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 making kimchi 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. Cynthia CK Vancouver joined 5/20 & has 1 comment

    Hi Manngchi,
    I love your recipes and your videos. Thankyou so much for sharing them. Your passion for Korean cooking is truly inspirational.
    I have tried making kimchi with your recipe a few times and my experience has been that there is no air bubbles even after days of keeping the kimchi at room temperature. Also, there is not a lot of liquid in my kimchi to keep the vegetables completely submerged in liquid like the store bought bottled ones. They do turn sour though. Do lack of air bubbles and/or less liquid mean that the kimchi is not fermented? Is the kimchi still edible in these cases? Would love your advice on this. Thank you

  2. yeyewynes Singapore joined 3/14 & has 9 comments

    Hi Maangchi,
    I did it again. This is my 2nd time making it. The last one was ages ago. My family loves it! I can save loads of $ by making my own kimchi following your recipe diligently. My daughter really likes kimchi these days so I decided to give it another try and they loved it!

    Thank you Maangchi!

    Btw, just like to ask, After a day or fermenting, my kimchi sauce overflowed from the Jar … do you have any recommendation on how much space we need to leave out on the container?

    See full size image

  3. brendaf Singapore joined 3/20 & has 1 comment

    Hi Maangchi!!!

    After years or procrastination, I finally made my own kimchi thanks to your wonderful recipe!! Followed your recipe really diligently :-)

    Initially when i just made it, it was really spicy and salty( my fault on that, I put too much fermented shrimp) but I managed to salvage it by places a few pieces of sliced radish (radish slices) into the container of kimchi.

    My family love it, brought to work for my colleagues and they loved it too!!!

    Thank you Maangchi!!!

    Now that it’s fermented for 2 days and is in the fridge, it tastes really delicious!!!!!

    See full size image

  4. Paytonz00 Utah joined 3/20 & has 1 comment

    I made this easy kimchi and used the salted shrimp like the traditional recipe. It was AMAZING!!! Thank you so much for sharing yourself, your recipes, & all things Korean! Loved every bite!

  5. Sherynne Quezon City, Philippines joined 2/20 & has 1 comment

    Hi, can I make kimchi paste and used it after a week or more? As long as its properly refrigerated.

  6. johnsdoll Northern CA joined 5/09 & has 2 comments

    If I have leftover kimchi paste, can I also use it to make kkakdugi? Maybe just add more sugar?

  7. immaria Phil joined 1/20 & has 1 comment

    Hi Maangchi

    can I omit the squid in this recipe?


  8. Hello Maangchi! Thank you for your delicious recipes; I would like to ask though how many grammes does 1 red cup represent for sweet rice flower and garlic for exemple. I often see in your recipes that you measure in red cups, but im not sure how much does it represent?
    Thank you very much for your reply! Best, Catherine

  9. Cecycaro San Miguel, El Salvador joined 8/19 & has 1 comment

    Thanks, it’s the first time I do it and it’s delicious

  10. EmikoOrochi Roosevelt Island joined 7/19 & has 1 comment

    This was the first time I’ve ever made kimchi! My family and friends loved it. My mom, who’s never had Korean food, thought it tasted amazing. She kept telling everyone they had to try it. I even have my coworkers fall it love with it. Thank you so much Maangchi! I can’t wait to make more of your recipes.

    See full size image

  11. Heba libya Libya joined 6/19 & has 1 comment

    안녕하세요 maangchi 언니
    I am from Libya and for so many years I searched the internet look8for easy kimchi recipe to make finally I found your recipe but the problem is that I’m vegan and I can replace fish sauce with soy sauce since it isn’t available. What to do? another question is can I make only red papper powder insted of red flecks?

  12. Zalyne Switzerland joined 6/19 & has 1 comment

    17 litres of homemade kimchi ! A lot of work, but it’s worth it, my parents and sisters are going to enjoy eating it so much !
    Thank you so much Maangchi for these great traditional recipes you make possible for us to have !

    See full size image

  13. nichoong Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia joined 4/10 & has 1 comment

    Hi Maangchi,

    Been following you for so many years and this is my first time making Mak Kimchi. Your recipe is so easy to follow.
    Here’s a picture of my Mak Kimchi! It tastes so good!
    Thank you!

    See full size image

  14. chroniclesofchaos Singapore joined 10/08 & has 1 comment

    Can anyone advise how much pear juice is to be used for Maamgchi’s recipe above? Pulp and all to be used?

  15. Thanks for wonderful recipes, especially for detailed presentation and step by step photos. This made cooking Korean food very simple for me, the usual office plankton. I believe that Korean cuisine is extremely beneficial for the body. One can argue about the reasons why it happened in Korea. Maybe this is a tribute to the traditions that permeate this society. Maybe this is careful storage of culture that has accumulated over the centuries. In any case, I consider Korean dishes to be the most beneficial for the body because they belong to healthy food. Yes, these dishes require time and love when cooking. This is fundamentally different from high-speed American cuisine. But the results in terms of the number of public health are very different. Thanks for the good article published for us!

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