Step-by-Step Homemade Kimchi Recipe • Heartbeet Kitchen (2024)

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Iam a Bohemian girl, through and through. My ancestors came from theCzech/Slovakia area and traveled to Ellis Island long before my time tosow their roots in the wonderful United States. They came from a placecalled “Paa Town”, so when they arrived here in the US and were asked asurname, they removed town and went with Paa. I sure do get a lot ofquestions about my last name….it is very unique. If I get married someday, my plan is to change my middle name to Paa so I am able to carry itwith me forever. I grew up in New Ulm, a small, full fledged Germantown along the Minnesota River in southern Minnesota. It surely is abeautiful place that is packed with history – Hermann the German, The Glockenspiel, Faschinand Schell’s Brewerythe second oldest family run brewery in the United States! As a littlegirl you could often find me wearing a drindl and requesting just aplate of sauerkraut for dinner, maybe a couple of my grandma’s pillowysoft potato dumplings as well. I am still in love with sauerkraut as anadult and recently made my own through lacto-fermentation for the firsttime. It is so yummy and full of probiotics! I even find myself eatingit for breakfast some days.

My adventures in fermenting have not stopped there. With all thebeautiful cabbages and asian vegetables overflowing at the farmer’smarket, I decided I wanted to try and make kimchi. Kimchi is a theKorean version of sauerkraut, a very spicy condiment with a basic baseof cabbage, garlic, salt, peppers. It is loaded with vitamins A, B, andC, along with healthy bacteria (lactobacilli). I looked through severaldifferent versions online before I began, and even asked a few of theAsian vendors at the market for some tips. I found this websiteto have an excellent video on the process of making kimchi! Once I feltlike I had enough knowledge to create my own kimchi, I gathered all theveggies and the madness began!

Here is the step-by-step recipe for homemade kimchi:

1. I gathered about 6 1/2 lbs. of napa cabbage and one large daikonradish. Core the napa cabbage just like a regular cabbage. Cut in halflengthwise, then in half again so you have four quarters, then removethe core from the bottom of each quarter. This picture is the napacabbage chopped into about 1 to 1 1/2 in pieces and the daikon radishjulienned. As you can see, kimchi has a much chunkier texture comparedto sauerkraut.

2. Place into large bowl that you will have enough room to cover withbrine and submerge the mixture. Dissolve 4-5 tablespoons of sea saltinto about 10 cups of filtered water to create your brine. Pour over
cabbage and daikon, then press down with plate that barely fits insidecontainer so that brine rises above mixture. I used a heavy pot filledwith water to keep the plate in place and the mixture fully covered.

3. Let this rest for about 8-12 hours. In the meantime, I julienned 5carrots and 1 green pepper and thinly sliced 2 leeks including greenparts.

4. To make the paste above I pureed the following in a food processor:

-4 cloves of garlic
-3/4 tablespoon of dried, ground alpeppo pepper
-1 1/2 tablespoons of freshly grated ginger
-1 tablespoon sugar
-2 tablespoons gluten-free soy sauce or tamari (which is naturally gf)
-1/4 cup filtered water

5. Once I had let the cabbage/daikon mixture rest in brine for about12 hours I drained all of the brine off into a separate container tokeep in case I needed a little extra after packing the jars. Then Isqueezed all of the brine out of the mixture. To this I added theadditional veggies that I had chopped.

6. Then for the fun part – I poured the paste on top of the mixtureand thoroughly worked it in, coating every inch of it! It is a good ideato wear rubber gloves for this part because of the strength of thepeppers.

7. Finally tightly pack into a crock or glass jars (I like to use THESE) so the brine risesabove the top of the kimchi and put cover on. If you are not gettingenough brine from pressing the kimchi down, feel free to add some of thebrine you drained off.

8. Let ferment on the counter for about 1-2 days, (if roomtemperature is around 70 degrees F), depending on how you like it totaste. Some people put it in the refrigerator right away because theylike a milder version, however you will not get any of the probioticcomponents by doing this. I taste mine every 12 hours or so to make sureI like how it is coming along. Be careful when opening the jar thoughbecause the live bacteria will cause lots of bubbles and fizz!

9. Once the kimchi meets your taste standards, place in refrigerator,where it will last 4-6 months and continue to slowly ferment.

Kimchi is great as a small side dish or condiment on a tasty burger. Need other inspirations to how to use it? Check out these kimchi recipes,everything from kimchi pancakes to fried rice. The nicething about this recipe is you can really adapt it to include whateveryour favorite Asian veggies are and modify the spice level to yourliking. The only things that are a must are having the right cabbage andat least one root vegetable in the mixture. Let your creative juicesflow!

this blog is supported by affiliate amazon links, which i may make a small portion from if you decide to purchase.

Step-by-Step Homemade Kimchi Recipe • Heartbeet Kitchen (2024)


How long does homemade kimchi need to ferment? ›

Kimchi ferments at room temperature in only 1-2 days or more slowly in the refrigerator. For safety, kimchi should be stored refrigerated and is best eaten within 1 week, as the quality of kimchi deteriorates with longer fermentation.

Is it cheaper to make your own kimchi? ›

Making your own is so much cheaper than store-bought kimchi. This recipe makes around 4 x 500ml jars depending on the size of your cabbage. Homemade vegan kimchi can be adapted to your taste. It's really easy once you learn how.

Why do you soak cabbage in salt water for kimchi? ›

Once the cabbage is all quartered, you have to season it and remove most of its water content, which will help to concentrate the kimchi seasoning and make the vegetable more pliable; simply salting the cabbage accomplishes both of these goals.

How is traditional kimchi made? ›

  1. Place cabbage and radish into a large colander. ...
  2. Combine onion, garlic, ginger, and rice vinegar in a blender. ...
  3. Transfer drained cabbage to a large bowl. ...
  4. Transfer kimchi to sterilized airtight containers and refrigerate for three days before serving.
Apr 20, 2023

Does homemade kimchi go bad? ›

For long-term storage of kimchi, just keep the vegetables submerged in the brine, and watch out for visible fuzzy mold on top. So long as the surface of the kimchi isn't allowed to dry out and grow mold, kimchi does not go bad. In fact, I've aged my own homemade kimchi for two years and it only got better and better.

Can kimchi become too fermented? ›

Kimchi spoilage and over-fermentation

It will continue to ferment at a cool temperature. If kimchi over-ferments, it will have a very vinegary odor and taste. It is not pleasant to eat raw, so it is often used for soups and stews. If any fermentation gets soft and slimy, then it is a sign of spoilage.

What vegetables to put in kimchi? ›

*The beauty of kimchi is you can use any vegetables you have on hand. They can be either fresh or on the softer side. Here are some of our favourites: nappa cabbage, carrots, green onions, cauliflower and bok choy.

Should kimchi ferment in the dark? ›

Cap with an airlock lid and place in a cool, dark place. Ferment for 5-10 days, remove lid, weight and follower. If it has a pH of 4 and/or tastes tangy it is done. Add a solid storage lid and store in the refrigerator.

Does kimchi taste better with age? ›

as it ages, it really becomes mellow as well. to what it will taste like. the appearance of kimchi changes over time. happen with smell and taste.

What makes kimchi taste better? ›

The use of bold seasonings like gochugaru and, in some regions, salted seafood, offer additional layers of complexity to the overall taste of the kimchi.

Does kimchi keep you thin? ›

Researchers found that kimchi helped people lose weight by boosting their metabolism. They attribute this to the probiotic bacteria in kimchi. These bacteria assist in breaking down food and extracting more energy from it. Furthermore, kimchi is rich in fiber, which may induce satiety after eating it.

Should kimchi be submerged in brine? ›

Maintenance: This will keep for months on end in the fridge (as long as it is submerged in the brine) and will continue to ferment very slowly, getting more and more flavorful. Feel free to remove the cabbage leaf and just press kimchi down under the brine, after each use.

Is it better to brine kimchi wet or dry? ›

Many kimchi recipes call for a two-step brine: First, a short dry brine in which you rub the vegetables with salt to help break down, soften, and open them up. This makes them more amenable to soaking in flavors during the second stage — a long wet brine in a solution that's roughly as salty as seawater.

Does kimchi need fish sauce? ›

What is Kimchi? Kimchi is a fermented, salty, spicy Korean condiment made from cabbage and a variety of seasonings. While traditional kimchi recipes call for fish sauce, we have officially created this delicious vegan version that you will love!

What is the fermentation process of kimchi? ›

Kimchi is fermented by anaerobic halophilic lactic acid bacteria. During the fermentation process, lactic acid bacteria produce organic acids and bacteriocin, which suppress the growth of harmful bacteria and impart a unique flavor to kimchi [4].

What are the raw materials for kimchi? ›

Kimchi is a Korean traditional fermented vegetable made from Chinese cabbage (beachu), radish, green onion, red pepper powder, garlic, ginger, and fermented seafood (jeotgal), which is traditionally made at home and served as a side dish at meals.

What is the fermenting process? ›

Fermentation is a process in which sugars are transformed into a new product through chemical reactions carried out by microorganisms. Since ancient times, humans have taken advantage of the natural fermentation process to develop many products, including foods, medicines, and fuels.


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