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.


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:


  • 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


  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. CSchurmann The Netherlands joined 6/18 & has 1 comment

    Dear Maangchi,

    I like to try making your kimchi.
    Is there substitute for the salted squid?
    Or can I buy it ready in a store? How about using anchovis instead?

  2. justareader India joined 6/18 & has 1 comment

    Hey! I am a vegetarian but I’d really like to try this recipe out. Can you help me out and let me know what I should substitute instead of fish sauce?

  3. Cesaera Niskayuna, NY joined 5/18 & has 3 comments

    Ok we LOVE Kimchi since we had a Chinese exchange teacher stay with us 12 years ago who made us Kimchi fried rice. Then I visited Korea on a 10 day tour for teachers about 5 years ago – and it was going to become a habit. We eat it and cook pa jeong with it. we even make Kinchi fried rice and sometimes Rice cakes with it. So we dove in and Made Maangchi’s Mak Kimchi. We DID NOT USE the squid – Im a squeemish vegetarian -The fish sauce gave it plenty of flavor – even though it seemed a bit too fishy until day 3 of fermenting. It is Perfect!! day three is lovely – crunchy and deliciously balanced. We also added a cup of chines chives – cut into 1″ pieces. I also didnt julienne my Daikon or Carrots as finely as Maangchi did – I really liked the crunk they offered – As for Chinese leeks – no luck – so I tried using plain old American ones – they seem to have worked fine. Thank you Maangchi – we are ready for our next recipe – ( made your Bok Choy the same day!)

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  4. AlexanderKim Boston, MA, USA joined 4/18 & has 5 comments

    Fresh, homemade kimchi will always remind me of my mom. We live on opposite sides of the US, so she makes an entire box of napa for me every time we visit. I try to savor it for as long as possible. It’s a food of love for Koreans. Anyways, I’ve tried to make most korean dishes at least once, but kimchi is one thing I’ve always been intimidated by. My mom spends hours and hours, and it always looked so difficult. Especially putting salt between every leaf of napa! I never thought I’d be able to make my own kimchi, so thank you for this recipe!

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  5. Joel GZ Spain joined 4/18 & has 2 comments

    Hola from Spain,

    in this area is not possible to buy Gochugaru nor sweet rice flour easily, but we can buy Go Chu Jang (hot pepper paste) online. Could we make Kimchi paste with this Gochujang skipping some steps of porridge? Also, we can’t find fermented shrimp (thinking to make it) but we have easy access to salty fermented anchovy as a national kind of conserve, and I believe we could use this little fillet fish instead shrimps… I’d like to know your opinion about this.

    Thank you very much to spread your Korean Cuisine all over the world.


    • Joel GZ Spain joined 4/18 & has 2 comments

      OK, just watched “Emergency Kimchi” vídeo and I think we can make some variations in kimchi recipes to reach a decent one, according to the products we can get in our own areas. Anyway, thank you very much for sharing !!!

    • TaraMaiden Nottinghamshire, England joined 12/16 & has 26 comments

      @JoelGZ, Amazon should certainly be able to supply you with the flakes. I live in a remote area, and I get my pepper flakes online. Also, I made my own fermented shrimps and also squid. It’s really easy, again, look up a youtube method or recipe for these…. Maangchi has a recipe for the squid, but I confess I found a malaysian recipe for the salted shrimp… they make all the difference.

  6. aarambh india joined 3/18 & has 2 comments

    can we use just a regular cabbage instead of napa.. plus being a vegetarian if i skip fish sauce and squid .. will it taste similar ?

  7. LadyVictorie Iowa joined 3/18 & has 1 comment

    I just made kimchi this morning and was amazed at how easy it went for me. Watching the video was really informative and helped. Thank you for sharing your tips and techniques as they made the process truly simple.

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  8. Lithish Milan joined 3/18 & has 2 comments

    Thank you so much for the recipe. I made this yesterday, but the cabbage is a bit bitter. No idea why! Could you help me please? And it’s too spicy.

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  9. Hi Maangchi, thank you for this recipe if I want to do only half of this recipe. Do I go ahead and half all the ingredients? Unfortunately I’m the only one in the household that eats it and I’m afraid that a full batch I would not be able to finish. Thank you

    • MIXUE INDIANA, USA joined 1/18 & has 7 comments

      Hi Brian, I am the only one eating this in my household too. I used only 1 2lb napa cabbage and divided the recipe by 4. :)

    • sanne Munich joined 8/14 & has 268 comments

      There are so many recipes for kimchi – in soup, fried, on pizza,…
      There’s no such thing as too much kimchi! ;-D

      I put the whole batch into the fridge right after making it minus a little batch we plan to eat real soon – the latter is allowed to ferment outside the fridge. Same with the next portion.
      The large batch ferments slowly and doesn’t get too sour soon.

      Bye, Sanne.

  10. MIXUE INDIANA, USA joined 1/18 & has 7 comments

    I did it!!! Thank you for your easy recipe, Maangchi!! My carrot and radish are homegrown. :)

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  11. Fraise Indonesia joined 2/18 & has 2 comments

    Haiii everybody, Can somebody tell me what happen if my container is too big to ferment my kimchi?? Because I’m afraid that my kimchi can’t ferment..

  12. Ae Ri Malaysia joined 1/18 & has 1 comment

    Hi maangchi-shi,

    I had followed your posts since last year.
    Eversince then, I had making various kimchii according to your recipes (with bit of alternation due to unavailable ingredients, hahaha)

    Apparently, my family and friends quite love it.


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  13. Sio lover Ksa joined 12/16 & has 46 comments

    I made kimchi yesterday and i can’t wait to ferment I made it with fresh peppers cause I didn’t find pepper flakes. But it turned out pretty good

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  14. LeahCao Vietnam joined 3/17 & has 4 comments

    Hi Maangchi,
    I made both traditional kimchi (tongbaechu kimchi) and easy kimchi (mak kimchi) followed your recipes. The traditional kimchi was so great, I made it many times. But last 2 weeks, I tried to make easy kimchi the first time and the kimchi wasn’t crunchy but it still tasted great. I don’t know why the cabbage was so soft like that. Could you explain to me?
    Thank you and have a nice day.

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 12,047 comments

      If it’s not crunchy, maybe the cabbage was not good quality, or you need more salt. Make sure the cabbage is leafy, green, and strong looking instead of white or grayish and flimsy. And if you don’t use enough salt, your kimchi will go soggy.

  15. Gerigirl Canada joined 1/18 & has 1 comment

    I’ve made this before using the squid (delicious). Can I substitute with shrimp paste?

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