Homemade Kimchi

Homemade Kimchi
A quick & easy riff on the classic Korean Kimchi. Its spicy heat and crunchiness make this an ideal snack when you’re feeling hungry. We often keep some in the fridge and just grab a bite or two (or three) if our tummies are growling ahead of schedule!

By virtue of its ingredients, it adds no sugars, fats or significant amount of calories or carbs to your daily eating plan. As noted below, we’ve also used the brine as a marinade with great results!

Traditional Kimchi is fermented, but these methods are closer to a quick pickling. We’ve tried a couple of different recipes.

Kimchi #1
Mix together 1/2c rice wine vinegar, 1/2c fish sauce, 4T Sambal Oelek, 1T Soy Sauce, pinch of salt. Set aside. Chop up a large head of Napa cabbage into bite size (or a bit larger) pieces, place into a large bowl. (If desired, slice/dice/chop & add optional veggies as noted below.) Pour the liquid over the cabbage, toss well. Pack the entire mixture into a glass or plastic container with a tight-fitting lid, cover, refrigerate at least 24 hours. The longer it sits, the hotter (and better) it gets!

Kimchi #2 (pictured above)
Mix together 1T Sambal Olek, 3T of rice wine vinegar, 4 sliced cloves of garlic, and a healthy pinch of salt. Combine, toss and store as above. Also improves with age.

Adjust quantities of the ingredients up or down as needed to suit amount of cabbage you’re “fermenting.”


  • add other vegetables (cucumbers, radish, scallions and carrots are commonly used)
  • add a little sugar to the brine
  • experiment with other chili blends such as Chili Garlic and Sriracha. (As with anything, read the ingredients so you know what you’re adding. Sambel Oelek and Chili Garlic, for example, have no sugar, while Sriracha does.)

Other Uses
The brining liquid makes a great marinade for chicken (and probably shrimp), after sitting for a few days to a week. See Kimchi Chicken post.

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