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. mase kul joined 12/10 & has 13 comments

    You’re the bomb! Love your videos. My sisters and family are on 2 weeks vacation in Korea. I’m anxiously waiting for them to come back so that I can hear their comments about the food.

    I’ve tried several of your recipes and it turned out delicious. I really enjoy preparing the recipes especially when I recall you saying “sesame oil” at the end.

    Just a question – what would you serve together with this kimchee : rice and …….. .A simple balance lunch or dinner that mothers prepare for their family. Thnx again.

  2. MayaHaru17 Montréal, Canada joined 12/10 & has 1 comment

    It looks sooo delicious!! I was just wondering, the radish you sliced and put in the hot paste, does it need to go through the same process of “taking out” the water than the cabbage or does it need to be raw? Thank you so much! :)

  3. sunflower7 Singapore joined 12/10 & has 3 comments

    Hi Maangchi

    I am from Singapore. The weather in Singapore is the same throughout the whole year.

    To ferment the kimchi, do we leave it at room temperature for 24 hrs?

    Under step 2 of ‘How to handle cabbages and radish”, do we also do that in room temperature.

  4. jeanster Singapore joined 8/10 & has 9 comments

    What if I don’t have a food processor? How am I going to pound the garlic, onion and ginger into paste? >_<

  5. howtotakeawalk joined 11/10 & has 2 comments

    I am so excited about finding this site!!! second post this am!
    so here is my question. what other fish can i use instead of oysters? they just give me the creeps a little, haha. Can I use anchovies?

  6. happymoments520 joined 11/10 & has 1 comment

    Hi Maangchi,

    I accidently bough the fined hot pepper. What should I do? Do I need to go back to the store to buy the other one? Thanks!! :)

  7. Johannah125 Seoul korea joined 11/10 & has 2 comments

    hi maangichi,
    how are you? i am not a kimchi fanatic before but since i am confuse why koreans and so as my filipino friends like to eat kimchi i keep on trying to eat it every time we are eating at a restaurant. There is this restaurant where their kimchi taste so good, its kinda sour, spicy but at the same time its a little bit sweet ( now im always looking for kimchi every time i am eating )… and also i have tried a kimchi made of cucumber, i was planning to make it but i am wondering if the process and ingredients are the same… hope to hear from you soon…

  8. RoseNHouston Houston, TX joined 11/10 & has 2 comments

    I made my first kimchi today, and I put it in glass jars. I left about an inch of space at the top of each jar. Should the lids be tightly sealed, or loose, to let air circulate? I wondered if they are tightly sealed if the fermentation would stop. Also, my paste did not taste very spicy. I wonder if I got the wrong kind of pepper? I used Wang red pepper powder (coarse) that I got from H Mart.

    Your video makes it look so easy, but I am exhausted! But it was fun! I hope it tastes good! Thank you for your videos! They are delightful!

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 12,003 comments

      yay! Congratulations! : )
      I always seal the lid tightly after making it. No problem.
      “.. I got the wrong kind of pepper?” I can’t give you a right answer without seeing it but I would add more hot pepper flakes to the kimchi paste in the next batch of kimchi if I were u.

      Yes making kimchi will make you exhausted especially the first time you make it but it gets easier and easier each time! If you were next to me, I would give you shoulder massage for 30 seconds! lol

  9. icee5932 CA joined 10/10 & has 2 comments

    How does kimchi taste like? Also, I am allergic to fish so their is a lot of stuff i cannot eat. =(

    • Toto Bonn, Germany joined 6/10 & has 34 comments

      Well, I think it’s difficult to describe Kimchi taste. I depends, on what you’ve put in the sauce. So my Kimchi really smells of garlic :D, but also of onions etc. The Kimchi itself, I mean the cabbage has an own flavour. It’s sour and.. well tastes like cabbage :D -just like I said: it’s difficult :)
      I think, if you are allergic to some of the stuff, just make Kimchi with things you can eat. That’s a great thing of Kimchi: you can put in whatever you like. Well of course I think there should be onions, green onions, ginger, hot pepper flakes and garlic but you can replace the fish sauce for example with more salt.
      Well.. I’ve written so much :D… I recommend you to try some Kimchi. Don’t be shy with it;D

      Viele Grüße aus Deutschland (Many greetings from Germany :D)

    • Kim Yunmi United States joined 7/12 & has 30 comments

      If allergic to fish and shellfish, use Barley paste instead. I believe it’s the same amount, not sure. Look it up. I know Monasteries do that.

  10. Riena Jakarta indonesia joined 10/10 & has 1 comment

    hi maangchi,

    I m from jakarta, indonesia. I always love korean foods, always go to korean resto for some treats. One day i found ur video in youtube since then i can make my own dishes and all turns out great. Except for kimchi recipe, it never works to me. I follow all ur instructions, keep it for 2-3 days or even more to make it fermented n sour but it never be fermenting. I wonder wht mistake i made, it seems everythg is right. I like sour kimchi one. i use rice flour not sweet rice flour is this the case? please help. thank youu

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 12,003 comments

      That’s strange! After making your kimchi, where did you put the kimchi container? You have to put it outside of the refrigerator to ferment. “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.”

    • val1272 joined 12/10 & has 1 comment

      hi riena, I’m an Indonesian too.. but It’s kinda hard to find the hot pepper flakes in Tangerang.. Can you recommend me where to buy it?? because, in maangchi blog that tell us about the market, it’s too far for me to get there. help me pleasee.. Thanks a bunch.

  11. Jinju Sunny Florida joined 10/10 & has 2 comments

    Maangchi, kam sam nida! I have watched my mom make kimchi for years and try to learn, but she doesn’t have a “recipe” she just does everything by measuring with her eye (which doesn’t help me of course). My first time making kimchi was from a cookbook from an American who married a Korean man and learned how to make Korean food, but I think she modified the recipes as they seemed very “Americanized”. My kimchi did not ferment correctly. :*(
    I’m so excited to try your authentic Korean Kimchi recipe! My mouth is watering!

  12. Toto Bonn, Germany joined 6/10 & has 34 comments

    I love Kimchi =D. And I’m really amazed how many similarities there are between Kimchi and our German Sauerkraut. The steps to make these wonderful vegetables are nearly the same: Both is made from cabbage (well in Korea of course with Baechu and in Germany with pointed cabbage or white cabbage) and both are saltened before it is pickeld. But I guess it takes more time to make Sauerkraut because you have to salten and compact it for a few weeks before pickeling it. But nevertheless I think it’s notable that such different cultures have such a big similarity =D

  13. Patti Tennessee, USA joined 9/10 & has 2 comments

    Do I leave the cabbage out of the fridge during the salting AND fermenting process? Or does it have to be refridgerated? Thank you for this blog!

  14. mongolnomad joined 9/10 & has 2 comments

    hi, i came across your site last week and have tried several fantastic recipes. your kennip recipe is amazing!

    i have a question regarding this kimchi recipe. sorry to sound like i am splitting hair, but toward the beginning you write ‘fresh oysters’, however further down when making the kimchi paste you write ‘frozen oysters’, does this mean that i can thaw frozen oysters for this recipe?

    the reason i am asking is because i would like to add oysters, but am a bit scared to use fresh ones because i dont know how fresh they may be.

    thanks for your time.

  15. ninjafd Charleston, SC joined 9/10 & has 1 comment

    Maangchi is the Best Kimchi ever! When I was in the Army I was stationed in Korea for one year at Camp Casey in Tongduchon back in 1993-1994. They use to serve Kimchi in the Mess Hall line. Growing up in Seattle, I loved eating kimchi and Korean food. Now I can make great kimchi for my Wife and Kids following Maangchi’s recipes!!!! Keep up the Wonderful recipes so we all can enjoy The Bite of Korea!

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