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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1,125 Comments:

  1. Toto Bonn, Germany joined 6/10
    Posted December 29th, 2013 at 12:42 pm | # |

    Dear Maangchi,
    after making Kimchi for 3 years now I just had a question: I saw some recipes where they didn’t salten the cabbage directly but putting it into a brine for 3 hours or so. Is there a difference in taste or consistency or is it just the same? Is there actually any difference in the end product at all?
    Thank you, Toto

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted December 30th, 2013 at 9:53 am | # |

      You can use the both ways when you salt your cabbage. For me, this method is much simpler and save some salt, too.

  2. Gobi Singapore joined 12/13
    Posted December 8th, 2013 at 4:21 am | # |

    Dear Maangchi,

    I was surfing around for kimchi recipe, found your website and tried making using your recipe today. Mine tasted a little too sweet but not too bad for someone who had never went to Korea or had never ever made kimchi before~

    It was also a breeze using your recipe and watching your video. Thank you for your wonderful recipe and video! Looking forward to try out your other recipes!

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted December 9th, 2013 at 8:56 am | # |

      Amazing! You had never tasted kimchi but you made your first kimchi only following my recipe! Awesome! If it is too sweet for you, skip sugar in your next batch of kimchi. Cheers! : )

  3. LIYA Almaty, Kazakhstan joined 8/13
    Posted August 21st, 2013 at 2:52 am | # |

    Maangchi, you are the best of the best!
    Thank you for your great work and great site!
    It is really very helpful for Koreans born abroad to refresh our memories about our real cuisine.
    :-)

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted December 5th, 2013 at 5:50 pm | # |

      Awesome! You are living in Kazakhstan? Can you find Korean cooking ingredients easily in your area?

  4. Two Beers Germany joined 8/13
    Posted August 18th, 2013 at 5:52 pm | # |

    Hello.

    Thanks for saring your recipes with everyone. i´ve been using quite a few of them recently and i love flavours. two days ago i´ve been making a big amout of kimchi following your recipe and i used crushed red peppers from vietnam which i found in a local asia shop. unfortunatelly it turned out to be so hot that its hardly edible. i just had a little amount of it just to try and about half a minute later i started breaking out in sweat. my mouth was burning so bad, even some yoghurt didn´t help. i like to eat hot usually, but this is really bad. it took me 8 hours to make the kimchi and now i´m afraid that all the work was for nothing.

  5. StrawberryAngelic Texas joined 8/13
    Posted July 31st, 2013 at 11:34 pm | # |

    i , made this but one of my friends said i needed to add vinigar to it,is this true? it turned out way salty

    • lmhjgsfever Hungary joined 1/12
      Posted August 18th, 2013 at 8:17 am | # |

      vinegar is not needed. it will ferment later on by itself no vingear required. vinegar is for making sauerkraut

      • glacierkn WI, US joined 9/10
        Posted December 4th, 2013 at 9:37 am | # |

        Actually, vinegar is used to make instant pickled foods. Sauerkraut is fermented like kimchi and it doesn’t need vinegar.

  6. Endang Jakarta joined 6/13
    Posted June 7th, 2013 at 8:59 pm | # |

    Hi Maangchi, your kimchi is become my favorite kimchi recipe at home. Simple and very easy to get the ingredients. I made it several times in a bunch and kept in the fridge for months ^_^. But I still failed to make kimchi pancake, maybe my kimchi is too sour. I posted my kimchi using your recipe in my blog and many readers tried it. The problem is we found it’s difficult to get Korean chilli flakes so we tried the local one and it turned soooo hot! Sometimes they tried the fresh chilli also hahaha. Thank you for the fantastic recipe!

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted June 9th, 2013 at 6:07 am | # |

      Korean hot pepper flakes are sold in Korean grocery stores. Check out a list of Korean grocery stores in Indonesia please.
      https://www.maangchi.com/shopping/indonesia

    • Cutemom Indonesia joined 3/13
      Posted March 17th, 2014 at 1:38 pm | # |

      Endang, bias beli bubuk cabe Korea di Mu gung hwa atau kalau mau pakai cabe lokal, pakai bubuk cabe besar atau keriting. Jangan pakai bubuk cabe rawit.

      Sorry Maangchi ssi I reply in bahasa for you.

  7. EnricM Hilversum, the Netherlands joined 6/13
    Posted June 2nd, 2013 at 5:25 pm | # |

    Hi Maangchi,

    In Daegu I got a different recipe, it didn’t involve any oyster sauce and daikon. I’m anyway vegetarian so that I will leave it out.

    I will in any case try this method as mine results a little bit too watery (but great in taste!). I will use seaweed for the “fishy” taste.

    Ah, and thanks for the Gaji Namul recipe, my wife loves it!

  8. KimchiandBasil.com Amsterdam joined 9/12
    Posted May 26th, 2013 at 5:44 am | # |

    Hi Maangchi,

    I tried your recipe some time ago and it was delicious! After some experiments I came up with a bit different recipe, by adding pears and using chinese cabbages. I tried both eating it fresh or fermented and I was quite happy with the results!
    Let me know what do you think:
    Kimchi on Kimchiandbasil.com

  9. jpjwarren1 Manchester, Britain joined 4/13
    Posted April 4th, 2013 at 1:29 pm | # |

    Made this the other day it’s great!! :D Although I think I got a bit too excited with the chili powder! To any British contingents reading this, I’ve discovered Napa Cabbage is called Chinese Leaf Cabbage in England and although they’re a quite different our little red radishes are still really nice in it! (I couldn’t find any daikon!) Thank you Maangchi!

    • EnricM Hilversum, the Netherlands joined 6/13
      Posted June 2nd, 2013 at 5:22 pm | # |

      We call them “Chinese Cabbage” here in Holland (in Dutch, of course). It’s easy to find.
      Red radish you say? Hmm, have to try this.

  10. hellokitty08 joined 5/10
    Posted March 8th, 2013 at 5:06 pm | # |

    I just made this. Is it normal for the water to separate at the bottom while its fermenting?

  11. Jennifer joined 9/08
    Posted February 26th, 2013 at 6:33 pm | # |

    I gave this recipe to my family in thailand and they said that it fermented really fast that the juice overflowed lol

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted February 26th, 2013 at 9:19 pm | # |

      Thailand is warm, so kimchi will ferment very quickly. Kimchi explosion! : )

  12. hellokitty08 joined 5/10
    Posted February 20th, 2013 at 7:58 pm | # |

    I’ve made this with ggakdugi ith fresh oysters, I’ve cut the oysters into pieces, now the kimchi tastes like fishy a little bit, is this normal? Is there something I can do to not make it fishy taste?

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted February 23rd, 2013 at 7:57 pm | # |

      Oysters are optional. You can always modify the recipe to your taste.

  13. sazji Istanbul, Turkey joined 1/13
    Posted January 11th, 2013 at 7:45 pm | # |

    Ah, I love how people can talk for hours and hours about kimchi. It deserves it! I’ll try your way too. And so many different approaches to the salting, and how long. I’m a lazy kimchi maker I think…soak the cabbage in salt water for a couple hours, rinse it well once, mix it up (I do use the rice flour paste, and a pear) and pack it in a big jar. It comes out great every time. I usually use dried shrimp; I just pound them to a fine powder in a mortar and pestle and toss them in the paste. But I’m almost out and can’t find them here, so next time it’s fish sauce, I’m glad to know about that. I can’t get Korean radishes (they look so beautiful) so I’ll try to grow them next year. I wish I could say i was brave enough to try the oysters! But I’m not… I have done with squid though and it was pretty good. The only time I got a bad batch was long ago when I soaked the cabbage way too long. It came out smelling like Clorox. :P People here don’t eat much really hot food usually, but I make it hot, and everyone loves it.

  14. Greg J. Michigan, USA joined 1/13
    Posted January 9th, 2013 at 6:48 pm | # |

    This must have been asked a hundred times already–sorry! I made your recipe and the flavor was fantastic! However, it was way too spicy with the pepper flakes I used. I made it a second time using 1/16th of the pepper flakes and it turned out to have the right spiciness, but it tasted all wrong. I guess the pepper flakes are an important part of the flavor. Do you know the names of the kinds of peppers that are flaked and used, traditionally? Can you recommend some that are mild and have a similar, or at least good, taste? If not, what is the mildest brand of pepper flakes that you know of that should taste good? Thank you!

  15. RI_guy United States joined 1/13
    Posted January 5th, 2013 at 5:28 pm | # |

    Hi Maangchi-
    I made this ‘original’ style batch some weeks ago. I captured the process at least in photos because I have a few friends also interested…and I wanted to impress my sister-in-law, who is Korean and makes the best I’ve ever tasted :)

    Here’s the link to that first effort:

    Since then, I’ve also made two batches of Oisobagi kimchi (although I just cut into cubes both times), a jjigae and continuing the experience this weekend with another batch (but chopping up the cabbage before hand) and kakdugi (going to mix both lo bok and daikon).

    Cheers-
    Steve

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted January 8th, 2013 at 9:26 am | # |

      omg, your step by step photos are very detailed so that anyone can make kimchi by following them. Great job!

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