Kimchi is a Keeper…Korean favorite now mainstream



Kimchi, a Korean staple, now gone mainstream – well maybe, but I’ve been HOT for it since the first time I tried it years ago. I’m just crazy about that spicy hot Fermented Napa!

While Kimchi can be made out of many different vegetables, and is in its native land, my all-time favorite is Napa cabbage with carrots, scallions, and all the heat and flavor expected in this traditional national dish. The making of Kimchi is a pickling technique that has definitely been embraced by fermenters and those interested in probiotics as well as those interested in Korean food.

Korea’s traditional method of fermenting Kimchi is underground in crocks, where it is stored for months acquiring its unique flavor. There are hundreds and hundreds of versions…my preference is still the Napa. Some people like turnips or cucumbers – you can actually use any vegetable of your choice. Different areas of Korea will have different combinations and ingredients.

I do not bury my Kimchi underground, nor do I let it go for months. My Kimchi ferments in an Asian crock for about 3 days on my dinning room table – quick and easy, and loaded with heat.

Korean people eat Kimchi at any of their meals – breakfast, lunch or dinner. I could eat Kimchi everyday – and probably at every meal. I try to keep it mostly probiotic by not heating it. There are other times, I love it in my Omelets, on top of Fried Rice, or mixed with meat and blended into Meat Balls (that I call Seoul Spheres).

If making this spicy dish – feel free to adjust the heat to your own taste. Try several versions and see what you prefer. There is no right and wrong – it’s about finding your own version.

Vegetable ingredients cut to desired size.

Vegetable ingredients cut to desired size.

All initial ingredients mixed into a large bowl

All initial ingredients mixed into a large bowl

RMJ’s Kimchi
Spicy hot and delicious!
4 medium-sized heads of Napa Cabbage, core removed, rinsed well, cut
into sections
1/2 cup kosher salt or fine sea salt
1 tube ginger paste or 2 Tablespoons finely chopped fresh ginger
(previously peeled and cut)
1 cup dehydrated garlic (slices) or fresh (previously peeled, trimmed and
1 cup red pepper flakes
1 cup red pepper powder (Korean)
8 carrots, peeled trimmed and hand shredded
1 1/2 cups finely chopped chives (previously rinsed and trimmed)
3/4 cup fish sauce

In a giant sized-bowl, place cabbage, salt, ginger paste, garlic, pepper flakes, pepper powder, shredded carrots, chives, and fish sauce.
Mix well with hands until all ingredients are well mixed.
Transfer the ingredients to a brown Asian Crock (or crock of your choice) – Press down and lay weights on top. Cover the crock.
Make sure after two hours the liquid is over the weights.

Let sit for three days – decrock!! Refrigerate once it is removed from the crock.

The second weight will be added

The second weight will be added

You can see the liquid forming - the salt is pulling it out of the Napa.  Make sure after an hour or two there is liquid above the weights - the vegetables must be submerged!

You can see the liquid forming – the salt is pulling it out of the Napa.
Make sure after an hour or two there is liquid above the weights – the vegetables must be submerged!


  1. suzi says:

    i understand fish sauce is not essential. yes? (we are vegan) should i use tamari instead or just omit?

    • RMJ says:

      Suzi – I have always used fish sauce. Tamari is literally just soy… more salt. You could add some or just leave it out and not worry about the fish sauce. The fish sauce does provide a complex flavor which is really nice.

    • Amelia says:

      for a vegan replacement of fish sauce you can use seaweed or a seaweed extract for the “umami” flavor.

  2. laurie wind says:

    What are red pepper flakes 1 cup? Is it the same as crushed red pepper that’s hot?

    • RMJ says:

      Yes, Laurie – same thing! And it is HOT…..

  3. deborah hoots says:

    Checking my Kimchi today….your recipe is like mine but my carrots were my fermented carrot salsa instead. Love your blog

    • RMJ says:

      There are many recipes for Kimchi Deborah – best to use one that works for you 🙂 Yours sounds great.
      So glad you like my blog – do come back soon to check out other entries!!

  4. Theresa (Boo Ya Catt) says:

    Hi Ruth,

    I LOVE your kimchi recipe. So simple, yet it has all of the flavors that I was hoping for and more. It is also very versatile. I used my fermented garlic and substituted leeks for green onions. Amazing!! Thanks so much for posting the recipes, along with the beautiful pictures and stories. Glad I found this site.

    • RMJ says:

      Theresa (Boo Ya Catt):
      So delighted that you tried my recipe and love it!!! Please check back often for recipes….and food insights!

  5. Mary says:

    A cup of hot pepper flakes and a cup of red pepper powder? That’s a lot.

    • RMJ says:

      Yes, Mary it is — I like it hot….you can cut it down a bit.

  6. sarah says:

    What about the brined shrimp. Have you used it? I bought fish sauce and tiny brined shrimp!

    • RMJ says:

      Sarah was the tiny brined shrimp in a jar??? Or in the fish sauce?
      Generally, I buy the dried shrimp for some recipes.

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