Napa Cabbage Kimchi




The spicy and tangy flavor is always a signature for kimchi.  This unique strong flavor comes from most of the ingredients: garlic, daikon radish, leek, napa cabbage, and bright red hot peppers.

Jie, one of my best friends from graduate school, posted a picture of her homemade Korean kimchi a few weeks ago.  As soon as I saw the napa cabbage totally covered in red peppers, I wanted to grab a bowl of rice to cool down my mouth.  All right, temptation makes motivation.   At that point, I knew making some kimchi would be my next project.  I haven’t made any for a while. I guess that was just the right time to see her post.  Thanks, Jie!!

Making napa cabbage kimchi doesn’t require a lot of skills.  Oh, I should say if you know how to cut and mix, you should be able to do it.  Is that simple?  I got all the ingredients at my local Chinese grocery store.  There are many choices of Korean hot red pepper; they are normally a very fine powder.  However, this time I decided to use crushed red pepper flakes.  I used my mini grinder to grind part of the flakes into fine powder.  This way I can actually see the pepper pieces themselves on those napa cabbage leaves or daikon radish; this makes the dish more appealing.


ingredients and steps for making kimchi

I used to soak the chopped napa cabbage in brine water for at least 10 hours, that’s the first step in most kimchi recipes.  Well, I said I like to experiment with different ways to make the recipe, not only easy and simple to follow, but also taste better.  Instead of the soaking step, directly rubbing salt on the napa cabbage has become a time and salt saver.  After letting the salt coated cabbage stand for one hour, I can then move on to the next step.  Also, this way I use much less salt because I don’t have to dissolve salt in water to make brine water; the pure salt bath makes marinating more efficient.  How about that?  After mixing all the ingredients in a large bowl, I transferred them into a canning jar with a lid attached to an airlock system.  Then, just let the mixtures ferment at room temperature for 6 days.   I know you would like to have some right now, but the 6 days is worth the wait.

kimchi-fermant in jar

fermentation of kimchi in canning jars

This kimchi is full of flavor.  It can be used in many dishes, such as a roasted tofu sandwich, kimchi fried rice, or stir-fry vegetables.  The strong flavor from kimchi will contribute nicely to your dishes and your taste buds.


6 days later, it is read to taste! 

Napa Cabbage Kimchi
Prep Time
1 hr 30 mins
Total Time
1 hr 30 mins
Tools: knife and cutting board; measuring cup; a large mixing bowl; mini grinder or coffee grinder; glass jar or container with lid; gloves for mixing vegetables; colander; airlock system for fermentation(optional); blender
Cuisine: Asian
Servings: 3 quarts
Author: Light Orange Bean
  • 1 large napa cabbage approximate 2 lbs
  • 1 small daikon radish approximate 11 oz
  • 1 small leek
  • 2 medium size apples cored and quartered
  • 1 tbsp sliced ginger
  • 2 tbsp sliced garlic
  • 4 cloves
  • 4 dates
  • 10 roasted almonds optional
  • ¼ cup salt
  • 4 tbsp crushed chili pepper
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce optional if you are vegan
  • ½ cup water
  1. Cut napa cabbage lengthwise into quarters and remove the root end. Then cut crosswise into 2-inch pieces. Place in a large mixing bowl and massage the cabbage with salt evenly (please wear gloves to do this step). Cover with lid or plastic wrap and let it stand for 1 hour till the cabbage becomes wilted, squeeze excess water out of cabbage.
  2. Cut leek and daikon radish lengthwise into 2-inch pieces. Chop dates and almonds into small pieces.
  3. In a blender add apples, ginger, garlic, and water, then blend until it is smooth.
  4. In a mini grinder grind 3 tablespoons of crushed chili pepper to fine powder.
  5. Combine all ingredients together and mix well. Transfer to a clean canning jar or other glass container. Leave extra space on top for expansion during fermentation. Cover with lid-airlock system tightly. If you don’t have an air-lock system, just cover with airtight lid, then release the built-up pressure from fermentation when necessary.
  6. Keep the jar at room temperature for 6 days, then store in refrigerator.
Recipe Notes

1. It is preferable for the container used in fermentation to be airtight, but not absolutely necessary. Canning jars and lids will work for this recipe.
2. Containers need to be grease and oil free.

Napa Cabbage Kimchi


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