Today’s recipe is vegetable and fruit water kimchi called nabak-kimchi in Korean. It’s fruits and vegetables fermented in a spicy rose-colored brine: savory, refreshing, tangy, cold and delicious with a little bit of heat.

Koreans serve this kimchi as a side dish to rice, but also rice cake, porridge, and steamed sweet potatoes. It’s a good substitute for soup or stew. You can make it anytime year round but peak season for radish and cabbage is fall, so that’s the best time to make it.

Unlike traditional Korean napa cabbage kimchi, nabak-kimchi will go soggy over time because it contains fruit and cucumber. It’s better to eat it quickly once it’s fermented, in a week or two. You can also eat it before it’s fermented: it won’t be sour and tangy at all, but it will be crisp and refreshing.


  • 3 pounds napa cabbage
  • 1 pound Korean radish, cleaned and peeled
  • 1 English cucumber, washed and cut crosswise into ¼ inch thick pieces
  • ½ cup worth sliced onion
  • 5 green onions, cut crosswise into 1½ inch length
  • 2 green chili peppers, stemmed and sliced
  • 1 red chili pepper, stemmed and sliced
  • 1 apple (Royal gala, honeycrisp, or any sweet apple), washed, cored, and cut into 1 x 1 x ¼ inch slices
  • 1 large Korean pear (about 2 cups), peeled, cored, and cut into 1 x 1 x ¼ inch slices
  • 3 red radishes (optional), sliced thinly
  • 3 garlic cloves, sliced thinly
  • 1 tablespoon worth peeled ginger, sliced thinly
  • Kosher salt
  • 10 cups cold water
  • 2 tablespoons Korean hot pepper flakes


Prepare the napa cabbage and radish:

  1. Cut the cabbage lengthwise into quarters and then trim the stem ends.
  2. Cut each quarter crosswise into 1½ inch slices so that each piece of cabbage is roughly 1½ inch square. Put them into a large bowl or basin.
  3. Add 3 cups of water and 3 tablespoons of salt to the basin and gently mix it all together with your hands. Let stand for 30 minutes, then gently toss the cabbage and let stand for another 30 minutes.
  4. Cut the radish into bite size pieces thinly. Put them into a bowl and mix with 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Let stand for 1 hour.
  5. Rinse and drain the cabbage in cold water a couple of times, changing water to remove dirt and excess salt. Drain and transfer to a large basin.

Make kimchi:

  1. Add the radish (with its kosher salty brine), to the basin with the cabbage.
  2. Add the cucumber, onion, green onion, green chili pepper, red chili pepper, apple, pear, garlic, and ginger, and mix everything together with your hands.
  3. Combine 10 cups water and ¼ cup kosher salt in another large bowl and stir well to dissolve the salt.
  4. Tie the hot pepper flakes up in a piece of cheesecloth. Immerse the cheesecloth pouch in the water and squeeze the pouch several times, until the water turns pink. Remove and discard the pouch.
  5. Pour the pink brine over the vegetables and fruits in the basin. Stir well with a wooden spoon. Transfer to a airtight container or glass jars. Press it down gently.


  1. You can serve immediately with rice, or cover and let stand at room temperature until it ferments and gets a little bit sour, usually between 1 to 2 days. Serve in individual bowls, or in one shareable bowl on the table.
  2. Once the kimchi is fermented, put it in the fridge and eat it over the next two weeks. Freshly made
    After fermenting a few days

Leave your rating:

So far this is rated 5/5 from 239 votes

Be the first to rate this.


  1. Dear Maanchi,

    I loved this recipe, it was so delicious and refreshing and healthy.

    I made an extra large batch but about halfway through finishing it, I notice the asian pears were beginning to turn a dull grey shade and it kept getting darker over time so I sadly tossed the rest of it away because I was to worried something was wrong. Should the asian pear be turning dark like that? How long can water kimchi last?

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 550 comments

      This nabak kimchi doesn’t last too long not like napa cabbage kimchi. Radish, apple, and pear will go soggy plus the brine will get a little cloudy as time goes on. I mentioned this in the recipe.”Once the kimchi is fermented, put it in the fridge and eat it over the next two weeks.”

  2. Primalwalk Colorado joined 5/20 & has 18 comments

    Maangchi!!! You are such an excellent human being! Thank you for sharing all your knowledge! I keep making more and more Korean food, and my wife (from Busan) is so happy

    We went to the Korean mart today and got all sorts of great utensils – it makes making your recipes so much better. This is my second 오이소박이, and it just keeps getting better. My wife teases me that I’m becoming an amazing Korean wife (I’m a guy) . I look forward to making more of your recipes soon!

    See full size image

  3. loveyuja California joined 11/17 & has 1 comment

    This is such an interesting idea to use fruit. Please check out my mother-in-law and my blog. We have a traditional version in Korean.

  4. Yostina Egypt joined 10/17 & has 3 comments

    Hi Maangchi, this looks so delicious but I don’t have access to Korean cabbage, or radish, can I make this Kimchi with any available vegetable and fruits? Thank you ^^

    • Sio lover Ksa joined 12/16 & has 46 comments

      Hi Yostina I can help you in something.
      I know that sometimes korean products are not available but you can use Egyptian radish I use it always its really good as for the korean cabbage you can use Egyptian cabbage its also great. And good luck with it sweet heart.I hope it helped!❤❤

Leave a Reply

You must create a profile and be logged in to post a comment.