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. Food_Add Singapore joined 11/11 & has 1 comment

    I love your recipe and it was perfect the last time i made it but this time it turned out too salty!!! I put too much salt when soaking… Are there any recipes where I can use the kimchi that will make it not as salty???

  2. hoaihoang92 New York joined 2/12 & has 1 comment

    How long we can use the kimchi? 2 or 3months?

  3. seoulgirl Seoul joined 2/12 & has 1 comment

    Hi Maangchi! Your site is amazing! I am going to make kimchi this week for my boyfriend who is from 경상도 (Busan). We both love really delicious sour kimchi from his hometown. I heard you are from the south too so I wanted to ask you if you have any tips on how to make this recipe more like original 경상도 style. Thanks for your help!

  4. MadChef California joined 2/12 & has 1 comment

    Fantastic recipe and video. I have been contemplating making my own kimchi for a long time as I’ve never been able to find a store brand that satisfies and my favorite local korean restaurant closed recently.

    I have one question… I always have thai sweet/glutinous rice on hand for making sticky rice. Can I grind this myself to use for the sweet rice flour? Or, is the korean sweet rice flour different from southeast asian sweet rice?

  5. Atien Lu Indonesia joined 8/11 & has 1 comment

    Hi Maangchi…
    i don’t like fish sauce smelt, could you find me another ingredient to replace fish sauce?
    If i change the anchovy to anchovy powder, how much the measurement that i should do?
    i buy the anchovy powder @ Mu Gung Hwa indonesia.
    And my last question … i see ur recipe is using kelp sometimes. but it’s hard to find kelp here.. what can i use to replace the kelp? thx

  6. nammie Danmark joined 12/11 & has 1 comment

    Hello Maangchi. (:
    I just want to ask:
    Do you have to have to leave the kimchi outside for a couple of days, or is it optional?
    Because in the video, you say that if people like the sour taste, they should leave it out for a couple of days.

  7. cheegi Hong Kong joined 12/11 & has 2 comments

    Halo Maangchi, many thanks for sharing lovely recipes with us!! I love korean food very much & tried many recipes which all failed…until by chance read your website which have loads of easy recipes. Now kimchi has been a “must” item on our table everyday!!

    I am writing to check if you may share us the receipe of “Squid Kimchi”? Now I can only buy little can in supermarket whcih is soo expensive, so I woud love to learn how to make it. Are they made by fresh or dried kimchi? Would love to hear from you, many thanks!!

  8. Isabel Philippines joined 2/10 & has 13 comments

    Hi Maanghi,

    It’s been along time since I wrote something on your website. Today, I just wanted to thank you for the knowledge I got from you on how to make kimchi. I am so proud to let you know that I am now making kimchi for my friends and officemates. I never realized how many people like to eat kimchi until I brought what I have made to my workplace. One day, one of my officemates told me that I should make kimchi for them and that they will buy some. And, I said, “ok!”

    Last week, the company where I work had an activity and one of them is a livelihood project. I was tasked to demonstrate on how to make kimchi. Many people were interested on how to make kimchi and make a livelihood from it because kimchi in our place is so expensive. If you were to sell it you can make a profit for as high as 100%.

    I am now planning to make kimchi on a commercial scale.

    Thank you so much, Maangchi for that knowledge I got from you.

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 11,947 comments

      Thank you for sharing your kimchi story with us! I’m so proud of you, too! You are not alone among the people that make kimchi with my recipe and sell. During my Gapshida tour, I met some people who have been selling their homemade kimchi! awesome news!

  9. mase kul joined 12/10 & has 13 comments

    Hi Maangchi,
    I am crazy over garlic and spring onions. I was wondering, can I make kimchi with raw garlic? If so what are the complimentary veggies that I can combine with the garlic – spring onions, radish, carrots ? Thnx.
    Have a nice weekend to you and family.

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

      There are panchan with raw garlic.

      Take some rice vinegar, put in a little sugar and then dissolve the sugar, pour over raw garlic and let ferment. Makes for a delicious panchan. (Don’t be surprised when the garlic turns blue…. it’s perfectly fine to eat).

  10. goldfish524 California joined 11/11 & has 1 comment

    Thanks so much for the recipe. I LOVE your blog as much as I love Korean food :)

    I have some questions though. I didn’t leave the kimchi and raddish soaking for a total of 4 hours like you said to because I was afraid it would turn out too salty. I soaked them for only about 2 and a half hours (i also did turn them like you said) and the kimchi turned out well, but the raddish was really salty. Any guess what happened?

    And why is it that the kimchi didn’t turn out salty, was it because the liquid drained out?

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 11,947 comments

      Check out my explanation about this kimchi in my easy kimchi recipe. “…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…”

  11. Artiom Vilnius, Lithuania joined 10/11 & has 2 comments

    Dear Maangchi,
    I’m from Lithuania and found out that there is not hot pepper flakes (korean i mean) offer on our market at all :) the only available item is fermented chilli paste. Can i use paste for making kimchi better to continue my searches for hot pepper flakes?
    Before i have used some hot pepper flakes bought from Turkish store, nothing special and not spicy enough :)
    What makes Gochugaru so special , compare to others hot pepper flakes?

  12. jubies33 arizona joined 6/11 & has 5 comments

    I love your recipes! thanks so much for posting them. Can I leave out the sugar or substitute it with something else?

    • weirdingway San Diego, CA joined 11/11 & has 8 comments

      Sugar is important for the fermenting process so some kind of sugar is necessary. I havn’t tried Maangchi’s recipe yet, but the one that I have done uses a blend of Asian pears and sugar in the pepper mix. I have also seen other recipes using different types of fruit. If you don’t want to use sugar, I would say use two asian pears.

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

      I’ve made kimchi just fine without sugar. The cabbage has natural sugars in it. Many native recipes leave out sugar entirely.

      The protein is more important to the fermentation than the sugar is.

  13. Nephry Germany joined 1/11 & has 9 comments

    Hey Maangchi! :)
    I’ve got a question: For quite a while now I’ve been thinking about making kimchi from fresh spinach but I don’t know whether I should use the normal recipe for kimchi or alter it in some way. Also I don’t know if it will taste good, I don’t to waste a whole bag of spinach. :(
    Do you have any suggestions or experiences? I’d appreciate your opinion ver much!! :)

    Thank you in advance! :)

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

      Reduce the amount of salt or don’t salt it–in general spinach won’t hold up that well to the whole pickling process. I’d also consider not using the bagged spinach, where they pre wash it, but take the trouble of washing it yourself because the stems will taste better in the pickling process.

      Usually things with thick walls and thick lining make for better pickling (radish, cabbage, nappa, bok choi, cucumber, for example.)… so this probably would be better as a mak kimchi where you eat it same day…

  14. Spanky Prague, Czech Republic joined 1/10 & has 5 comments

    Hello Maangchi, I’ve been making your kimchi with a great success for a while and cooking lovely soups and pancakes from it as well, but lately my kimchi tastes too salty. Before the saltiness would go away quickly, but now it lingers. Is it the salt I am using? Am I using too much of it? It doesn’t wash from the leaves, but stays inside quite strong.
    Thank you so much for your site and all the videos, it’s bringing me and my friends in Prague a lot of pleasure.
    Have fun on your trip!

  15. riricassiopeia Australia joined 9/11 & has 2 comments

    does the kimchi keep fermenting when it is in the fridge?

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