Simple Napa Cabbage Kimchi

February 11, 2019
simple napa cabbage kimchi

There is really nothing better than the classic kick that this simple Napa Cabbage Kimchi adds to any Korean or Asian dish. This tangy side/topping has been a favorite of mine for years, and it turns out that it’s extremely easy to make your own.

I hate to admit this, but the first time I made Kimchi, I did not read the directions. To my detriment, I assumed that the process of making kimchi would be just like making sauerkraut.

It did not end well, and the result was a big pile of mush that went straight in the garbage can. Needless to say, it’s very important to follow the steps below.

Brine the Cabbage

Start by dissolving your salt in a few cups of water and set it aside.

Cut your cabbage into strips, and place them in a large bowl.

Add the salt water, and fill the bowl the rest of the way with water. Allow it to soak for 2-3 hours.

Simple napa cabbage kimchi

Preparing the Kimchi

When your napa cabbage is done soaking, drain the water and set it aside. Next, place your garlic and ginger in a food processor and pulse until it is finely minced.

Simple napa cabbage kimchi

I love this part because of the aromatics! The fragrance of fresh ginger and garlic make my the whole kitchen smell amazing.

Place the ginger and garlic mixture in a small bowl and combine with sugar, korean chili powder, and fish sauce to form a nice thick paste.

Simple napa cabbage kimchi

Transfer your paste, green onions, and grated daikon radish into the bowl with the cabbage.

Simple napa cabbage kimchi

Now you are ready to make your simple napa cabbage kimchi a reality, but you will need gloves for this next part! DO NOT SKIP THE GLOVES! I’ve learned my lesson on this far to many times and ended up with scorched hands. Trust me on this one, it’s not fun.

A Day at the Spa for Kimchi

Once you have some gloves on, take your hands and massage and knead all of the ingredients together, squeezing the juices from the vegetables. Continue to massage and mix until you have a generous amount of liquid (brine) at the bottom of the bowl.

Simple napa cabbage kimchi

And Now We Wait…

Now that you have a decent amount of brine, begin to pack your kimchi into your jar or fermentation vessel of your choosing. Be sure that you pack the kimchi down below the liquid so that all of the vegetables are submerged.

Place a lid loosely on top of your jar so that small amounts of air can escape if needed.

Simple napa cabbage kimchi

Now your simple napa cabbage kimchi is ready to ferment. Allow to sit for 2-4 days at room temperature, out of direct sunlight. You can take a bite at day two and see if it is sour enough. If you prefer it to be more pungent, allow it to sit a day or so longer.

Once your desired flavor is reached, your kimchi can be stored in the refrigerator for 3-4 months.

This simple napa cabbage kimchi recipe is full of beneficial probiotics and is so easy to make. You can enjoy it on a number of Korean or Asian dishes. I also like to take a couple of fork fulls as a snack from time to time.

Simple Napa Cabbage Kimchi

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By Curie Ganio Serves: 15-20
Prep Time: 20 min Cooking Time: 3-4 Days

Kimchi is a traditional Korean side dish that goes well with Bulgogi and other Korean dishes. Kimchi is also packed full of healthy bacteria.


  • 2 Large Heads of Napa Cabbage
  • 1 (2-3 in) Piece of Ginger Root (peeled)
  • 1 Bulb of Garlic (cloves separated and peeled)
  • 3 C Daikon Radish (peeled and grated)
  • 1 Bunch of Green Onions (cut into 1-2 in sections)
  • 1/4-1/2 Korean Chili Powder (depending on your spice preference)
  • 1/4 C Fish Sauce
  • 1 Tbsp Sugar (optional)
  • 1 C Sea Salt
  • Water



In a large bowl, dissolve the salt in about 3 cups of water and set aside.


Wash and then slice the napa cabbage into 1 in thick strip working your way from the top of the leaves, down to the core.


Place sliced napa cabbages in the bowl with the salt water, and fill the bowl the rest of the way with more water until the cabbage can be fully submerged.


Set aside, and allow to sit for 2-3 hours.


Place garlic and ginger in a food processor and pulse until everything has been minced into small pieces.


Combine ginger, ginger, chili powder, and fish sauce to form a thick red paste.


Drain the water from the soaked cabbage, and combine with the paste, green onions, and grated daikon radish.


Put some cooking gloves on (so that you don't burn your hands with the chili powder), and massage all of the ingredients into the cabbage.


Continue massaging, kneading, and mixing the cabbage until most of the juices have been released to form a generous brine.


Place ingredients in a 2-quart jar or another fermentation vessel, and weigh the vegetables down so that they are submerged beneath the brine.


Loosely place a lid on the jar, and allow to sit at room temperature for 2-4 days or when it appeals to your taste preference.


Enjoy on Korean barbeque, other Korean Dishes, or as a snack.

If you enjoyed this post and found it helpful, please like and share with your friends so they can enjoy it too!

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