Skip to main content

Mr. T’s Kimchi Recipe

Kimchi is one of those foods, in my case like limburger cheese or dim sum chicken feet that many won’t even try because they have been told they won’t like it. What a shame. Due to the lactic fermentation process this is one of the healthiest foods on earth and can be enjoyed three meals a day plus as a snack. It can be used as a garnish, in a salad or soup, over rice, with a pulled sandwich, as a sandwich or alongside those ribs, the uses are endless.

The main ingredients to kimchi are: Napa cabbage, daikon or white radish, green onions, ginger, garlic and chili pepper. A multitude of other vegetables can be used also. Fish such as squid, shrimp, oysters and anchovies can also be used. Do to my local, fresh fish are hard to obtain so I substitute with a good quality fish sauce instead which results in a wonderful product. If this is your first attempt at making this fabulous dish I suggest sticking to the main ingredients and then later fine tune it. In the end your own taste is your final guide.

The following recipe is for a mild kimchi that won’t turn people off at their first attempt. It can be eaten upon completion or set out at room temperature for two to three days to start the fermentation process then placed in a cool environment 50° to 34° until gone. Like a fine wine it will just keep getting better with age.

Napa cabbage – 5 lbs.
Daicon radish – 1.5 lbs julienned 2 inch lengths
Garlic – 6 cloves minced
Ginger – 1 oz. peeled
Green onions – 8 stalks chop diagonally
Chili powder – McCormick® Light - ½ cup
Carrots – 3 medium julienned 2 inch lengths
Fish sauce – 1 cup
Red mellow miso soy bean paste – ½ cup
Sweet rice flour – ½ cup
Sugar – white, ¼ cup
Canning salt – ½ cup

Retain one large leaf. Stand cabbage on end top side down. Cut in half, half way down then pull apart. Quarter the same way. Cut across the quarters in approx 1 inch widths. Place cut cabbage in large bowl, bucket or sink and cover with cold water. Spread salt over cabbage and let set for two hours stirring every 30 minutes. Drain and rinse well three times, allow cabbage to drain. While cabbage is soaking, make paste.

Kimchi Paste/Porridge:
Place 3 cups water and ½ cup sweet rice flour in pot or skillet over med-high heat. Stir continually until bubbles form, 4-5minutes, add ¼ cup sugar continuing to stir for 1 minute. Porridge should now be translucent, allow it to cool. While porridge is cooling, place fish sauce, ginger, garlic, miso paste and chili pepper in food processer and blend.When the porridge has cooled to room temperature, place it in a large bowl then stir in the contents from the processer. Add onion, radish and carrot to paste and stir in.

Place cabbage in a suitable container and while wearing rubber gloves (the gloves are especially important when using the hotter chili powders) thoroughly mix the kimchi paste with the cabbage. When the cabbage is well mixed, place in a glass container (I use glass gallon jars) compressing as you fill it. A potato masher works well at this stage. Fill no more than ¾ full including remaining liquids as room will be needed for a weight and expansion. Place the large leaf on top of the kimchi then add a weight to hold contents under the liquid. The kimchi may be consumed at this point or later for a more traditional product. Lid and let set at room temperature for two to three days. Then cool as mentioned before.
Hope this opens a new window in your culinary experience. Any questions please ask.
Mr. T
WARNING: This is addictive.
Last edited {1}
Original Post

Replies sorted oldest to newest

Nice write up, Mr. T. Your recipe and process is similar to the one that I've done in the past for basic Kimchi, but I haven't made it quite some time. Most of the people that I dine with (family/friends) are the ones you described in your first sentence, and I always ended up tossing a large portion of any batch I made after a few weeks. I love the stuff so in order to feed my addiction I'm lucky that I have a good Korean restaurant nearby that offers an excellent version that I purchase to take home. I love it mixed in with fried rice or as an accompaniment to smoked pork chops or ribs in a Mongolian marinade.

I did get a better response to Kakdugi, but not much.

How long do you keep the Kimchi refrigerated after fermentation, assuming you don't finish the entire batch? Also, which brand of fish sauce do you use?

Thanks for the post. It just may inspire me to make some again, though in a smaller quantity.
Excellent post. I forwarded this to the Ms. because it's very similiar to one her mom passed down to her.

tip: old spaggetti sauce jars are perfect kimchi jars. Especially if you find people to share with. Used, cleaned butter tubs are perfect for home use.

tip: Always, always open your jar over a sink.

tip: if you have an Asian friend who isn't Korean, you might make a nice trade. My wifes' kimchi has scored me many lumpia!!
The recipe I shared is a basic one. One should build on a good foundation rather than start with a complex recipe and not like it, then give up. Eventually, use what is available along with the basics adjusting to your taste. DLS,the closest to the kakduji recipe that I do is cucumber kimchi. As I have a small pickle press, it can be ready in less than an hour and it is well accepted as I don’t use much heat in it. It is also a good one to introduce the gun shy ones too. Cucumber will aid in making a very good dish, but will not keep for a long period of time like other vegetables, will get mushy in time.
As for how long will it keep? DLS, surprise, there is some in the fridge that must be ten years old. It has lost its color but not its flavor. It is not one that is shared with someone who will take a bite then push it away. I also have a miso garlic kimchi that is best eaten between three and five years of age. Another thing to keep in mind is to not discard the juice, not only is it good to drink, it is loaded with vitamins and minerals. It can be used in other dishes and is good to add to the next batch to aid as a starter.

Padre mentioning opening the jars over the sink is a good idea as pressure will build in the container and if a little full some of the contents will shall we say, ooze out. To keep this at a minimum, during primary fermentation, I use a Harsch crock which has a mote that will allow gasses out and oxygen from entering. The glass jars used all have fermentation air locks on them, the type used in wine making. These are not a necessity just a little fine tuning. I personally stay away from using plastic even the food safe plastic with high acid foods not that it is a bad thing to do, it is just my preference.

The fish sauce that is used is Squid® brand anchovy fish sauce made in Bangkok, Thailand. Interesting video: Fish sauce
I envy all of you being so close to takeouts and Asian stores. My closest large grocery store is almost one and a half hours away. The closest Asian store is in Spokane, over two and a half hours away. Will be going to Spokane this weekend to see BB King. Will do some shopping while in the city.

Hopefully somewhere I answered your questions. Have fun and enjoy.
Last edited by mrt 2
Originally posted by Vicki B:
Mr. T. Thanks so much for posting this. I was gonna ask the same question DLS did, what kind of fish sauce do you use? I currently have a Vietnamese fish sauce in my fridge, but there is a difference. I am gonna visit a large Asian market 40 min from my house and can't wait to make this!

Vicki - When shopping for fish sauce there's a few things you should look for. First, the best sauces are produced with only anchovies and come from Thailand and Vietnam. Both countries produce a few excellent brands, and a lot of crappy ones. I tend to prefer the Vietnamese sauces as, to my taste, the better ones are slightly lighter and a bit less salty than those from Thailand.

The color and consistency should be a clear amber similar to whiskey or tea, not dark and thick. Look at the label. The better Vietnamese sauces will have "Ca Com" (anchovy) on the front. The better Thai sauces have a similar designation, but I forget what it is. Check the ingredients. Premium sauces will contain only 2 ingredients, anchovy fish(es) and salt. A few second tier sauces will also add a small (1%-2%) amount of sugar. Avoid any fish sauces with the following ingredients; anchovy extract , anchovies, water, fructose, hydrolysed wheat protein, and soybean protein.

In as far as brands are concerned, I think Tra Chang Gold Label, which is aged for 2 years, is the best from Thailand. The one sauce that blows all other brands away (Thai or Viet) is Red Boat from the Vietnamese island of Phu Quoc. Like good olive oil it's considered 100% pure (anchovy fish/salt), first press, extra virgin. It's pricey compared to others, but you get what you pay for and a little goes a very long way. Retail distribution in the U.S. is limited, but it can be ordered on their website or from Amazon.

FYI, the sauce produced on Phu Quoc island is considered as the supreme Vietnamese fish sauce. There are a few small producers and most of the product remains in-country. Red Boat is the only one that I'm aware of that's exported to the U.S. When shopping, don't be deceived if you see "Phu Quoc" on a label. There are a few producers that purchase the remnants of Phu Quoc's production then ship them elsewhere such as Hong Kong for adulteration and processing.

Enjoy your shopping.
Advice from the experts! You are the best guys! thanks so much! I am gonna check the label on the vietnamese one I have and then check it out when I go to the store. I have some research to do! I love this. Oh, one more thing? I dont remember yeqrs. back, but what does this stuff do to the gastrointestonal track? Can/should I leave the house after eating this stuff? It is cabbage afterall or does fermentation take care or worsen its gasious properties
Big Grin
Tom - Funny, when I asked you how long kept your Kimchi refrigerated I had a suspicion that your reply would be in years rather than weeks or months. The taste must be very pungent. Sounds like it would be nice partnered with Limburger.

I checked my basic Kimchi recipe's ingredient list and it's almost identical to yours. The minor differences are: Yours includes carrots and miso soy bean paste and mine doesn't. Mine includes white onion and Buchu (Asian chives), and yours doesn't. You use McCormicks Light chile powder and I use Korean Red Pepper Powder (Tongren brand-coarse). As a substitute for the powder I sometimes use Korean Hot Chile Pepper Paste/Gochujang (Sunchang/CJ Haechandle brands or homemade). Otherwise, everything else is a match.

All of the brands mentioned are top notch. If I need fine Korean Red Pepper Powder I use Singsong or simply run the coarse powder in a spice grinder. My guess is that you probably can't find them in Trout Creek, but they're all available online from Amazon and others. You might also be able to find them on your journey to Spokane. BTW, enjoy the concert. I've seen BB a few times but it's been quite awhile. He's got to be close to 90 years old. I guess the thrill is still here.

When I get a chance, I'll post my Kakdugi (Daikon Radish Kimchee) recipe as well as the recipe for homemade Gochujang.
Originally posted by Padrefan98:
All this Kimchi talk has me craving bulgogi, kalbi a big plate of white sticky rice with a heaping helping of kimchi on top!

I've been thinking along the same lines. I'm on the Florida Gulf Coast presently, and you're not going to find any Korean food around here.
Last edited by dls
Just checked and in the back of the cabinet was a partial bottle of Vietnamese fish sauce Nuac Mam, anchovie and salt made from extract. Good but evidently not one of the best. One of the perils of living here.
Vicky, as dls well knows, the “First in first out rule” doesn’t necessarily apply here. The lactic acid produced in fermented food is very gentle on your gastrointestinal tract as it aids in food digestion. I have friends who suffer from severe heart burn. Eating fermented and pickled foods of all kinds my whole life; I’ve yet to have any heart burn. After wondering how I can eat the stuff I do, they are now beginning to enjoy it themselves without the aftereffects. If you are worried about sounding like a tugboat in harbor, it will depend on the amount as well as the age of your kimchi. The younger it is the more you may give advance warning of your presence. I personally don’t worry about it, but hell that’s part of my personality.

dls, yes the oldest kimchi is mildly pungent with a pleasing mellow heat. Less than a half pint left. You know, I can’t think of a thing that doesn’t pair well with Limburger. I only use the McCormick Light when making mild kimchi. When making it for myself, I use a much hotter chili powder. I also get dried chili peppers from the Vietnamese woman who has the store where I shop and pulverize them like you.
I use fresh chives now that spring is here (snow yesterday). Some other ingredients include bok choy, leeks, cauliflower, broccoli, white cabbage and red radishes. The shopkeeper uses Asian pears or apples in hers. I also make a quick kimchi using sauerkraut as a base if I need some in a hurry. Looking forward to getting your Kakdugi recipe.

Getting an additional refrigerator for the garage next week. No freezer compartment taking up valuable kraut and kimchi space in this one.
Yes, we are looking forward to seeing BB. We missed seeing Elvis in Fort Wayne.

Slim, money well spent. I make my own jars by drilling a hole in jar lid and gluing an air lock to it. 1 dollar per jar.
Mr. T - started my shopping for the kimchi I found Goya rice flour but not sweet should I adjust the sugar in the recipe a little? also, cant find canning salt. What is the difference between canning salt and a sea salt or kosher salt. also couldn't find mc cormick light.chili pwdr. Should I just use a little less regular. Thanks, sorry for all the ?s but I like to follow a recipe as close as possible the first time.
The sweet rice flour may be difficult to find if not shopping in oriental stores. Bob's Red Mill does put it out. May check a store that carries that product. Your Goya will work though. No need to add extra sugar. It will give you a chance to compare later on.

The difference in the salts mainly is the coarseness. Canning salt is very fine(dissolves quickly). Kosher is a coarser salt mainly used in cooking. Sea salt may be of any coarseness and color and contains more minerals. Two things to remember here. Always use non iodized salt when fermenting as the iodine in the salt will kill the beneficial bacteria we are after. Rather than measuring salt by volume measure by weight. This way the salt content will be constant regardless of type of salt. A half cup of canning salt weighs 134 g. If you have no scales and are using Kosher, round your half cup, you will be close.

What ever red pepper you are using. Add a little at a time and adjust to your taste when making the paste. You will be just fine.

Any more questions, please ask.

Add Reply

Link copied to your clipboard.