Napa Cabbage Kimchi

배추 김치, BaeChu GimChi

There are many different kinds of kimchi, and Koreans eat kimchi everyday. There are even songs about kimchi such as “I Can’t Live Without Kimchi.” Moms love to have a good kimchi refrigerator. Today I will post the most common kimchi, “napa cabbage kimchi.” Kimchi is a dish of fermented vegetables with various seasonings. It is a traditional dish in Korea.

Yield: 1 Gallon

Short Korean Lesson

  • SutGaRak (숟가락) = Spoon
  • JeotGaRak (젓가락) = Chopsticks

Video Instructions

Main Ingredients

Brine Ingredients

  • 10 Cups Water
  • ½ Cup Coarse Sea Salt (For Salt Water)
  • ⅔ Cup Coarse Sea Salt (For Sprinkling)

Sauce Ingredients

  • 2 Cups Water + (3 Tbsp Water and 3 Tbsp Sweet Rice Flour)
  • ¼ Sweet Apple + ¼ Onion
  • 1¼ Cup Red Pepper Powder for Kimchi
  • 1 to 2 Tbsp Sugar
  • ¼ to ⅓ Cup Fish Sauce
  • 3 Tbsp Minced Garlic
  • ½ Tbsp Minced Ginger
  • ½ Tbsp Salt
  • 2 Tbsp Sesame Seeds



Remove any bad parts from the napa cabbage.


Divide the napa cabbage into 4 pieces. Some people divide it half, but I prefer 4 pieces, since 4 pieces are easier to put in a jar and cut later.


In a huge bowl, combine 10 cups of water and ½ cup coarse sea salt to make salt water. Stir until the salt is dissolved.


Prepare ⅔ cup coarse sea salt. Divide the salt evenly for 4 pieces of cabbage. Sprinkle the salt inside each leaf. Put more salt on the thicker parts than the thinner parts. This step is important to make kimchi. The right amount of salt and time to marinate the cabbage will change the results of your kimchi.


Dip the cabbage in the salt water. Put some heavy thing (like a big pan full of water) on top of the cabbage to keep them under the brine. That will help the cabbage to get salted better. Leave it for 4 to 5 hours until the cabbage leaves become a little soft.


Rinse the salted cabbage twice in water.


Drain the water, and set it aside for about 2 hours until more of the water drips out: or you can squeeze the water out.


Mix 3 Tbsp of sweet rice flour and 3 Tbsp of water.


In a pan add the mixture and 2 cups of water. Boil it until it makes bubbles on medium. Keep stirring it so that it will not stick to the bottom. It took about 10 minutes for mine.


Cut the radish very thinly into 2-inch lengths.


Cut 5 green onions the same length as the radish.


Cut the garlic chives into 1½-inch Pieces.


Cut 2 hot peppers thinly and slice ¾ of an onion thinly.


Grind ¼ of an onion and ¼ of a sweet apple.


In a big bowl, add the rice flour mixture, 1¼ cup of red pepper powder, and 2 cups of radish. Mix everything together.


Add the rest of the ingredients: chopped onion, hot peppers, garlic chives, green onion, onion & apple mixture, 1 to 2 Tbsp of sugar, ¼ to ⅓ cups of fish sauce, 3 Tbsp of minced garlic, ½ Tbsp of minced ginger, and 2 Tbsp of sesame seeds. Mix all of the ingredients well. Taste it and salt it to your tastes. I added ½ Tbsp of salt.


Spread some of the mixture into each leaf of the cabbage. Make sure all of the surfaces get covered in the sauce.


Wow! At last, it is done! 😀


I prefer to use a glass jar to keep kimchi since the kimchi has a strong smell. It is easier to remove the smell from glass jars than from plastic containers, and glass helps to contain the smell. 😉 Keep the kimchi at room temperature for about a day, and then put it in the refrigerator. You can eat kimchi before it is fermented, but it tastes best when it is properly fermented. (In about 1 week, depending on your refrigerator’s temperature.) Even old (sour) kimchi can be a delicious dish if you cook it and make: fried kimchi rice, kimchi dumplings, kimchi jeon, Kimchi soup, and etc. Enjoy! 😀

Tips for delicious kimchi: *^^*

  • Good ingredients are important, especially the Red Pepper Powder and Napa Cabbage.
  • Getting the right amount of salt for marinating the napa cabbage in the salt water is very important. You don’t want the kimchi to be too salty, but if it doesn’t have enough salt, it becomes sour too quickly, and it produces too much juice later. Use coarse sea salt, not normal salt.
  • Depending on your personal tastes, it is good to add raw oysters or salted shrimp (SaeUJeot) also.


  1. Amaneh says

    I really love your tutorials and recipes and have saved many to make later. One question though: What can I use instead of rice flour, since I dont have it. Can I use regular flour? Or is there another option?

  2. Sally says

    Done my very first tried kimchi, but only today that i have learned that indian chilli powder is not good when i tastemy kimchi, yeah it is too spicy and think that i cant tolerate to eat it.

    • says

      Hi Sally,
      Oh..yes I heard that Indian chilli powder is really spicy. I’m sorry that you didn’t get success for your first kimchi. but I’m sure that you can make delicious kimchi next time. 😉 Don’t give up..and try it again.. hope you can get right kind of hot pepper powder then. Thanks

  3. Anna says

    Hello Aeri!

    I have my cabbages salting in the water and just when I was going to make the sauce, I realized that I have no rice flour! All the shops are closed, so I’ll have to wait until tomorrow to get it.
    My question is, can I keep it in the salt water until tomorrow morning(it is late evening now) or should I wash it and just let it wait in the fridge for tomorrow?

    • says

      hi Anna,
      Sorry for late answer. If this happen again next time.. what I will do is, I will finish salting the cabbage and then drain the cabbage and leave that way.. (if you can keep them in nice cool area.. if you can not find the spot.. you can keep them in the refrigerator too..) then the next day, you can make the sauce and mix the sauce with the salted napa cabbage.

  4. poorni says

    Hi aeri

    Will the taste change if I omit the fish sauce or is there any vegetarian substitute for that?
    Last time I made kimchi I omitted fish sauce and also dint know where to find Korean pepper powder so I with what I normally used, Indian pepper powder. It was so spicy and I dint quite liked the taste :(
    So this time I want to make as perfectly as i can.
    Hope to hear from you soon.

    • says

      hi poorni,
      Sorry for late reply. You can omitte the fish sauce.. (it is better with it for flavor and fermantation process though.but if you can not get it.. you have to skip it..).. yes.. indian pepper powder is not right type for kimchi. Thanks

  5. bibish says

    thank you for this lovely dish I bought most the ingredients I need only fish oil I m in UK I ll try to find it in the Asian stores and ll try at last the kimshi. thank you again.

  6. GreenT says

    Hi aeri,

    thank you so much for the recipe. I’ve tried to make homemade kimchi several times, but either it was too spicy, too salty or too plain. This time I followed your recipe until the end except for the amount of chili which i reduced to half. Its been two weeks now and it is perfect for eating, sour and spicy, not too salty and very good in taste. The best recipe I’ve ever tried! Though the first bite is still a little bit spicy 😀

    There is still one question: Is it common to have a little tingling feeling while eating? Will it become stronger the more time passes?

    Thank you!
    Looking forward to more korean recipes! 😉

    • says

      hi GreenT,
      I’m glad to hear that you liked this recipe. :) good job.. that tingling feeling means.. sour ?? a little bitter ?? oops sorry ^^:; I guess you mean.. bitter.. if so.. yes.. the bitter flavor comes from the cabbage.. when it gets fermented well.. it will be gone. thanks

  7. py says

    hey aeri, do you have any tips for making kimchi that remains crunchy and not-too-sour after awhile?
    i usually let mine ferment overnight since i live in a tropical country. but after 1 week in the fridge it turns quite sour and soft, so i usually just use them for jiggaes and fried rice as it is quite sour to be eaten alone.
    i’ve had my fair share of kimchi when i was in korea(1month) and i really love eating kimchi on its own but mine is really too sour for my liking. do you think i should just let it ferment slowly in my fridge instead of at room temperature(abt 30-32deg celcius)? sorry for so many questions! heheh i really love korean food too much! <3

    • says

      hi py,
      Since you said you live in a tropical country.. that explains a lot.. What i can suggest is make smaller portion of kimchi that you can finish before it becomes too sour to eat.. and yes.. reduce the time for fermenting overnight… when I say.. keep the fresh kimchi outside overnight…it means.. room temperature.. not hot temperature.. maybe you can leave outside for few hours (about 2 hours) and then keep it in the refrigerator. Hope this works. ^^

  8. homemadefood says


    I am wondering why the kimchi molded after a few months in the refrigerator even though I used glass jar, but the lid is metal not plastic.

    • says

      hi homemadefood,
      Actually.. it’s not common but that can happen.. if that mold color is white..(that kind of white mold is not harmful in our body.. but if your kimchi got black or blue mold then.. you can not eat that). it can be bacuse your kimchi was not covered with the broth fully.. or your kimchi container lid was not sealed well.. so your kimchi got air .. so got some kind of reaction.. so again..if it’s the white mold.. and if it’s just top part.. remove that kimchi and you can eat rest of your kimchi.. some people wash that kimchi with white mold and cook and eat.. for kimchi fried rice..kimchi stew.. etc… Hope this helps. thanks ^^

  9. Hseoyeon says

    Hi, I made a batch of kimchi and I think my salt wasn’t enough. Therefore it become sour very quickly and produced lots of water (maybe I didn’t drained it dry enuf too). But is it ok to eat it still? How long can they be kept for if they turn sour very quickly? I used them for kimchi jigae and kimchi fried rice tho.
    Hope to hear from you soon

    • says

      hi Hseoyeon,
      Yes you are right.. if its’ not enough salt, the kimchi get sour quicker. You can eat kimchi for several months.. some people really like sour kimchi.. if it’s too sour to eat plain.. as you mentioned you can use for kimchi jjigae, fried rice, or jeon.. Thanks.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *