Discover how to make authentic Korean kimchi and easy vegan kimchi with my step-by-step recipe, including all my tips and tricks for perfect results.

Undoubtedly, Kimchi is the most renowned cuisine of South Korea and an essential dish for Koreans in their daily meals. As a passionate admirer of Korean culture, I am fascinated by the significance of Kimchi in their cuisine. From family meals to restaurant dishes, Kimchi is a staple item. The harvesting season of napa cabbages and radishes has traditionally become the season of preparing Kimchi. Korean dramas often depict the image of Koreans relishing rice or ramen with Kimchi. Additionally, Koreans have created a range of dishes with Kimchi as the main ingredient, from soup to rice. Therefore, let’s delve into how Koreans make Kimchi traditionally, and savor the fully fermented Kimchi to experience why it is the heart and soul of Korean cuisine.

In this article, I will introduce two ways to prepare Kimchi – the traditional method and the easy vegan recipe. The recipe requires several ingredients, but it is simple to prepare with a high success rate. The traditional Kimchi has a delightful sweet vegetable flavor, which is well maintained in a sour and salty brine along with a hint of “sea” from shrimps/anchovies/fish sauce. The vegan Kimchi, surprisingly, is as crunchy as the traditional one, and its flavors are in perfect harmony – a must-try for everyone.

Traditional Korean Kimchi and Vegan Kimchi (Recipes)


Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make two types of Kimchi:

A. Traditional Korean Kimchi

  • 1 kilogram of napa cabbage
  • Water & table salt (50 grams salt/ 1 liter water)
  • 10 – 15 grams of dried shrimps or dried anchovies
  • 15 grams of sticky rice flour
  • 3-4 spring onions
  • 100 grams of carrots
  • 200 grams of radishes
  • 30 grams of apples or pears
  • 30 grams of onions
  • 10 grams of garlic
  • 10 grams of ginger
  • 3-4 tablespoons (40-60 ml) of fish sauce
  • 1-2 tablespoons (14-28 grams) of sugar
  • 2-3 tablespoons of Korean chili flakes
  • 0.5-1 tablespoon (10-15 ml) of vinegar (optional)

B. Vegan and Easy Kimchi

  • 1 kilogram of napa cabbage
  • Water & table salt (50 grams salt/ 1 liter water)
  • 3-4 spring onions
  • 100 grams of carrots
  • 200 grams of radishes
  • 30 grams of apples or pears
  • 30 grams of onions
  • 10 grams of garlic
  • 10 grams of ginger
  • 1-1.5 tablespoons of Gochujang (Korean hot pepper paste)
  • 1-2 tablespoons of honey/corn syrup/sugar
  • 1-1.5 tablespoons of chili flakes to taste
  • 1 tablespoon of vinegar
  • 1-2 teaspoons of table salt.
How to make Heungsam’s Kimchi


Here are some important points to keep in mind while making kimchi:

1 tablespoon equals 15 ml or 12-15 grams (for dry ingredients), while 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml or 4-5 grams (for dry ingredients).
For table salt, use the fine salt. If using sea or coarse salt, the salt to water ratio will be different.
The ingredient measurements given are for 1 kg of cabbage. If you’re making more kimchi, adjust the amount of ingredients accordingly.
Although optional, carrots, radishes, and spring onions add extra flavor to the kimchi. If chives are available, they can be used instead of spring onions.


Here are some tips for making kimchi:

  • Every Korean household has their own unique way of making kimchi, with different ingredients. However, the basic steps are as follows:
  • Soak the cabbage in salt or salt water until it becomes firm and crunchy, then rinse it.
  • Prepare the other vegetables.
  • Prepare the kimchi filling, which typically includes sticky rice porridge, onion, garlic, ginger, apple or pear, fish sauce, sugar, and chili.
  • Mix the kimchi filling with the cabbage.

Here are some additional tips for making kimchi:

  • To make the cabbage more crunchy, it’s recommended to soak it in salt water instead of just sprinkling salt on the cabbage leaves. This also helps stimulate fermentation.
  • If you’re making easy kimchi with chopped cabbage, soak it in warm salt water for a shorter time to prevent it from becoming too soft or too firm. The fermentation process will also be faster.
  • If you don’t have sticky rice flour, you can use leftover rice or sticky rice instead, blended into a puree with dried shrimps or anchovies.
  • Ripe persimmon can be used instead of apple or pear in kimchi to add natural sweetness.
  • Use ginger, onion, and garlic in moderation as they contribute to the flavor of kimchi. Too much of these ingredients can make kimchi taste too strong.
  • If Korean chili flakes are not available, you can substitute with other types of chili powder.
  • Vinegar is optional but it helps kimchi ferment faster and more easily.
  • For better fermentation, you can add 0.5 to 1 tablespoon of Gochujang chili paste, which has already been fermented.
  • If you’re not vegan, you can substitute salt with fish sauce for a nice umami flavor in the kimchi.
Heungsam Family Make Kimchi


To make this recipe for kimchi, start by preparing the napa cabbage. You can split it in halves or quarters lengthwise, or chop it into 3cm-wide pieces. Rinse the cabbage carefully and let it dry at room temperature.

Next, mix salt and water in a ratio of 50g salt to 1 liter of water (or 90g salt if using coarse salt). Soak the cabbage in the salt water, making sure it’s fully submerged. You can use heavy objects like a bowl or plate to press the cabbage down. Let it soak for 8 to 12 hours until it softens and firms up and can be bent without breaking.

For vegan kimchi, heat some water until warm (around 40-50°C/104-122°F) and soak the cabbage in it for 4 to 8 hours until the white parts are bendable. Make sure the cabbage is also submerged in salt water.

After soaking, squeeze the water out of the cabbage and let it dry at room temperature while you prepare the fillings.

If you’re using dried shrimps or anchovies, rinse them carefully and cook them in 200ml water for 30-40 minutes. Save some of the broth (about 150ml), let it cool, and add sticky rice flour to it. Cook the mixture on medium heat, stirring constantly, until it turns into a runny porridge. Set it aside to cool. Skip this step if making vegan kimchi.

Rinse and peel the carrot, spring onion, and radish. Grate or shred the carrot and radish. Cut the white parts of the spring onion diagonally and chop the green parts into 3-4cm lengths.

For the spice mixture, blend or chop the apple, onion, ginger, and garlic, and add them to a blender. Add the cooled porridge (or Gochujang for vegan kimchi), fish sauce, sugar, chili flakes, and vinegar, and mix well.

Add the spring onion, carrot, and radish to the spice mixture, and mix well. Take a piece of cabbage to taste with the filling – it should be a bit saltier than normal to aid fermentation, and the sweet and spicy taste should be moderate.

Spread the filling onto the cabbage leaves, or add chopped cabbage and mix well. Roll the kimchi and store it in an airtight container. It takes 24-36 hours at 20°C for the kimchi to ferment. After fermentation, store the kimchi in the fridge. Chopped kimchi ferments faster than quartered or halved cabbage kimchi. Note that the higher the temperature, the faster the fermentation process.

Thank you for following Mom’s Food Blog

1 thought on “How to make Traditional Korean Kimchi and Vegan Kimchi

  1. It is so easier to follow, thanks for cooking procedure, ingredients and love, care of family.

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