Traditional Napa Cabbage Kimchi


"Fermented cabbage is the most common kind, but kimchi is actually a pickling technique, so you can make it with any vegetable," explains Marja Vongerichten. "Every korean household has a different recipe: Some use pears, others, raw shrimp or oysters." This classic recipe includes napa cabbage, ginger and garlic.

Traditional Napa Cabbage Kimchi
Photo: © Michael Turek
Active Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
2 hrs
3 quarts


  • 2 large heads napa cabbage (3 1/4 pounds each)—halved, cored and cut into 2-inch pieces

  • 2/3 cup kosher salt

  • 10 garlic cloves, halved

  • 1/2 small onion, chopped

  • One 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped

  • 1/4 cup sugar

  • 1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons Asian fish sauce

  • 1/2 pound daikon, peeled and cut into matchsticks

  • 1 bunch scallions, cut into 2-inch lengths

  • 3/4 cup gochugaru (Korean coarse red pepper powder); see Note


  1. In each of 2 very large bowls, layer the cabbage with the salt. Let stand for 45 minutes. Toss the cabbage well and let stand for 45 minutes longer.

  2. Fill a sink with cold water. Swirl the cabbage in it to remove the salt; drain and repeat. Drain the cabbage well, lightly pat dry with paper towels and transfer to a very large bowl.

  3. In a mini food processor, combine the garlic, onion, ginger and sugar and puree. Add the fish sauce and process until blended.

  4. Add the daikon and scallions to the cabbage and toss. Add the garlic mixture and the red pepper powder and toss thoroughly. Pack the cabbage into three 1-quart jars. Press plastic wrap on the surface of the kimchi and put the caps on loosely. Let stand at room temperature for 3 days, until the cabbage is tangy and bubbling. Store in the refrigerator.

Make Ahead

The kimchi can be refrigerated for up to 6 months.


Korean red pepper paste and powder are available online at

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