Emergency kimchi

Yangbaechu-kimchi 양배추김치

Hi everybody!
In this video I’m showing you a method I developed to make kimchi simply and easily. It’s faster and easier because I skip the porridge-making step, I use common cabbage instead of napa cabbage, and I don’t use oysters or fermented squid.

Why? Because this is an emergency! : )


Total time to make this kimchi is 30 minutes. If you have fast hands, it might be 20-25 minutes.

Most people know that traditional, authentic kimchi is made with napa cabbage (in Korean: “baechu”). While I travel, I sometimes see napa cabbage sold at local markets, but it’s not available in many countries. So when I want kimchi when I travel I make it with common cabbage (in Korean: “yangbaechu”). I know others have also been experimenting with this.

It’s a recipe that I developed over numerous trips to countries where napa cabbage wasn’t available. Which is why I call it “emergency kimchi.”

You could use this recipe when you need to make kimchi rapidly, or if there’s no napa cabbage where you live.

I stayed at the beach in Puerto Escondido, Mexico for 4 days. I made this kimchi on the second day and enjoyed it for the rest of the time I was there. The leftover kimchi was given to my new friend Bev from Arkansas. I’ll tell you about her in my next blog.


Cabbage, salt, hot pepper flakes, fish sauce, sugar, garlic, green onions, and carrot.


  1. Cut 2 pounds of cabbage into thin strips about 2-3 inches in length and ¼ inch wide. Place into a large bowl.
  2. Add 1 cup cold water and ¼ cup kosher salt. Mix it well with your hands to properly salt the cabbage.
  3. Set aside for 10 minutes.
  4. Make kimchi paste by mixing these ingredients in a bowl:
    ⅓ cup hot pepper flakes,
    1 tbs sugar,
    ¼ cup fish sauce,
    ¼ cup minced garlic,
    3-4 stalks of chopped green onion (⅓ cup worth),
    ¼ cup’s worth of julienned carrot
  5. Wash and rinse the salted cabbage in cold water a couple of times. Drain the water.
  6. Mix the kimchi paste into the cabbage thoroughly.
  7. Put the kimchi into a container, jar, or plastic bag.
  8. Press the top of the kimchi down with your hands to protect your kimchi from being exposed to too much air.
  9. You can eat it right away, just like salad. Or keep it at room temperature and it will ferment in a few days. Fermented kimchi can be used for kimchi stir-fried rice or kimchi stew, and it will be delicious.




  1. Jana H. joined 7/15
    Posted August 24th, 2015 at 3:34 pm | # |

    Hello Maangchi what can I exchange the fish sauce with? Please answer me as soon as possible if you don’t know it’s okay but please if anyone else knows tell me and can I make it without the fish sauce ? What will the results be ? Thank you so much!!!

    • Jana H. joined 7/15
      Posted August 24th, 2015 at 4:14 pm | # |

      Can I use oyster sauce or soya sauce?? I actually saw someone put a substitute for fish sauce on your blog but I don’t have kelp…Please maangchi help me . It was hard to get nappa cabbage and when I saw this recipe I was so excited!! I love korean cooking and I learn a lot from you. I really want to do kimchi with my mom and my dad loves eating spicy things. I started eating ramen and making korean bread I even tried to make rice cakes and I’m only 13 years old but you inspired me thank you! And I hope you answer.

  2. lynnipinny joined 8/15
    Posted August 17th, 2015 at 7:14 am | # |

    Hi I made this and put it in the fridge it’s delicious. How long will it keep for please?

  3. Debra Turner joined 8/15
    Posted August 16th, 2015 at 1:07 pm | # |

    Hi Maangchi,

    I made a big batch of Kimchi this weekend. I combined your two recipes: the emergency kimchi with the easy kimchi (emergency because I had a huge regular head of cabbage, adding several crunchy vegetables). Next kimchi and fried rice! Then a few of the other dishes. Maangchi, you have created a monster. :)

    Here is my experience making it:

    See full size image

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted August 17th, 2015 at 9:51 am | # |

      Your kimchi looks very delicious and beautiful! Kimchi, Kimchi fried rice, kimchi stew, kimchi soup, kimchi pancake… Your batches of kimchi will get bigger and bigger! : )

  4. Gabyroman Boston, USA joined 1/17
    Posted January 26th, 2017 at 10:41 pm | # |

    Hey Maangchi! Do you think red cabbage will make any difference for this recipe? I don’t expect so, but wanted to check. My family is Mexican and we use A LOT of red cabbage, for color.

    • EvilGrin joined 6/15
      Posted February 3rd, 2017 at 12:45 pm | # |

      Red cabbage works, Ive done it but the red cabbage alters the color of the kimchi as it sours and it takes a little longer to ferment. Tastes just fine though.

  5. Jana H. joined 7/15
    Posted July 24th, 2015 at 5:45 am | # |

    Hi maangchi . I was wondering if we can make porridge for this kimchi . can we ? Thank you!

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted July 24th, 2015 at 3:37 pm | # |

      If you already made kimchi and it’s too salty, add more radish to the kimchi. Just cut a few radishes into disks and insert them into the salty kimchi. That’s my way to dilute

      • Jana H. joined 7/15
        Posted July 29th, 2015 at 3:00 pm | # |

        Hello maangch. Is fish sauce optional if not what can I replace it with? Thank you !

  6. HJPARK Wales joined 7/17
    Posted July 12th, 2017 at 5:42 pm | # |

    I found a different type of cabbage which called savoy cabbage a few days ago. It looked thinner than normal cabbage. so I picked it up and I made a kimchi with it as soon as I back home. Finally, today I made kimchbokkeumbab with this kimchi, actually it wasn’t fermented fully but I couldn’t wait.
    In conclusion, it wasn’t bad but not perfect for proper traditional kimchi because its leaves are a bit thicker than napa cabbage.
    I will try to make kimchi with savoy cabbage soon again. Next time I’ll use more salt when it’s soaked or sit aside longer.
    anyway thank you maangchi. you always encourage me to cook, especially make kimchi!!
    I will report again!!

  7. sumomo Poland joined 1/15
    Posted April 10th, 2017 at 5:01 am | # |

    Hi Maanghi!
    I love your recipies! Yesterday I made emergency kimchi but it is so salty. i don’t have radish to add. If I add more cabagge it will be okay?
    Thank you!

  8. Emerquoise joined 8/15
    Posted October 2nd, 2015 at 12:42 am | # |

    Hi Maangchi, may I ask if it is a must to add sugar?

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted October 2nd, 2015 at 1:06 am | # |

      You can skip sugar if you don’t want it.

  9. kyungjan joined 7/15
    Posted July 17th, 2015 at 3:56 am | # |

    Hi Maangchi. Help! My Kimchi turned out to be salty. I don’t know what to do. Is there any way to solve this? I have followed the instructions carefully, I don’t know what’s wrong.

    • Jana H. joined 7/15
      Posted July 29th, 2015 at 3:03 pm | # |

      I you already made kimchi and it’s too salty, add more radish to the kimchi. Just cut a few radishes into disks and insert them into the salty kimchi.  That is what maangchi told me

  10. misakiusui joined 4/15
    Posted June 5th, 2015 at 7:34 am | # |

    Hello Maangchi
    I have a big problem with my kimchi it’s the Third time i made my kimchi but this time i made i more quantite of kimchi and i have a big problem 2 of my three boxes of kimchi have rotten and i don’t the reson. But normaly my kimcji is very good

  11. jinsil joined 4/15
    Posted April 24th, 2015 at 5:13 pm | # |

    I did make it …and should it look like that?….i am not sur

  12. MichelleHerr joined 3/15
    Posted March 31st, 2015 at 5:21 pm | # |

    Hi! I made this and it was absolutely delicious right away! I made it yesterday morning and it’s been on the counter since. I checked to see if it’s fermented, but no signs of bubbles yet. We’re having bo ssam tonight – is it safe to go ahead and eat it? It tastes pretty good/ ok to eat.

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