Simple Kim Chi for Beginners




About: Holistic Health and Wellness Coach, Recipe Developer Food Stylist and Photographer. Born in Saigon, Australian raised, now living back in Vietnam. Mother of 3. Enlighten the foodie within to discover food ...

Kim Chi, a traditional fermented food from Korea made from cabbage, garlic, chilli and other vegetables is a nourishing food, full of probiotic goodness. It is rich in vitamins and as the vegetables are fermented and pre-digested by the lacto-bacilli naturally present in the vegetables, it enables our bodies to absorb more of the nutrients than eating it raw. Making your own is easy and this version is great for beginners with a milder flavour.

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Step 1: You Will Need:

Prep time: 45mins

Ferment time: 3 days (better the longer you leave it, lasts for at least 6 months unopened)

Makes a 750ml Jar

  • 500gms (approx 1 lb) Chinese cabbage (aka wombok or napa), washed and cut into 1 inch pieces plus 2 large outer leaves uncut, washed and dried
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 2 spring onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 inch ginger julienned (cut into fine strips)
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (reduce or increase to your preference)
  • optional - 1 clove of garlic thinly sliced. I prefer not to have garlic in mine but it is an amazing superfood and beneficial to add if you don't mind the smell ;)
  • 1 litre of filtered water (or cooled boiled tap or bottled water to remove any contaminants and chlorine)
  • 3 tbsp natural sea salt
  • 1 x 750ml glass flip top jar (fido jar) - I find these work best for me as the rubber seal allows gasses to escape while still keeping the jar airtight avoiding mould issues

Step 2: Prepare the Cabbage & Utensils

  • Wash all items (chopping board, knife, fido jar) in hot water and vinegar and allow to air dry (no soap)
  • Wash all the vegetables and allow to dry on a clean tea towel
  • make the brine by dissolving 3tbsp of natural sea salt in the filtered water
  • wash, dry the chinese cabbage, then slice into 1 inch pieces
  • place the cabbage in a large mixing bowl and pour over the brine
  • using a ceramic plate, weigh the cabbage down under the brine for 30 minutes

Step 3: Prepare the Rest of the Ingredients

  • peel and grate the carrot (I use a mandolin which cuts into fine strips which to me is prettier and crunchier than grating)
  • finely slice the spring onions
  • peel and julienne the ginger (cut into fine strips)
  • after the cabbage has soaked in the brine for 30 minutes, pour the brine into a jug or bowl and reserve for later
  • add the carrots and ginger
  • add the spring onions and cayenne pepper, mix well
  • massage and bruise the cabbage mixture with your hands for approximately five minutes to release the juices
  • place the kim chi mixture into the glass jar, packing down really well with your fist
  • add all of the juices from the mixing bowl allow a 2 inch gap from the top of the jar
  • pack the vegetables down hard again to ensure all the air bubbles are released
  • pour some of the reserved brine in to the jar to submerge the vegetables but allow a 1 inch gap for the gases to expand (the jar can explode if filled to the top)
  • roll up the 2 large outer leaves and place on top to keep the veggies submerged under the brine
  • sit the jar out of direct sunlight for at least 3 days in warm climates and about 5-7 days in colder climates
  • enjoy as a side to any dish, ideally start with 1 tbsp and increase your probiotic goodness!
  • TIP: don't cook with your fermented veggies as it will kill off the good bacteria. I leave my fermented veggies on the counter for months without refrigeration, store in the fridge once opened and only use clean utensils - no hands!

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    9 Discussions


    9 months ago on Step 3

    I just made a batch for the first time. I substituted with what I had. Some gochuchang, fish sauce, Japanese togarachi. Left out the ginger but out in fresh garlic. Let's see what happens! Thanks for the recipe and instructions!


    Question 1 year ago on Introduction

    Does 3-7 days give it enough time to produce the pro-biotics and the beneficial qualities of Kimchi?

    loveurbellySoul Bae

    Answer 1 year ago

    Yes it's great for weight loss as it contains beneficial bacteria and helps curb cravings


    3 years ago

    Sorry to sound ignorant, does it need to be filtered water? Bottled water not ok, it just needs to be 'fresh' clear water? :)

    3 replies

    Reply 3 years ago

    Yes at the end of the day, any water will do, so long as you boil it and allow to cool if unsure of the quality of water :)


    Reply 3 years ago

    Hi Richardjw, not at all, I prefer not to use bottled water due to possible BPA etc, boiled tap water allowed to cool to remove any chlorine is ok if you trust your water source, otherwise use bottled water if no other choice is available :) I was also using bottled water when I moved to Vietnam as the chlorine levels are 3 times over the safety limit here. I have since installed a reverse osmosis filter. hope that helps!


    3 years ago

    avoid chlorinated water it can harm the beneficiary microbes, spring water is best