So many Asian cuisines, so little time!
Our love for Asian food knows no bounds – Japanese, Chinese, Thai, and especially Korean. What stands out most are the different layers of flavors used in each dish. It’s like a journey in each bowl. Plus, everything can be made spicy, fitting our personal preferences for foods with a nice kick.
I must admit, I’m a newbie when it comes to kimchi. It’s an acquired taste, after all, and I’m not a huge fan of things that are pickled or fermented. I’m getting used to it though and I must admit that I am starting to really crave it occasionally! I’ve found that in order to really appreciate a new food, like fermented kimchi, you gotta make it! Once you take the time and effort into creating a dish, it’s very unlikely you won’t like it. You will understand the food more and what goes into getting to that perfect final product. Every mother loves her child, right? Foods I once disliked quickly became my favorites after I learned how to prepare them. Liver was a nightmare for me but after frying it up with onion, garlic, and red wine, I fell in love with it. Maybe it was the excuse to cook with wine… but I liked it either way! So get your hands dirty and start making those foods you are wary of- your palate will instantly expand!
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Once I decided that kimchi needed to be something I enjoyed, my experiment in the kitchen began. I was wary of fermented foods for a long time but decided to give it a shot. After all, what could go wrong? In addition, cabbage began growing on me anyway ever since we perfected our Apple Slaw recipe and I really enjoyed our Crack Slaw for dinner multiples nights in a row some weeks!
Rami and I picked up some napa cabbage from our local Asian Market and dove right in. The process of making the kimchi was exactly that – a process. It definitely required a bit of love (maybe a bit more than I was expecting) but it was all worth it a few days later when we finally got a taste. It was fresh, flavorful and matched perfectly with my favorite Asian dishes. While I may not be up to eating Kimchi on its own just yet, this homemade recipe definitely made me appreciate it more. Our recipe is so easy to make that it is the perfect side dish or topping to any Asian inspired recipe you may be making. Start prepping your kimchi now!
Take a look at how we made this easy recipe and then go grab your own cabbage so you can start cooking!
- 1 pound napa cabbage
- 3 tbsp pink salt
- 1-2 cups water
- 1/2 cup daikon radish (julienned)
- 1 carrot (julienned)
- 3 stalks green onion
- 1-3 tbsp chili flakes
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 2 cloves garlic (grated)
- 1/2 inch cube ginger (grated)
- 1 tbsp sugar
- Start by cutting your napa cabbage into fourths width-wise to create more bite-sized chunks. The cabbage will shrink so don't make these too small. Leave the tough cores out and discard or save for a later broth.
- In a deep bowl, combine cut cabbage and salt and massage with your hands (gloves highly recommended!) for about 10 minutes. You should see the cabbage beginning to shrink and wilt. Then cover the cabbage with water and let it sit for about an hour. Place a plate with something heavy on top to keep it submerged.
- To make the chili paste, combine all the paste ingredients and mix well to combine. Add 1 tablespoon of chili flakes or 3 if you like it extra spicy! You can leave out the sugar, but it really helps speed the fermentation process along as the bacteria feeds on the sugar.
- When the cabbage is done soaking, rinse it under cold water for about 5 minutes making sure to rinse all the leaves. Then add the carrots, radish and green onion plus the chili paste and rub into the cabbage leaves very well. Keep your gloves on because this will burn and discolor your hands!
- Clean a jar very well with very hot water, including the lid. Dry and prepare to fill. Pack the kimchi into a jar as tight as you can. Make sure to push the contents down until you see water bubbling to the top of the jar.
- Let it ferment at room temperature for 2-5 days. Occasionally, you may reach into the jar with a clean spoon and push the contents down if they're looking too dry on top. After opening it up and eating it, refrigerate the leftovers. Enjoy!
Loved this recipe? Let us know! Something didn’t quite turn out right? Ask us in the comments below or contact us– we respond to comments every day and would love to hear from you and help you out! And check out all our low carb recipes to learn to make more delicious and healthy meals!
The content on this website should not be taken as medical advice and you should ALWAYS consult with your doctor before starting any diet or exercise program. We provide nutritional data for our recipes as a courtesy to our readers. We use Total Keto Diet app software to calculate the nutrition and we remove fiber and sugar alcohols, like erythritol, from the total carbohydrate count to get to the net carb count, as they do not affect your blood glucose levels. You should independently calculate nutritional information on your own and not rely on our data. The website or content herein is not intended to cure, prevent, diagnose or treat any disease. This website shall not be liable for adverse reactions or any other outcome resulting from the use of recipes or recommendations on the Website or actions you take as a result. Any action you take is strictly at your own risk.
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Doesnt the sugar kick you out of keto?
Could you substitute the sugar with erythmitol or stevia? Would it feed the microbes?
Fermentation causes the sugar to be broken down in the kimchi. Not using sugar would not make sense for this.
This is my go to recipe for kimchi. This is seriously the best!
Glad you like it! It’s definitely an acquired taste but when you love it, you love it!
Hi! I’m making this for the 2nd time as it ran out so fast. I used white cabbage though, which takes longer to ferment. Should’ve lasted longer as well?. Thanx
Turn out great.
I am looking forward to making this – I have wanted to try this pre-keto but now that I am in keto I’m loving it. Keep blogging.
Can this be made with out the fish sauce?
This kimchi recipe looks so great! I really want to start making kimchi at home rather than spending money on it at the grocery store! I know I’ll save money doing it this way I just haven’t had the courage to do it myself yet. Your article and recipe may have just given me the motivation! Thank you for sharing!
You’re very welcome! Good luck <3
I have made Kimchi in the past without sugar. Have you ever made this recipe without? Can you use other sugar substitute?
The reason we used sugar in this recipe is because the bacteria thrives on sugar, not so much for the flavor. If you’ve had success not using sugar, then by all means, keep doing that! Cabbage and the other ingredients used have some naturally occurring sugars that can get you similar results with added sugar.
Hi there’ll. his looks great. WHen you let it ferment, do you have the lid on the jar or do you leave it open?
Leave the lid on and make sure the kimchi is submerged in the liquid. You may have to open the lid to mash the cabbage down a bit here and there.
Thank you for your reply! I use Cronometer to track my daily food intake. I deleted the salt I use in preparing the cabbage when I recorded the recipe so sodium is listed as lower. I’m not concerned w/ salt intake as I use Himilayan or Celtic sea salts in my meals so it’s good sodium there. I was just hoping maybe you knew what your ready to eat recipe has for sodium. As for resistant starches, I can’t find how the starches are figured since they are not a source of usable carbs and therefore shouldn’t be counted against my net carb intake. Sushi is an example of a resistant starch containing food but is still listed w/ heavy carbs. I was hoping if you knew how to figure the sodium bit you’d also know how to figure the starch bit or where I might find that info. I’ll keep fiddling w/ the site and other databases and perhaps contact Cronometer. I find nothing on their forum. So, again, thanks for your reply. I love the recipes on your site and the pictures are lovely!
Thanks so much for the kind words, Donna! It means a lot 🙂
Hi! When i make my kimchi I rinse the salt out very well so the sodium levels are low. Have you measured the sodium content in your kimchi when it’s ready to eat?
I’m not sure how we would go about measuring the sodium levels of a finished recipe after rinsing and fermenting. Sodium is nothing to worry about, in fact, on a low carb diet we have to try to make sure to get enough sodium. Things like kimchi, pickles, bacon and chicken broth are used as sodium supplemental foods.