Napa Cabbage Kimchi (Kimchee)

Based on Christine Gallary’s recipe.

Makes 1 Gallon of Spectacular Kimchi!

Equipment Needed:

  • Large plastic container with lid (big enough to hold all the cabbage)
  • 1 Gallon Wide-mouth glass jar
  • 1 Lid (solid)
  • 1 Lid (with air-lock bubbler)


2 Small (or 1 very large) Napa Cabbage. You need enough to completely fill the glass jar. This is generally about 1.8 kg (4 pounds). After salting and draining, it will have lost some volume, which leaves enough room for the other ingredients.
250 Grams Kosher Salt
500 Grams Daikon radish, peeled and cut into 2 “x 1/4″ x 1/4” sticks.
2 small  Bunches Scallions, ragged green ends and roots trimmed, cut into 1-inch pieces. Use both white and green parts
160 mL (2/3 C) Korean red pepper powder (gochugaru). Look for 고춧가루 on the bag. This makes it about as spicy as hot chicken wings. If you want it milder or hotter, adjust to your taste.

Note that gochugaru is not the same as other crushed red pepper you might have. It’s milder and smokier. Other red pepper powder will probably leave you surprised and disappointed.

20ml (4 tsp) Finely minced Korean salted shrimp (saeujeot). Look for 새우젓 on the jar. It will be in the refrigerated case.
120ml (1/2 cup) Fish Sauce
120ml (1/2 cup) Grated or finely chopped ginger
12-14 Cloves Minced garlic
15ml (1T) Granulated sugar


  • Peel off any dirty or damaged outer leaves, then cut cabbage in half lengthwise, then in 2″ wide slices, discarding the root.
  • Put the leaves in a large plastic container with a lid, alternating layers of salt and cabbage. Add water to just cover, then put a few plates on top of the cabbage to keep the leaves underwater and put lid on container.
  • Let sit 24 hours at room temperature.
  • Dump out salt water, rinse cabbage well with fresh water and dry in a salad spinner. If you leave too much water, the kimchi “sauce” will be weak.
  • Wear gloves! The this is spicy and you don’t want to mix this with bare hands then rub your eyes.
  • Add everything but the cabbage to a bowl and mix very well with your hands.
  • Take this mixture and add it to the cabbage bowl and mix well. make sure each leaf is coated.
  • Pack into a gallon jug, cover with air-lock (bubbler) lid and let sit at room temperature for a few days until it tastes like you want it to.
  • When you’re happy with it, replace the air-lock lid with solid lid and refrigerate.

Question:  “Where does the bacteria come from? Why do I get kimchi and not “rotted vegetables”?

Answer: “Glad you asked! The anerobic environment, red pepper, and beneficial bacteria initially present mostly in the garlic suppress the “bad” bacteria and take over the fermenting environment.”

More information

Makes 1 US Gallon