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. If you don’t like oysters, you can leave them out.

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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.

Ingredients

  • 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)

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Directions

  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 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.

kimchi_salting

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.
    kimchi

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.

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1,127 Comments:

  1. lrama Malaysia, Sabah joined 12/12
    Posted December 22nd, 2012 at 10:45 pm | # |

    Hi.. i m staying at Sabah, Malaysia… this gonna be my 1st try making kimchi..but yesterday when i am going to market i can only find Japanese Radish instead of Korean Radish , Long Cabbage instead Napa Cabbage and cili powder instead of hot papper flakes..

    Can i still’s make kimchi with the ingredient i found? Pls advise.. Thank you

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted January 8th, 2013 at 9:27 am | # |

      yes, you can do some experiments and replace some ingredients with the ones available in your area. Good luck with making delicious kimchi! Check out the list of Korean grocery stores in Malaysia. https://www.maangchi.com/shopping/malaysia

  2. amelia93 Malaysia joined 12/12
    Posted December 13th, 2012 at 5:37 am | # |

    Hey! Im wondering if i can use chinese radish instead of korean radish? It is because I couldn’t find korean radish in my area. this is how chinese radish looks like. =D

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted December 16th, 2012 at 1:41 pm | # |

      “Im wondering if i can use chinese radish instead of korean radish?” Yes, you can. Happy cooking!

  3. Simi11 New England joined 11/12
    Posted November 11th, 2012 at 11:26 pm | # |

    Annyeonghaseyo Maangchi, I will be making your Kimchi recipe for the 2nd time, last time it was too spicy for me so I have to watch when I make the pepper paste. I fell in love with Kimchi since watching Korean Dramas, there is even one that is specifically about different kinds of kimchi and the harmony of food. I use kimchi if I don’t feel like cooking lenghty menus, like some mentioned it over fried eggs, topping salads and of course in soup like ramen, that is actually my favorite way to eat kimchi. I make a batch with cabbage and the daikon radish in one. Kamsahamnida for posting this recipe, I will checkout the other recipes as well. Be well, Simi :)

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted December 16th, 2012 at 1:44 pm | # |

      Simi, yeah you can make so many different kinds of dishes with kimchi. As long as you have kimchi in the fridge, you won’t be hungry. : )

  4. Rothrock Portland, Oregon joined 11/12
    Posted November 10th, 2012 at 9:05 pm | # |

    Thanks for the video and recipe. Made a big batch of kimchi and kaktugi. Ate some of it fresh and it tasted great. Can’t wait to get it a little fermented and see how it is then.

  5. ianferrero Indonesia joined 11/12
    Posted November 8th, 2012 at 8:54 pm | # |

    Hi Ms. Maangchi!
    I had lived in Korea for one year and I love lots of Korean food and of course including Kimchi. Recently I miss Kimchi badly. So I found your recipe. It looks great! I can’t wait to try it!!!
    But before I started, there is one question. I heard that apple and pear is also very important in Kimchi making. Is that true? And could we use apple and pear instead of sugar?
    Thanks a lot!!!:)

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted November 11th, 2012 at 10:32 am | # |

      I don’t recommend using apple or pear but if you really want to use them, boil the puree and cool down and combine with hot pepper flakes, garlic, … You don’t have to make sweet rice porridge this way.

      I once made my kimchi with pureed apple for the same reason that you said. I didn’t use sugar, but the kimchi didn’t turn out good. The cabbage and the kimchi paste didn’t mix well and the color turned to a little blue. Ever since then, I never use crushed apple or pear.

  6. Rosemary4 Sanford fl joined 9/12
    Posted September 25th, 2012 at 9:01 pm | # |

    Hi I am deaf mom. I have two children and husband. Kimchi is great meal of all I ever taste in my life since I watched movies called “Kimchi Battle” it very good. I was wonder what so special about Kimchi So I went in to research and found your website you cook everything Korean foods. Once I join I watched of your video how to make kimchi or easy, it look good I love spicy! So I started to made it even tho I never taste it first before make but didn’t matter I tried your recipe it turn out great and I love it. now I understand what kimchi is all about! Thank you for all your hard work I know it not simple but a lot of work but taste turn out in heaven. So now I look through out all your website all Korea food but one thing how about Korean army base soup i am look for? Can you make one Korean army base soup recipe? I am look forward to this! Thank you! Your fan, Rosemary Larson

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted September 25th, 2012 at 10:53 pm | # |

      Dear Rosemary,
      you are awesome! I can feel your passion for life, cooking, and learning something new everyday. I’m very happy to hear that your first kimchi making turned out great. You didn’t know what the kimchi was supposed to taste like! I think you will be getting into Korean cooking for a while. : )
      Sure budaejjigae (Army base soup) will be posted on my website someday.

  7. Kristopher Ruzicka Prague, CZ joined 12/11
    Posted September 12th, 2012 at 5:01 pm | # |

    Hi Maangchi,
    Thanks for the recipe. I want to make my Kimchi in onggi jars, but I’m not sure if the cost / effort is worth it. What do you think?

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted September 14th, 2012 at 4:34 pm | # |

      Check this out if you haven’t read about my experiment. https://www.maangchi.com/blog/kimchi-tasting
      I didn’t see much of a difference in the taste between the kimchi stored in an onggi (earthenware pot) and glass or kimchi stored in a plastic container. It’s up to you. Some friends of mine said the kimchi stored in an onggi is much better though

  8. quietpatches Home joined 8/12
    Posted August 17th, 2012 at 9:44 pm | # |

    Hi, I am attempting to make kimchi as I fell in love with them when I lived in Korea.
    I am wondering if you use the apple and pear in your recipe? Does it make a difference?

    • Kim Yunmi United States joined 7/12
      Posted August 26th, 2012 at 9:54 pm | # |

      She used sugar instead. Apple and Pear Juice are considered “Upper class” Kimchi. Pear Juice is less sweet than apple juice, and most of the time the *fruit* rather than the juice is used. The extra sugar softens the edge of the natural vinegar flavor from fermentation, but isn’t necessary.

  9. AMYC98 Malaysia joined 8/12
    Posted August 16th, 2012 at 5:00 pm | # |

    Hello Maangchi,

    I’ve a question to ask you. What’s the purpose of making porridge to make kimchi? When I’m adding pear juice to make kimchi will I still need to make the porridge or to skip the step?

    • Kim Yunmi United States joined 7/12
      Posted August 26th, 2012 at 9:58 pm | # |

      The porridge helps the pepper, and other items to stick to the cabbage. If you are using pear juice instead, (which may be too sweet if you add that much of it), you still need the porridge.

      Personally, I’d use an Asian Pear, and use the actual pear, sliced up, in place of the sugar. I’ve done that before.

      If you like stronger and more vinegary kimchi, you can leave out the sugar. Many recipes for kimchi have no sugar added. (Especially the traditional “peasant” varieties.)

  10. tygertyger Narnia joined 7/12
    Posted July 14th, 2012 at 1:39 am | # |

    Hi, Maangchi.
    First of all, I want to thank you for the recipe. It tastes really good ^^
    I’ve made kimchi few times, but I never left it fermented too long (6 to 8 hours on top), but yesterday I decided to ferment it for almost 24 hours, and it got too sour for my taste. Do you have any idea how to make it less sour? Thanks, anyway.

    • Kim Yunmi United States joined 7/12
      Posted August 26th, 2012 at 10:05 pm | # |

      You can’t undo fermentation, but it *can* be made into Kimchi Chigae.

      I take it you used a regular plastic as a container in summer? There are special plastic containers designed for kimchi which could make your kimchi taste better and ferment more evenly. Some of the untasty gasses are released that way and it ferments slower, but tastes better. If you are serious about your kimchi you might want to invest in that.

      If you are super serious, you can hunt down onggi jars, which make for the best kimchi. The kimchi may take a week to ferment properly, but the fermentation from an onggi jar releases all of the bad tasting gases with little fuss and very little chance of molding. You can google onggi jars to see what they look like. They are the best fermentation jars in the world since it is over 3,000 years of refining to make it best suited for the task.

    • mauserati joined 6/10
      Posted September 24th, 2012 at 12:03 am | # |

      Hi tyger,
      Yunmi is correct that you can’t undo the fermentation but here are some suggestions for using strong kimchi:
      1. Rinse off the sauce. Maybe that sounds simplistic, but heck, it’s your food, do what you want to make it taste good to you. :)
      2. Use the strong kimchi in dishes where it’s fried, like kimchi fried rice or kimchi pancakes. This works in two ways: you have to squeeze out the juice/sauce to keep the end result from being soggy, and frying the kimchi changes the flavor – much milder in my opinion.
      3. Make soup, because the water and other ingredients will dilute the kimchi’s powerful taste. Again, cooking does change the flavor.

      Sorry for the late reply, but I hope this helps, if the situation arises in the future.
      Have fun.

  11. Rlau1980 Berkeley, ca joined 7/12
    Posted July 11th, 2012 at 2:20 am | # |

    Hi Maangchi,
    For some reason my kimchi came out quite a bit too spicy and salty/fishy. Do you have any suggestions for how to mellow out the flavor? Thanks

    • Kim Yunmi United States joined 7/12
      Posted August 26th, 2012 at 10:11 pm | # |

      You might want to try northern style Kimchi which uses dried shrimp instead of oysters. You kind of have to make a “shrimp sauce.” That means boiling the dried shrimp, and then straining (keeping the water) letting it reduce down until it’s the proper color and then use that instead. Shrimp will taste less strong. Most imported kimchi uses this recipe (in imitation of Seoul Summer Style)

      Oysters make it smell strong. Also, squid can do that too. Also, reduce the fish sauce.

  12. sohapilee Pilipinas joined 11/11
    Posted July 6th, 2012 at 8:55 am | # |

    Hi Maangchi!
    I love Kimchi~! There’s a restaurant within my city that makes the best kimchi. It really tastes more delicious than any other kimchi I’ve tried everywhere else.

    Uh…so I’m about to makemy own kimchi…can I substitute anchovies (dried) instead of theoysters?I can’t eat oysters. I know you said I can leave them out…but, can I use dried anchovies instead?

    Thanks!

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted July 6th, 2012 at 9:35 am | # |

      yes, you can skip oysters. It will still be very delicious. No dried anchovies in kimchi.

  13. hihello Boston-Tokyo joined 6/12
    Posted June 24th, 2012 at 12:26 am | # |

    my market ran out of Buchu, and I forgot the green onions, will my Kimchi still come out good..i hope so -_-

  14. ina78 Jerteh, Terengganu, Malaysia joined 4/09
    Posted May 5th, 2012 at 11:39 am | # |

    Hai Maangchi,
    Just now, I finish my kimchi n kakdugi, but I dont have hot pepper flakes, so I use dried hot pepper and boil it and blend it (I put some water when I blend it, if not, then it will be so hard to blend). then after I mix it all, my porridge become watery, not thick like yours, is it will be alright? well, I just use it, and I taste it, it’s still taste delicious. just worried that it wont taste like yours….hahaha…… thank you so much for your great recipes, for your information, this is my second homemade kimchi that used your recipes, since 2009…. first made, I use red pepper powder?????, rice powder?????, and not fermented it outside the refrigerator…. but the taste still okey…. hehehe….

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted May 7th, 2012 at 11:44 am | # |

      ” I use dried hot pepper and boil it and blend it ” interesting!
      Next time if you make it again, soak dried hot peppers in cold water for a few hours and grind. And add less porridge to make your kimchi paste thicker.

      • ina78 Jerteh, Terengganu, Malaysia joined 4/09
        Posted May 13th, 2012 at 8:03 am | # |

        Dear Maangchi,
        Thank you so much for your advise…. I’ll use this method when I run out of my hot pepper flakes…. hehehe…. by the way, Maangchi, I really like your website, your recipes, the way you cook on youtube…. it’s really fun to watch you cook… I hope you’ll succeed in whatever you do….

  15. ina78 Jerteh, Terengganu, Malaysia joined 4/09
    Posted April 27th, 2012 at 10:16 pm | # |

    Hai Maangchi…..
    If I want to replace the oysters with hairtail fish, do I need to fermented the fish with salt first? or just put it like that… which is better, I put with the bone or without bone….? and one more question pleaseee…. If I want to put salted shrimp, do I have to reduce the fish sauce? and how much do I have to reduce it? and how much do I have to add the salted shrimp…? sorry to bother you with so many question….hehehe….
    love you Maangchi….

    • Kim Yunmi United States joined 7/12
      Posted July 8th, 2012 at 9:09 pm | # |

      Most fish sauce replaces the need for shrimp. The added oyster is a Kyeongsang thing.

      Either it is (by region) dried shrimp (north–shrimp from June), Mussels/clams (Jeolla), Oysters (Kyeongsang/Jeju). Or dried anchovies in general. The fish adds salt and protein which aids in the fermenting process. (Also helps in preservation)

      If you want to do it vegan, barley paste is sometimes used in Monasteries as a substitute.

      Not familiar with the taste of hairtail fish. Most of the substitutes I list are salty by nature…

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