be many reasons why: maybe it’s the container’s material, maybe because the “empty” space was bigger in one of the plastic boxes than in the other containers, the amount of green onion and carrots was different in each container, etc. maybe it’s a bit of everything. But in the end, none of them tasted bad, just different. One of them fermented pretty quickly and tasted great, another started fermenting pretty slowly and still tasted fairly “fresh” after four days outside and it tasted good in its on way!

    I was a little worried at first, though, because when I was making kimchi, I ate a piece of raw cabbage after salting it and rinsing it 3 times, and it tasted bitter. I thought it was probably normal and that the taste would go away once it was covered with kimchi paste, but when I started tasting the actual kimchi one or two days after making it, it still tasted bitter and kind of strange, but I didn’t know if it was normal since the only kimchi I had ever tasted before was store-bought and it probably wasn’t at such an early stage.

    I almost thought I was going to have to throw it away but fortunately I found a comment on another site that said that usually, theirs was bitter too for a couple days right after making it but it tasted better after waiting a few days more, so I decided to leave it alone for a day or two, only opening the containers to push down the cabbage back into the brine when I remembered to do so, and after a few days I decided to try again and it finally tasted right!

    I can’t wait to make more! :D

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted October 19th, 2017 at 10:17 pm | # |

      Sounds like you made delicious kimchi! Congratulations!

  7. JimmyW Helena, MT joined 1/10
    Posted September 6th, 2017 at 7:00 pm | # |

    Hi, Maangchi. I love your recipes! Two questions: Have you used fresh hot peppers, like the little Thai chiles, to make kimchi? If so, roughly how much do you use? Also, what brand of hot pepper powder do you usually use? It’s hard to find one that’s good and hot enough. Thanks!

  8. misscoudet Quebec,Canada joined 9/17
    Posted September 4th, 2017 at 6:05 pm | # |

    okay emergency question. I messed up my cabbage to paste ratio real bad. Don’t ask me how,it just happened.I have soooo much paste left!!! I just want to know if I can shove the paste in the fridge until tomorrow when I can go get some more cabbage. I don’t want it to go to waste!!!

    • sanne Munich joined 8/14
      Posted September 6th, 2017 at 6:24 am | # |

      No problem at all.

      Bye, Sanne.

  9. Iris-lea Canada joined 9/17
    Posted September 4th, 2017 at 3:31 pm | # |

    Hi, please I need help !!!,

    I’m a totally lover of vegetarian kimchi.. so the way I do is, soaking with salt water, 3-6 hours. Then rising then mixing with a sauce I make (ginger green onions, sugar, olive oil, fresh and dry hot pepper, mirin sauce , garlic, plum vinegar, sesame oil ) then I leave it on counter 4-5 days.
    I’ve been making and selling lots and lots…. BUT the 3-4 last recipes I made , (and big recipes)
    I had to trow it all in the compost pile…….
    Every time the SAME problem appreared.. the SMELL OF AMMONIA or some sort of really crazy disgusting chlorine or chimical smell.
    I just opened my jars this morning of another attempt.. again this crazy bad smell.
    What the heck am I doing wrong???!!!!
    Drives me crazy and sad
    Hope you can help me find a solution
    Thanks!

    • sanne Munich joined 8/14
      Posted September 4th, 2017 at 6:00 pm | # |

      Maybe the cabbage you use now is fertilized too much?

      Bye, Sanne.

    • Misslittle1 Richmond Canada joined 9/17
      Posted September 25th, 2017 at 10:49 pm | # |

      Hi Iris-Iea,

      I had the same problem too and it only affected two of my batches that I made at the end of aug and on Sept 1st, 2017
      After consulting my Korean friends and trying to rule out the variables that might be causing the chlorine/ammonia smell, I came to the conclusion that kimchi cannot be made during hot weathers in Canada. The chlorine in the tap water + hot weather= chlorinated kimchi.
      I was able to let the jars of “chlorinated” kimchi ferment in the fridge up until now and they taste great.

  10. farahaszar Indonesia, Surabaya joined 8/17
    Posted August 14th, 2017 at 10:45 pm | # |

    i can’t fond the spicy flakes in ma town can i replace it with a fresh chili? and what chili should i used?

  11. Weiwen Malaysia joined 7/17
    Posted July 22nd, 2017 at 10:41 pm | # |

    Hi Maangchi, I have made the Kimchi and put in fridge for 2 weeks. Only realized that it is good to put at room temperature for fermentation. Hence, i have placed the kimchi at room temperature for around 18hours. When i check, only i realized that the kimchi’s water has splashed out from jar upon the fermentation. As a result of that, the kimchi left in jar seems to be very dry as the water has flowed up overnight. May i know what should i do with the kimchi ? :/ thank u


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  12. KoreanFooodlover Philippines joined 7/17
    Posted July 21st, 2017 at 1:55 am | # |

    thankyou so much for your advice . i forgot to ask you this, but can i use any type of radish instead of korean radish? and also im making some gimbap, but we dont have spinach here.. what can i use instead? thanks im waiting for your reply..it will be a big big help

  13. KoreanFooodlover Philippines joined 7/17
    Posted July 17th, 2017 at 1:09 am | # |

    hi maangchi, i hope you will reply . i really love your recipes i love korean foods so much but im having a trouble Making kimchi.. i made my very first kimchi but my kimchi gets watery.. my friend keeps telling me that kimchi must not be watery but thick.. how do i solved this problem. i want to sell it also online..but my kimchi is watery. hope you can help me :'(

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted July 20th, 2017 at 1:58 pm | # |

      Yes, kimchi shouldn’t be watery. You can use more salt when you salt the cabbage and drain the cabbage nicely after rinsing it. You can squeeze the cabbage slightly with your hands to remove excess water just before mixing it with kimchi paste.

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