How to make Kimchi

How to make Kimchi

how to make kimchi

Going from something relatively unknown, kimchi has made quite the appearance in the past 2 years. If you’re new to the term, I’m going to tell you what kimchi is, why it’s good for you and how to make kimchi. 

What is kimchi?

Simply put, kimchi is a fermented cabbage dish originating in Korea. It is eaten with pretty much everything in Korea. Whenever the word ‘fermented’ gets used in food terms, I think a lot of people think, “eew”,


Beer, wine, yogurt, kombucha, sauerkraut, miso, tempeh, apple cider vinegar are all examples of fermented foods/drinks. And I’m guessing you love a few of those. 

how to make kimchi

Why is kimchi good for you?

Kimchi contains lactobacilli bacteria which is a natural probiotic bacteria formed in the fermentation process. Probiotics are known to be great for the digestive system and should thus be consumed regularly to help your gut maintain a healthy state.

“Disease starts in the gut.” I’m not sure if you have ever heard this quote. While it may not cause all diseases, it’s known that chronic metabolic diseasesdo start in the gut. 

When your gut is unhealthy, this can negatively affect other parts of your body from your skin, stomach, weight, sleep, food intolerances as well as cause auto-immune disorders.

Tips to help heal our gut

We can easily provide our gut with all it needs to stay healthy but this does mean cutting down on processed sugars and foods, managing stress, drinking enough water, sleeping more and eating probiotics and a lot more fruit and vegetables.

Including kimchi frequently is an easy and delicious way to eat your probiotics instead of spending some serious $$$ on probiotic pills.

(Psssss, if you’re thinking beer and wine must have the same probiotics don’t fool yourself or your health).  

What does Kimchi taste like?

Slightly tangy, salty and spicy. I love how kimchi has so much boldness to it. It tastes great on a sandwich, goes super well on a burger, adds a punch to stir frys and it’s delicious in sushi. It’s a super versatile condiment to use and I recommend keeping a jar or three in your fridge at all times.

How to make kimchi?

At first I thought it would be daunting to make kimchi. But it turns out it’s pretty easy and is way cheaper than store bought kimchi. At least here in the USA a small jar (350ml) will set you back $4-$6 and when a jar lasts only 2 servings it can get pricy.

If you do purchase your kimchi, check the ingredient list and make sure it doesn’t contain fish sauce or anchovy/shrimp paste. Traditional kimchi is not vegan friendly.

The 5 main steps to making kimchi are:

  1. Prepare your veggies.  I remove the bottom of the cabbage so the leaves can separate. Using a big dish or your kitchen sink, soak the napa cabbage in salty cold water for 30 minutes for a few hours. I’m never that patient so I soak mine for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Add some carrot ribbons.
  2. Prepare the “massage mix” this is the part that gives your kimchi flavor. It consists of blending apples, ginger, garlic, onion, spring onions and Korean chilli together.
  3. Save 1/2 cup of the salty water and drain the cabbage. Chop it up into pieces or keep whole, it’s up to you. 
  4. In a large bowl, massage the veggies with the spice mix. Use gloves as you’re working with chili and rubbing your eye can be a disaster. 
  5. Once combined press the mixture into a glass jar, tightly compacting it as you go along. Add some of the salty water if you need extra liquid. 
how to make kimchi

That’s pretty much it. Now you leave it out for a day or 2 depending on how hot the weather is by you and then pop it into your fridge. It keeps for a couple of months if stored in an airtight container. I use Mason jars to make mine.

Tangy, spicy and salty, this vegan take on kimchi is a delicious addition to any meal to spice it up and get your probiotics in. I love adding this to stir-fries, burgers, sandwiches, and sushi.

how to make kimchi
how to make kimchi

How to make easy Kimchi

Kimchi is not only delicious on it's own, it works so well in other recipes and is easy to make following a few simple steps. This vegan version is my favorite.
Prep Time 40 mins
1 d
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Korean
Servings 1 Liter
Calories 313 kcal


  • 1 Liter mason jar
  • Blender or food processor


  • 1 napa cabbage
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 1 inch fresh ginger (2cm)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2-3 spring onions optional
  • 2 apples Granny Smith preferably
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 1 tbsp Korean chili powder
  • 1 small onion optional


  • In a large bowl or your kitchen sink, add cold water and the 1/4 salt.
  • Remove the base of the napa cabage and soak the leaves in the salt water. Place a heavy pot or heavy cutting board over the cabbage so it stays submerged in the water.
  • Leave the cabbage to soak for at least 30minutes up to 2 hours. I usually do 30 minutes.
  • Peel carrots and you using a peeler make into ribbons.
  • Peel ginger and cut into a few tiny pieces, roughly chop the green parts of the spring onion.
  • Chop the apple into rough chunks removing the core.
  • Peel the garlic and roughly chop into a few bits.
  • In a blender or food processor add the apple, onion, ginger and garlic and pulse until a rough puree.
  • Remove cabbage from the water, place in a bowl and keep 1/2 cup of the salt water separately.
  • Pour the apple, onion, ginger, garlic mix over the cabbage leaves and add the Korean chili.
  • Add the carrots and spring onions
  • Using gloves, massage this mix into the cabbage leaves. You will notice they become softer and watery. This is what you want.
    how to make kimchi
  • Press this mixtures tightly into a Mason jar. I use my fist.
  • If there is extra space at the top, add some of the salt water, if there is enough natural 'juice' to cover the leaves at the top then no need to add the water.
  • Close the jar with the lid and leave on a counter for 1-2 days. If it's very hot 1 day is enough. If it's cooler it could take 2-3 days to ferment.


Calories based on 1 Litre jar. 
Put a cloth under the jar, sometimes the excess moisture will leak out as the kimchi ferments. 
Keeps in the refrigerator for 3 months. Mine never lasts longer than this. 
Keyword Cauliflower kimchi fried rice, Easy kimchi recipe, How to make kimchi, Kimchi, kimchi recipe, Vegan kimchi, vegan kimchi recipe

Be sure to try this kimchi in a stir fry such as this one or as a topping to these burger patties

Let me know if you give these a try by rating them below and sharing on instagram. Tag me @the_hungry_herbivore

Until next time, happy cooking 🙂

Xoxo Amy

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