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. Lee katy Nigeria joined 7/17
    Posted July 10th, 2017 at 6:03 pm | # |

    Hi maangchi, I wanted to ask what’s the substitute of napa cabaret cuz I couldn’t find one?

  2. Jing2 Toronto joined 5/17
    Posted May 15th, 2017 at 8:17 am | # |

    Made it yesterday. Had to cut the recipe in half because its too much kimchi for one person lol. Tasted the fresh kimchi. It was too spicy and saucy for me. Tried it today. Spiciness tone done but still saucy but still good. Actually very good. Question. Can i make it a sweeter version like how Korean Grill in Toronto make it or will it spoil if i put more sugar (more than the recipe).
    Thanks.


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  3. Jing2 Toronto joined 5/17
    Posted May 11th, 2017 at 10:14 pm | # |

    Hi. Im new here. Can i add dried squid or dried shrimp instead of fresh one when making kimchi? I wonder if i can boil the dried squid and add it, do you think it will spoil the whole kimchi? Btw, i made your spicy eggplant side dish and spicy pork stir fry. Soooo delish!
    Hope to hear from you soon.
    Thanks.

    • sanne Munich joined 8/14
      Posted May 12th, 2017 at 6:27 am | # |

      Just skip it.

      You need some fish sauce or shrimp sauce or soy sauce as a starter, but you don’t need fresh seafood in it. Mine turns out great without.

      Bye, Sanne.

  4. Sookling Malaysia joined 4/17
    Posted April 30th, 2017 at 8:45 am | # |

    Hi Maangchi
    Today I made this Kimchi for the third time in a month. My previous 2 batches didn’t have the chance to be fermented and it’s all gone in the stomach We all love this recipe and we have Kimchi as our side dish for dinner every day. Thank you. I have one question, my Kimchi did not turn sour at all… May I know what must I do to get the Kimchi fermented before I store in the fridge? In Malaysia our room temperature will be around 28°c to 32 °c.
    Appreciate if you could share some tips. Thanks.

  5. Sai A KL, Malaysia joined 4/17
    Posted April 25th, 2017 at 12:05 pm | # |

    Hi maangchi. I’ve been using your recipe for about 4 years now. Thank you for putting up a detailed recipe. I used cencaluk (local fermented shrimp) in my recipes and it taste so good! Never buy kimchi again.


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  6. NanaLing Malaysia joined 4/17
    Posted April 22nd, 2017 at 10:39 am | # |

    Maangchi. Is there any alternatives for the porridge besides sweet rice flour? In one of the comments you wrote pear juice. Must the pear juice be filtered from the whole blended pear? Can I add whole blended pear in it? What about using plain flour for the porridge? It’s going to be my first time attempting to make kimchi so Im quite nervous :’)

    • Juan Maruli Palu, Indonesia joined 4/17
      Posted May 28th, 2017 at 1:45 pm | # |

      In her “traditional kimchi” video, she said you can use plain flour instead.

  7. VeggieToni Florida/Wisconsin, USA joined 2/17
    Posted February 28th, 2017 at 9:03 am | # |

    Dear Maangchi, I just found your site, and I am SO excited to try your recipes! I can’t wait to make this mak-kimchi. It’s been a few years since I have made a quick kimchi, and about 20 years since I’ve made the properly fermented kind. So I’m very excited to try it – with Julie’s soy sauce twist, as I am a vegetarian.

    My question is more cultural than it is about cooking per se. I have been a vegetarian for 30+ years, and happily ate kimchi for the first several years of that before learning it often contains fish sauce. (So disappointing!) And then, I found that some also may contain shrimp, or squid, like yours. My question is, is it very common/traditional for kimchi to contain fish sauce and/or seafood? Most of the commercially-made, jarred kimchis available in the USA are vegetarian, but if you go to a Korean or Asian market where they are made in-house (and taste so much better!), they often do have the fish sauce in them. The same with Korean restaurants’ kimchi. I know the best way to find out is to just ask them, but sometimes I wonder if I am insulting them by asking, or by not buying/ordering it if it does contain seafood products.

    A better way to phrase my question might be, how likely is it that any given AUTHENTIC Korean establishment’s kimchi will be non-vegetarian? Should I just assume that it has fish sauce in it by default? Because that’s what I’m doing now, and I’m afraid I’m missing out on a lot of great kimchi and, by extension, other Korean food. I would appreciate your thoughts on this … is the presence of fish sauce or seafood ton the kimchi likely to be a regional thing? You mentioned that you use the squid because your family is from southern Korea.

    Thank you! I hope to hear back from you!

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted March 1st, 2017 at 10:02 am | # |

      “Should I just assume that it has fish sauce in it by default?” Yes, indeed! ” I know the best way to find out is to just ask them, but sometimes I wonder if I am insulting them by asking, ” No not at all, You can ask if the kimchi contains fish sauce or not.

  8. ttduong5 joined 10/15
    Posted February 21st, 2017 at 7:14 pm | # |

    Hi,
    After the kimchi has fermented for a few days and is sour, is it okay to add more garlic and ginger and gochugaru then? Or will doing so cause the kimchi to go bad because of the bacteria that might be introduced with the garlic etc?

    I’m asking because I made some kimchi and it tasted like it lacked garlic but the kimchi had already fermented to desired sour level.

    Thanks!

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted March 1st, 2017 at 9:42 am | # |

      After kimchi starts fermenting, I would not try to fix it by adding more garlic, ginger, and hot pepper flakes.

  9. KaediLove joined 9/15
    Posted February 19th, 2017 at 1:26 am | # |

    I love all of your recipes, but this kimchi is the real hero. It’s so simple, but it turns out so well. I’m extremely grateful that you shared it!

  10. Sio lover Ksa joined 12/16
    Posted February 18th, 2017 at 11:32 am | # |

    That was the best kimichi ever I made it for the second time it tastes fresh and sour thats amazing recipe maangchi thank you for the recipe


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  11. jnapoleon Haida Gwaii joined 2/17
    Posted February 17th, 2017 at 8:06 pm | # |

    Hi Maangchi!!

    I can’t get any squid but I have some beautiful fresh butter clams I just harvested. Do you think I could substitute clam meat for the squid in recipe??

    Thank you :)

  12. jstevans Bellevue, WA joined 2/17
    Posted February 12th, 2017 at 1:41 am | # |

    I just used this recipe, and, even fresh, it’s better than the store-bought kimchi! Maangchi, is there a name for the spicy paste that is used to season the cabbage? I made twice as much as I need, so I have a container full of it in the fridge! Does it ever go bad?

  13. Amal_ina Malaysia joined 2/17
    Posted February 8th, 2017 at 6:10 am | # |

    Hi maangchi..its my first time making kimchi..and mine taste a bit sweet instead of sour and i’m accidently put too much leek..It produce some strong smell when we chew..how to adjust my kimchi?..tq

  14. dedebenui Switzerland joined 2/17
    Posted February 5th, 2017 at 2:46 pm | # |

    I made this recipe twice and the second time came out the best ! I love it, thank you Maangchi !

    tip : it looks great in a glass jar ~ :-D


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  15. many mady Great Bear joined 2/17
    Posted February 4th, 2017 at 8:33 pm | # |

    Hello, Maangchi!
    Thanks for this recipes!
    okay, I have a question: is it possible not to use ginger?

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted February 8th, 2017 at 2:37 am | # |

      Yes, you can skip ginger. It will still turn out delicious.

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