Napa cabbage kimchi and radish kimchi

Baechu-kimchi, kkakdugi 배추김치, 깍두기

Kimchi is a staple of Korean life and many Koreans include it in their meals three times a day. You can eat it by itself, or use it in so many different Korean recipes. When Koreans make kimchi, they make an effort to make the best kimchi possible and include many regional ingredients.

Today I will show you how to make a traditional-style kimchi with oysters, and we’ll also make radish kimchi (“kkakdugi”) with the same kimchi paste, which saves us from having to make these two kinds of kimchi separately. This is how I make kimchi and kkaktugi, because I need both in my house, but you might be interested in my “easy kimchi” (mak kimchi) recipe if you don’t have a lot of time, or in my kakdugi recipe if you want to make only kakdugi, or make my traditional napa cabbage kimchi recipe by itself if that’s all you need. Also, if you don’t like oysters, you can leave them out.


Many people think you have to wait for kimchi to be fermented before eating, but personally I prefer to eat fresh kimchi, as soon as I make it. And I like to make stew (kimchi-jjigae) out of older kimchi.


  • 2 large size napa cabbages (about 8 pounds: 3.6 kg) and 2 Korean radishes (about 4-5 pounds: 2 kg)
  • 1½ cup of kosher salt
  •  ½ cup  sweet rice flour, ¼ cup sugar, water
  • 4 cups of hot pepper flakes
  • 1 cup fish sauce,
  • 1 medium sized onion, minced (about 1 cup)
  • 1 cup of  fresh garlic, minced
  • 1 tbs minced ginger
  • 7 stalks of green onions, chopped diagonally
  • 2 cups worth Buchu (Asian chives), chopped,
  • 2 cups of matchstick-cut radish
  • fresh oysters (optional)



  1. Cut the cabbages in half, and then slit each half through the core, but not through the rest of the leaves.
  2. Soak each piece in cold water and sprinkle salt over the each leaf , and then set it aside for 2 hours.
    *tip: the stems should get more salt than the leaves
  3. Peel 2 kg of Korean radishes and cut them into 1 inch cubes. Do this by cutting them into several disks, and then cutting horizontally, and then vertically. Put them in a big bowl and sprinkle them with ¼ cup of kosher salt. Then set these aside, too.
  4. 2 hours later, turn the pieces of cabbage over so they get salted evenly. Turn the radishes as well.
  5. Another 2 hours later, you will see the cabbage look softer than before, and it should have shrunk.
    *the total salting process will take 4 hours
  6. Rinse the salted cabbage and radish with cold water 3 times.


Making Kimchi paste:

Make porridge

  1. Put ½ cup of sweet rice flour and 3 cups of water into a skillet and mix them up. Then cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly.
  2. When you see some bubbles, pour ¼ cup of sugar into the porridge and stir one more minute. Then cool it down.
  3. Place the cold porridge into a big bowl. Now you will add all your ingredients one by one.
  4. Add  fish sauce, hot pepper flakes, crushed garlic, ginger, and onion
    *tip: it’s much easier to use a food processor.
  5. Add green onions, Asian chives, and radish.
  6. Add  2 cups of frozen oysters, but this is optional. (I found out lots of people can’t eat them.)
  7. Mix all ingredients well.

Are you ready to spread our paste on the leaves and make your kaktugi?

* I recommend you wear rubber gloves so that you don’t irritate your skin.

  1. Spread the kimchi paste onto each leaf of the cabbage, and make a good shape out of the leaves by slightly pressing with both hands.
  2. Put it into an air- tight sealed plastic container or glass jar.
  3. Mix your leftover paste with your radish cubes to make kkakdugi.

You can eat it fresh right after making or wait until it’s fermented. Put the Kimchi container at room temperature for 1 or 2 days and keep it in the refrigerator.

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.



  1. hellokitty08 joined 5/10 & has 35 comments

    Hello. I want to know if the Korean supermarket sells kimchee that’s already fermented? The last few times I bought them, I had to leave them out but I want to know if I can buy the kimchi that’s already fermented? If they do, how will I know if it’s fermented?

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 12,019 comments

      I don’t know the answer but even though store sold kimchi is fresh, you can leave it outside of the refrigerator for a day or 2 days and it will ferment. You can taste a little piece of kimchi or kimchi juice to check if it’s fermented or not. Fermented kimchi tastes a little sour.

  2. kizb joined 3/10 & has 2 comments

    Hi Maangchi,

    I made my kimchi with fish salt, 1 box of salted shrimp, and raw oyster. After finishing adding the paste into the cabbage, I tasted the kimchi but it is too salty. What should I do now to make it less salty?

    I made 2 gallon already, and I don’t want to throw it away T_T

    Thanks for your help.

    P/s: this is my first time post, but I am really appreciated your website. You show me to made so many dishes, and all my friend just love it so much. This kimchi I made to share with a couple of my friends ^^

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 12,019 comments

      oh no, you must have added too much salty stuff: salt and salty shrimp! You made jaangahjji instead of kimchi! : )

      Just wait until it ferments. I think your salty kimchi will take long time to be fermented. It may taste better when it’s fermented.

      I’m sure your next batch of kimchi will turn out good!

  3. BxlSprout Brussels, Belgium joined 5/10 & has 46 comments

    Hi Maangchi, I’m making this tonight and it looks delicious. My baby daughter is keeping me very busy so I make it just in short steps, for example I made the hot kimchi paste but had no time to add cut chives so I’ll add them tomorrow morning. Thanks Maangchi! I can’t wait to make my own kimchi jeon from this :)

  4. peonygirl portland, oregon joined 8/09 & has 18 comments

    I went to H Mart yesterday and I got everything for the Kim Chi. The asian chives didn’t look fresh so I got extra green onions. I salted for 3 hours or so both the radish and cabbage. I rinsed very well and let me tell you I LOVE my Kim Chi! I wish you could taste it! My 6 year old daughter Ruby helped me salt and mix everything. I put the kim chi in a gallon jar and left it under the sink overnight. Today it has bubbles and tastes fresh- like a little salty, sweet, crunchy- not sour yet but delicious! My daughter loves the smell but hasn’t tried it yet! We will get a camera soon and I can then post pics but I cannot believe how well it went. My husband doesn’t like kim chi so it will take me many months to eat it!!! oh, I used 1 tablespoon tiny salted shrimp because I couldn’t get fresh oysters but still delicious. I also put minari in with the cabbage. Thankyou for a great recipe!! Eating kim chi everyday will make me healthy and maybe lose a little weight, ha!ha!

  5. skyhigh1004 torrance,CA joined 8/10 & has 2 comments

    Hi unnie,

    Thanks a lot for this. everyone likes the kimchi.
    I love ur website. Thank you. ^^

  6. peonygirl portland, oregon joined 8/09 & has 18 comments

    I noticed in your photos the cabbage had dark green leaves after the salting. Are you using the real Korean Cabbage used in korea instead of Chinese Napa Cabbage? Can I find the Korean Cabbage at H Mart do you think? I know they are similar but they are not the same. Korean cabbage is better!

  7. orangecrush joined 8/10 & has 2 comments

    Hi Maangchi!!

    I was just wondering, when making 깍두기, is it ok to let it soak in sugar instead of salt? my mom always told me to use sugar, and I’m just wondering if it makes that much of a difference? Thank you! ^^;

  8. koreanfoodfan32 joined 5/10 & has 9 comments

    Hi Maangchi,

    This kimchi looks super yummy and spicy! Yay!! However, can i add some asian pear or some apple? If so, how much? Also, I heard when soaking the cabbage (giving it a bath) you should add salt to the soaking liquid as well? Anyway I’m planning to make a big batch! Thanks.

  9. PristineDrayco Singapore joined 6/10 & has 3 comments

    Hi Maangchi!

    I love your recipes; they are fabulous and you have sparked my interest and passion to learn more Korean dishes. As you know, different countries have different kinds of produce, I want to know how much napa cabbage did you use. 2 heads is how many kg?

    Also, I want to know how much kimchi paste do I make if I dont want to make Kkatuggi? Can you tell me exactly how much onion and chives and all that, if its isnt inconvienent for you? (sorry, my family isnt a big fan of raddish:()

    P.S. its ok to use daikon in the kimchi paste, right?

  10. angie Singapore joined 7/10 & has 2 comments

    Hi Maangchi,

    May I know the ‘cup’ mention in you recipe is around how many ml?
    cos the kimchi that i just made the ‘look’ is a bit different from you…

    thanks! :)

  11. bluebaby137 California/Michigan joined 6/09 & has 3 comments

    Hey Maangchi, your Kimchi recipe is soooo delicious.
    I have made it many many times for myself and my friends. All my friends liked your recipe. Thank you so much.

  12. kito18 saudi arabia joined 6/10 & has 1 comment

    hi maangchi
    i am from saudi arabia , but i love every things in korea .
    i decided to make kimchi but i didn’t have rice flour , an i put corn flour or not .
    please answer me faster as u can

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 12,019 comments

      I don’t know the answer because I have never made porridge with corn flour for kimchi paste. Use plain flour (all purpose flour). I sometimes use when my sweet rice flour runs out.

  13. luke1979 Canberra Australia joined 6/10 & has 3 comments

    So Im waiting for my cabbage to finishing salting, would like to say I have had kimchi for a long time and have made kimchi before from other websites BUT your is the best, and I like the oysters in it. I miss Seoul so much. And my floor in the apartment building has 5 korean families and I always give them some and they like this version alot, so thumbs up from all the guys here!!!

  14. Ling an Malaysia joined 6/10 & has 1 comment

    Hi Maangchi,
    I tried making kimchi with your recipe…and its taste so good and my sister finish it so fast….so i have to make some for myself today…thanks for the good recipe and clear steps for the beginer to follow.

  15. Donella joined 5/10 & has 9 comments

    I made kimchi using you recipe minus the fish sauce. It seems too sweet to me. I added extra salt to make up for the missing fish sauce. Should I add more salt? Also this batch is soft, I may have fermented it too much before putting it in the fridge. Is there any ways to save it? Or is it now best to use it in a hot dish like stew or pancakes? Thank you.

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 12,019 comments

      I think you should add more salt because you skipped salty fish sauce. Fish sauce is very salty. Modify the recipe according to your taste, so if this kimchi is too sweet, use less sugar.

      • Donella joined 5/10 & has 9 comments

        Thank you for replying. I was able to save/use the kimchi that was too soft by making kimchi fried rice. It was very good. I will add more salt this time. Thank you again.

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