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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1,020 Comments:

  1. DavidL joined 2/10
    Posted February 7th, 2010 at 4:06 pm | # |

    Hi Maangchi!

    I fell in love with your Kimchi video and decided I just had to make some!!!

    I was wondering if there would be a difference if I used white rice flour instead of sweet rice flour?

    Thank you.

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted February 7th, 2010 at 10:50 pm | # |

      You could use either white rice flour or plain all purpose flour to make porridge for kimchi paste.

  2. Amber727 New Jersey joined 7/09
    Posted February 6th, 2010 at 7:28 pm | # |

    Hello!
    Today I made this easy kimchi! I was snowed in today, so I didn’t have radish, leek, or squid :( But it was still very tasty! I am going to send you a picture. Thank you for this wonderful recipe!

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted February 7th, 2010 at 10:51 pm | # |

      yay! Congratulation! Wonderful!

  3. GingerSnap Seattle, WA, USA joined 2/10
    Posted February 6th, 2010 at 3:05 pm | # |

    Maangchi – excellent recipe and video. Thanks for posting!

    Glamour shot of my finished product here:

    http://flusteredflounder.blogspot.com/2010/02/kimchi.html

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted February 7th, 2010 at 10:53 pm | # |

      GingerSnap, I love your id name!: )
      Thank you for blogging about my kimchi recipe!

  4. Nyl San Francisco joined 1/10
    Posted January 30th, 2010 at 9:22 am | # |

    Hi Mangchi,

    I’d like to make kimchi some day but I live with a roommate so it isn’t possible. I can only buy kimchi from the store and I keep it in the fridge but my roommate doesn’t like the smell either. If I keep it out in the balcony it’s fermented too fast. Do you have any advice on how to store the kimchi and the smell? Please help me.

    Thanks so much

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted January 30th, 2010 at 9:57 am | # |

      yeah,even I sometimes don’t like kimchi smell even though it’s my favorite food. : ) If I were you, I would make my own kimchi when I live alone or live with someone who don’t care about the smell.

      When you store your kimchi in the refrigerator, double-bag it. That’s what I’m doing and I have never problem with the kimchi smell.

      • stella joined 2/10
        Posted February 4th, 2010 at 1:18 am | # |

        Hi Maangchi,

        I have been telling my friends about your site since I love it very much! I was waiting for your videos every week!

        I have a question for making kimchi. I don’t eat garlic, onion, green onion, carrot and radish. On top of that, I don’t eat squid and oyster. Sorry, I am a very picky eater :-<

        Can I follow your recipe but skip the ingredients I mentioned to make Kimchi? Will the taste be very strange? Do you think it's worth a try? Sorry if this is a "difficult/strange" question to answer. My biggest concern is that, it won't ferment very well I guess? Thanks for all the good recipes!

        • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
          Posted February 4th, 2010 at 12:30 pm | # |

          stella,
          yes, you still can make your own delicious kimchi without using the ingredients that you mentioned.

          Let me know how you like it.

        • tooki Zurich, Switzerland joined 4/10
          Posted April 28th, 2010 at 2:55 pm | # |

          Hi Stella,

          without all those aromatics, I think what you make will be like a spicy sauerkraut — not traditional Korean, but delicious I’m sure.

          You might want to try adding garlic or onion a little at a time, you might learn to like it!

  5. MrsNutellalover USA joined 1/10
    Posted January 28th, 2010 at 3:51 pm | # |

    Hello Dear Maangchi,

    I just made kimchi today and it came out really good. I left small container outside and store two big jars in the frigde like you did :) I just have a question though. When I salted the cabbage they got soft in 50 minutes so I didn’t wait one and half hours otherwise cabbage was going to become too soft. Did I do right? Hopefully my kimchi is not going to go bad becasue of what i did. We ate tonight it tasted so good. Thank you very much Maangchi. I love your recipes.

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted January 29th, 2010 at 1:01 am | # |

      Congratulation on your successful kimchi making. Is your kimchi salty enough? If so, you made good kimchi!

      • MrsNutellalover USA joined 1/10
        Posted January 30th, 2010 at 5:47 am | # |

        Hello Maangchi and thank you for your reply. I put fish sauce acording to your recipe so I guess it’s salty enough to last a long time I hope. However, I don’t taste a lot of salt in the kimchi though. Next time no matter how soft the cabbage gets, should I leave it salted for half and hour? Thank you very much.

        • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
          Posted January 30th, 2010 at 8:18 am | # |

          You can add salt to your kimchi now.

  6. JimmyW Helena, MT joined 1/10
    Posted January 27th, 2010 at 9:48 pm | # |

    Hi, Maangchi. I always wondered whether there was an easier way to make cabbage kimchi, so I can’t wait to try this recipe. I’m still making raddish kimchi regularly, and everyone enjoys the outcome. I’ve found, however, that there is a variation in the heat of the ground pepper that I’ve purchased from online Korean and Thai foods marketers. The last batch of pepper that I bought wasn’t quite hot enough. Can you suggest a source or brand that I may be able to buy online? Thanks!

  7. meaghan Canada joined 1/10
    Posted January 27th, 2010 at 6:42 pm | # |

    Hi Maangchi,
    Your kimchi looks delicious! I just made some baechu kimchi yesterday, but next time I will try this recipe.
    I recently read an article in the Globe and Mail about you and your videos! Great job… it’s no surprise your recipes/videos are so popular. The videos are fun to watch and your recipes all turn out really well. Also, I was impressed to read your age–you have the looks and energy of someone in their 20 or 30’s! Must be all that healthy kimchi… :)

  8. joltcola13liar Washington/Oregon, USA joined 1/10
    Posted January 27th, 2010 at 12:47 am | # |

    I started making kimchi last summer with your originally posted recipe and I love it! I make big batches (2 or 3 gallons) and freeze it, then have it with rice or as stew. I just happened to realize last month that next time if I chop all the cabbage first, it will be easier to serve. So this is definitely what I will be doing next batch. I haven’t tried any of your other recipes yet, but when I have time to experiment making Korean food, this is where I’ll come. This kimchi lets me have healthy delicious food with no hassle in my busy schedule!

    • joltcola13liar Washington/Oregon, USA joined 1/10
      Posted January 27th, 2010 at 12:48 am | # |

      Oh also, I’d love to hear about some of the other regional varieties of kimchi sometime.

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted January 27th, 2010 at 10:31 am | # |

      “I chop all the cabbage first, it will be easier to serve. ” yes, easy kimchi but the same taste, why not?
      Let me know how it turns out. I’m sure you are good at kimchi making. Freezing kimchi may ruin the taste of kimchi. Was it ok?

  9. ygroves joined 1/09
    Posted January 25th, 2010 at 6:51 pm | # |

    Yum! seriously makes me miss my mom. There is nothing like fresh kimchi and ramen. Can’t eat too much though my husband says I smell like garlic for days after :)

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted January 27th, 2010 at 10:34 am | # |

      oh, yeah? Good to hear that! Be nice to your mom. : )
      You like fresh kimchi and ramen? I usually like ramen with sour kimchi. “smell like garlic, smell like garlic” It sounds like rap lyrics!

  10. Reinier Rotterdam, The Netherlands joined 2/09
    Posted January 25th, 2010 at 2:06 pm | # |

    Yeah! When i made kimchi before i chopped it up before i put it in the glass jar, because it was sometimes difficult to get it out of the jar in big pieces, it was like FLOP and kimchi juice all over the place.

    I’ll skip the sea food in my kimchi but i will add extra buchu! YUM!
    Can’t wait for a new kimchi recipy, perhaps buchu-kimchi???? :)

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted January 27th, 2010 at 10:35 am | # |

      “When i made kimchi before i chopped it up before i put it in the glass jar, ..”
      Reinier, you are so smart! : )

  11. Gullwings Germany joined 1/10
    Posted January 24th, 2010 at 2:02 pm | # |

    Hi Maangchi! :) first of all, I love your recipes!! I tried many of them and they were delicious __<

    greetings from the snowy and icy Germany :)

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted January 25th, 2010 at 12:14 am | # |

      oh, it must be cold there!
      Happy Cooking! Make some hot soup. Your house will get warmer. : )

      • Reinier Rotterdam, The Netherlands joined 2/09
        Posted January 25th, 2010 at 2:10 pm | # |

        Make some kimchi stew with lost of gochujang and you don’t need to heat your house, you will be the heating yourself :)

  12. Martin Toronto joined 1/10
    Posted January 24th, 2010 at 1:25 pm | # |

    I’m making your original kimchi recipe for the second time. The first time worked very well, except that my kimchi was very salty (saltier than any I’ve had in Korean restaurants, anyway). It’s still great in kimchi chigae, but is a bit too salty to eat on it’s own. I may have added too much salt in the first step, so this time around I measured carefully.

    If the cabbage tastes too salty after salting and rinsing, is there any way to remove some of the salt? Soak it in water for a while, maybe?

    Also, I had some kimchi paste left over, so I froze it (I’ll use it now). Is that a good idea?

    Last question. I’d like to try using the kimchi method with other vegetables. I made your recipe with Korean radish, and I’ve read about using cucumber. Are there any other vegetables that Koreans turn into kimchi?

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted January 25th, 2010 at 12:24 am | # |

      Yes, soak the cabbage in water until you are satisfied with the level of saltiness.

      Left over kimchi paste should be kept in the freezer. What do you mean “is that a good idea?” Thaw it out and use it.

      I usually don’t make cucumber kimchi. I make oisobagi (stuffed cucumber kimchi) and finish eating it in a few days because cucumbers are easily getting soggy.

      You can make many kinds of kimchi with many other different vegetables, but each kimchi recipe is a little different. More kimchi recipe will be posted in the future.

      Good luck with making delicious kimchi!

      • Martin Toronto joined 1/10
        Posted January 25th, 2010 at 2:47 pm | # |

        Worked wonderfully–about half an hour of soaking brought the salt level down so it was just right, I mixed in the thawed paste, and it’s now fermenting for 24 hours on the kitchen counter. (Tastes great already.) I’m going to give some to my Irish neighbour who loves kimchi.

  13. candy3012 Malaysia joined 1/10
    Posted January 24th, 2010 at 5:33 am | # |

    Maangchi~~

    i was wondering is it ok to use glutinous rice flour in replace of the sweet rice flour? will it still be the same when i heat it up and boil it?

    • sirdanilot Terneuzen, The Netherlands joined 10/09
      Posted January 24th, 2010 at 8:22 am | # |

      Just so you know: glutinous rice flour is the same thing as sweet rice flour. So yes you can use it.

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted January 24th, 2010 at 8:33 am | # |

      yes, glutinous rice flour is sweet rice flour.

  14. leeemur SF Bay Area joined 7/09
    Posted January 24th, 2010 at 2:40 am | # |

    I really want to make my own kimchi, but I think 10 pounds would be too much for me. haha. I should cut down the recipe. I’ve always just bought kimchi from the supermarket. Cosmos kimchi is the best store bought kimchi I’ve ever tasted, but I bet homemade kimchi would be so much better. Thanks for this recipe maangchi! I’ll definitely try this out soon!

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted January 24th, 2010 at 8:35 am | # |

      let me know how your kimchi turns out if you make it later. Kimchi runs out very fast if you make “kimchi stew” or “kimchi pancake”… : )

      • Reinier Rotterdam, The Netherlands joined 2/09
        Posted January 25th, 2010 at 2:09 pm | # |

        Yes, those 2 dishes really make my kimchi run out really fast.

  15. heesun New Haven, CT joined 1/10
    Posted January 23rd, 2010 at 4:34 pm | # |

    Dear Maangchi,

    I am so excited to be the first one commenting on this post! I am a Korean-Japanese-American college student who has been trying to learn how to make Korean food for years. Then, this past winter break, I discovered your website and decided to try a few recipes. My family raved about the soondubu chigae, tteokguk, and chapchae–no one could believe that it was homemade. Thank you so much for being such an amazing source of authentic Korean cuisine. Everyone thinks I have mastered Korean cuisine now, but little do they know it’s because of you!

    This particular post couldn’t have come at a better time because next week I’m leading a kimchee making workshop for a few friends here. I was worried about tackling the other kimchee recipe because of the 4 hour brining step, but now that you’ve reduced it to 2 hours, I am so relieved! I have one question–if I can’t get leeks here, could I substitute more Asian chives or more scallions? Your previous recipe didn’t include leeks so I was curious how essential the change is.

    Again, thank you Maangchi!

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted January 24th, 2010 at 8:38 am | # |

      Hi,
      “My family raved about the soondubu chigae, tteokguk, and chapchae–no one could believe that it was homemade. ” You must be a good cook! : ) I am glad to hear about your successful Korean cooking story!
      Yes, if leek is not available, use Asian chives or more green onions. Good luck with your kimchi workshop! Let me know how it goes!

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