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. indelibledotink Honolulu joined 5/11 & has 19 comments

    hi maangchi, i just discovered your site a few days ago and i love it! i had some kaktogi with a korean lunch on mother’s day and am now inspired to follow your recipe and see how it stands up to my halmuni’s.

    thank you!

  2. [email protected] joined 4/11 & has 2 comments

    Hi, this looks great. I am new to Korean food. I love cabbage and spicy but I have yet to taste anything with fish sauce that I like. I think it is a taste I could accquire so I would like to try this recipe using maybe 1/4 of the sauce. Should I add something to replace he loss of this indgredient? Thank you, I am looking forward to learning from you.

  3. CatToy WV joined 4/11 & has 1 comment

    Hello Maangchi! I lived in Hawaii for five years, and so loved the food and the culture. Every day at work, there was always Kimchi in the break room and in the kitchen.
    I recently found your videos on youtube and I’m so grateful! I live on the east coast now but am in a very rural area, not very good eateries over here…so I tackled your KimChi! Oh wow, it’s just like the Kimchi in Hawaii; I also made your Fried chicken with red sauce and sesame seed. O M G! I had to use shrimp cocktail as I had no ketchup and it came out just as good. My husband had to come in from outside as he knew he smelled something wonderful cooking lol! I wanted to thank you for your great videos and site, now I know I can make all the wonderful dishes I grew to love in Hawaii!
    I used raw oysters and had enough for a 2nd batch and I added more peppers and even some shrimp to the 2nd batch. The oyster taste is so subtle and lovely! I had about 10 jars, and now I’m finding I’m craving it all the time. When I first left Hawaii; I craved the food badly. Now I’m craving my own Kim Chi lol! I’m looking forward to any other recipes you post, take care and enjoy Spring in NY!

    Cattoy in WV

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 12,051 comments

      “My husband had to come in from outside as he knew he smelled something wonderful cooking lol! ..” I’m very happy to hear that! It sounds like your homemade food contributes to your happy family! : )

  4. chsr420 joined 4/11 & has 2 comments

    I have recently tried kimchi that i bought from a local walmart. it was ok. but, i know this is not what kimchi is suppose to be like. so, i’m going to try this recipe soon. it looks delicous. you also own the same knives that i own, in this video. lol.

  5. lorenchristopher joined 4/11 & has 3 comments

    I FINALLY got around to making kimchi for the first time and used your recipe exactly, and WOW. Thank you….this is soooo yummy. I live in Seoul and am going to bring some in to work for my co-workers on Monday and see their shocked reactions. I can’t wait! There was too much paste leftover, so I put it in an air-tight container and in the freezer. I’ll make some more kimchi with it in a couple weeks. Thank you thank you thank you maangchi!!!

  6. foodeterian UB, Mongolia joined 3/11 & has 3 comments

    Raelly good recipe I tried this recipe many times and result was fabulous ….. Thanks dear

  7. Hi, Maangchi. Yesterday I bought salted shrimp, how to use it, should I wash them before making kimchi or use as is. If you have experience with doing kimchi with beef broth?? Thanks that you are …

  8. gecor hong kong joined 3/11 & has 2 comments

    thanks so much for this website…i’ve been looking for authentic kimchi recipes for a long time coz i couldnt appreciate the commercial ones that i buy and even the ones i order in korean restaurants…after making ur kimchi recipes (cabbage, radish and cucumber), i’d say i found the taste i’ve been looking for…they’re just great!!! im actually about to make them again…love your other recipes as well…now i dont have to go to korean restaurants all the time to eat the dishes i want…way to go, maangchi!!!

  9. macdawwg minnesota joined 3/11 & has 1 comment

    Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day, by making my first homemade Kimchi, Love your website, you are such a giving and joyful person. Most important ingredient is love, right? Maangchi you are the best. How about smoked oysters instead of fresh?

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 12,051 comments

      yes, the most important ingredient is love! When you make food for someone you love or yourself, you are supposed to use the best quality ingredients and make healthy food. : )
      But, but, smoked oysters don’t sound ok. lol Use fresh or frozen oysters.

  10. Redbird United States joined 2/11 & has 1 comment

    I went to the Asian market to get hot pepper paste, and walked out with hot bean paste. It’s a soy bean product-can I still use it for my kimchi?

    • oksipak California joined 1/11 & has 72 comments

      Redbird, you don’t want to use hot bean paste to make kimchi. Go back to the store and get hot pepper powder, (not paste). Hot pepper powder is in its pure form void of any soy bean product. If you want to make true kimchi, red pepper powder is needed. Good luck.

      I ran out of my very first kimchi batch so I will also be making kimchi this coming week. Can’t wait to see your kimchi. :) I buy hot pepper powder via Internet.

  11. edwinywc Costa Rica joined 1/11 & has 2 comments

    Hi there, I am new here. And I love your recipe. Thanks for sharing! By the way, I wonder should i use raw squid or cooked squid? And how long can a kimchi last without eating it? will mold grow on it? Thank you!

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 12,051 comments

      This recipe uses raw oyster. It sounds like you are talking about my another type of kimchi “mak kimchi” where I posted how to use raw squid in kimchi.
      Choose about 300 grams (2/3 pound) of very fresh squid. Then:
      Remove the guts and backbone and rinse it.
      Add 3 tbs salt and mix it with a spoon.
      Put it in a container or glass jar and keep it in the refrigerator for a week.
      Rinse the squid thoroughly until not slippery and drain it (you can skin it if you want).
      Dry the squid with paper towel or cotton and chop it up.
      Add it to your kimchi paste!

      • Kiew Chan Australia joined 1/11 & has 1 comment

        Hi I was in Seoul last year and fell in love with Koreanh food. I am trying to make Katkugi. Can I replace korean radish with white Chinese radish? How much does two Koprean radish weigh? Looking forward to learn from all your recipes.

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

          Korean radish tends to be denser than Japanese or chinese radish probably from a thousand years or so of making kimchi… (Denser foods do better in pickling)

          You can use it, but salt it for a shorter amount of time. When I used Japanese radish (Daikon) it got soggy faster, so be sure to adjust and watch it.

      • edwinywc Costa Rica joined 1/11 & has 2 comments

        Oh, maangchi, you are right. Thanks for correcting me, and yes I was talking about that one.
        By the way, it always take 3 days to a week to make those wonderful kimchi, and I wonder how long could they be stored? Because I want to make a lot and store them for a long time.

  12. sparklingcosmic joined 1/11 & has 1 comment

    Dear Maangchi…
    I would like to know if the fresh oyster will still be fresh after couple of days in the kimchi. Is it safe to eat it, because i once got poisoned by eating dead oyster and i don’t want to have the same nightmare….

    Thank you Maanchi…i really love your site!!!

  13. JenPet017 San Luis Obispo, CA joined 12/10 & has 1 comment

    Hi Maangchi,

    My boyfriend recently attempted making kimchi and kaktugi for me, but when we ate it, the kaktugi came out much saltier than the kimchi did, almost like the radish absorbed some of the salt. Have you heard of this happening before and is there anything we can do to make sure it’s not too salty next time?


  14. 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.

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