Marja Vongerichten Makes Kimchi

Learn authentic Korean recipes and techniques from an expert.

Condiment, side dish, essential ingredient in other recipes, kimchi is a cornerstone of Korean cooking. With this recipe from Kimchi Chronicles (Rodale), Marja Vongerichten shows us how to make a pungent, flavorful cabbage kimchi that you’ll want to have at the ready.

Back to main page

The Ultimate Cabbage Kimchi

Adapted from Kimchi Chronicles (Rodale)
This kimchi, consisting of napa cabbage aggressively seasoned with red pepper and garlic and fermented with fish sauce and salted shrimp, is the most ubiquitous and recognizable, and it’s my personal favorite. I know it’s good because my Korean mother raves about it. You can easily halve or even quarter this recipe if the quantity is intimidating, but I guarantee you’ll be back for more.

Makes about 6 quarts
1 PointsPlus® value per serving**


  • 4 large heads napa cabbage
  • 2 cups coarse salt
  • 1/2 cup sweet rice powder
  • 1/3 Asian pear, peeled
  • 1-inch piece ginger, peeled
  • 1 cup peeled garlic cloves
  • 1/3 yellow onion
  • 1/2 cup fish sauce
  • 1/2 large white radish (moo or daikon), peeled and cut into matchsticks (about 4 cups)
  • 2 big bunches scallions (about 20), cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 3 cups gochugaru (red pepper powder)
  • 2/3 cup drained Korean salted shrimp


  1. Prepare cabbage: Remove any unattractive outer leaves from cabbages and quarter each cabbage lengthwise. Cut out and discard cores. Cut each cabbage-quarter crosswise into 2-inch pieces.
  2. Fill sink (you may even want to use the bathtub!) with cold water and wash cabbage, letting any grit sink to the bottom. Lift cabbage out of water, leaving dirt behind, and drain. Rinse out basin and refill with fresh water. Repeat process once more.
  3. Get out your biggest bowls (you will have about 32 cups of chopped cabbage) and layer cabbage with salt so that cabbage is evenly salted. Set aside for 45 minutes, then give cabbage a good mix with your hands. Let it sit for an additional 45 minutes. By this point, cabbage should be quite wilted. Fill sink (or tub) with fresh water and rinse cabbage two times as you did earlier to remove all salt. Drain thoroughly.
  4. Prepare seasoning: Place 3 cups of water in a saucepan and whisk in rice powder. Bring to a simmer over low heat, whisking constantly, until mixture thickens, about 3 minutes. Add sugar and cook another minute. Take mixture off heat and let cool (you can speed up cooling process by submerging bottom of pot in a bowl of ice water).
  5. Combine ginger, garlic and onion in a blender or food processor and purée until smooth. Add fish sauce and combine thoroughly.
  6. Prepare kimchi: In a large bowl, combine cooled rice-powder porridge, puréed garlic mixture, radish, scallions, red pepper powder and salted shrimp, and mix well. The best way to do this is to get yourself a pair of disposable plastic gloves and use your hands.
  7. Mix the seasoning mixture with cabbage and pack into 6 glass quart jars or a large plastic container, being sure to pack kimchi in tightly to press out as much air as possible. Put a sheet of plastic wrap directly on surface of kimchi and then cover containers with their lids. Let kimchi get to know itself at room temperature for 2 to 3 days, depending on how sour you like it (I’ve even let it sit out for 4 days). After this initial fermentation, store tightly covered kimchi for up to 6 months in the refrigerator, where it will continue to ferment and improve in flavor. Always be sure to push down on plastic to keep as much air out of kimchi as possible.

** Notes from

  • When calculating the PointsPlus values for this recipe, we:
  • made a serving size 1/2 cup.

More like this


In the Kitchen, Video
Free Newsletter Get it now