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, kosher salt, Korean hot pepper flakes (gochugaru), 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.

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  1. Gabyroman Boston, USA joined 1/17 & has 1 comment

    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.

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

  3. Jana H. joined 7/15 & has 12 comments

    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 & has 12 comments

      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.

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

  5. 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

  6. Jana H. joined 7/15 & has 12 comments

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

  7. 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.

  8. misakiusui joined 4/15 & has 2 comments

    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

  9. jinsil joined 4/15 & has 1 comment

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

  10. 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.

  11. Made this an hour ago. It’s sitting on my counter waiting to be devoured as soon as it’s ready! thinking about making Kimchi fried rice tomorrow :).

    Maangchi, I just want you to know how thankful I am that I came across your site a few months ago. I just started posting comments today because I just figured out how to register and log in. LOL.

    My three year old loves your dububuchim recipe and the sukjunamul. She also adores the soegogo-yachaejuk. I am just thankful that she loves spicy food. Hehehehe.

    Were planning to visit S. Korea in November. Aside from Jeju Island, are there any other places you recommend for us to visit? And also can you do an unrelated review for your beauty regimen? I love Korean face and beauty products.


    Nanay (it means “mom” in Filipino) and Ahsha

    • Jana H. joined 7/15 & has 12 comments

      Hi I hope you get there safely I love south korea I’m even learning korean you will have so much fun because you’re visiting a wonderful place I will be visiting korea once I finish collage it’s going to be a lot of time since I’m still in high school well I hope you enjoy your trip don’t forget to eat there we all know the food is amazing!!

  12. gerry c joined 3/15 & has 9 comments

    Wow, I used this “Emergency kimchi” recipe for the first time the other day, although I did use Napa cabbage as it’s readily available here.(I even grow it in the veg patch sometimes)

    I was amazed at how good it tasted, made with nothing that doesn’t normally sit in my pantry/fridge.
    No trip across town to get some saeujeot (sorry, the fermented shrimp, probably spelled wrong) and no waiting a few days till it’s ready.

    Of course it’s not as good as the real thing, but nobody complained when I served this at the family get together and the plates were empty :)

    Great job! and I just love “shortcut” cooking :)


    Gerry C

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 12,047 comments

      Hi Gerry,
      You used emergency kimchi recipe using napa cabbage! Great! Koreans call this kind of kimchi, where you eat it right after making it, “geot-jeo-ri.” All you need is to sprinkle lots of toasted sesame seeds.: ) Good luck with your Korean cooking!

  13. cenabrown United States joined 3/15 & has 1 comment

    I have used the western cabbage before when I couldn’t get Nappa, so I thought i thought it was cool to see this recipe.

  14. JennyB United States joined 3/15 & has 1 comment

    Lol, the “Western/Overseas” Kimchi. I love it! xD

  15. AzuriahC Wyoming, USA joined 3/15 & has 1 comment

    Hi Maangchi! This is my first comment on your website. I love your recipes so much! This is the first one I made on this site. I was kind of following 2 recipes at once, so I ended up making the porridge after all. This is so good, even though my mom did not like the huge mess I made in the kitchen, but she liked it too! (-: I am letting ferment on the top of my closet.

    Thank you for bringing the joy of Korean food to everyone! I cannot wait to order your new cookbook!


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