Simple Kimchi

I’m a huge Kimchi fan. Be it baechu kimchi, kkakdugi, yeolmu kimchi, etc, I simply got to have it at least 3 times a week. Looking at the amount of $$ I’m spending on kimchi, it makes economical sense for me to make it myself, right? After testing a few recipes, I found this to be the most easy-to-make and yummilicious version. The secret step here is making the flour paste. This step is optional but my Korean friend’s mom told me it will bind the spices and absorbs better into the cabbage. Adjust the level of spiciness according to your taste bud.

1 large napa cabbage or “wong bok” (mine is about 2 pounds / 500g)
1 radish
1 large carrot
1 stalk leek
6 stalks green onions
4 tbsp salt

Kimchi paste:
1 cup water
3 tbsp rice flour or cake flour
2 tbsp sugar
1 knob ginger
1/2 yellow onion
10 cloves garlic – peeled
1/4 cup fish sauce
1/2 cup Korean red pepper powder (depending on your tolerance / taste. Mine is low:-))
Salty shrimp paste (optional)

Recipe source: Korean Bapsang and Maangchi

ingredients for making kimchi

From left: rice flour, Korean red pepper powder, fish sauce, salty shrimp paste.

Cut the cabbage lengthwise. Chop it up into bite size pieces.

napa cabbage or wong bok

The common name in Singapore is “Wong Bok” cabbage.


cutting kimchi cabbage

This size is perfect for me.

Rinse the pieces of cabbage in cold water and put them into a large plastic basin or bowl.

washing cabbage


Sprinkle salt and gently toss them around to ensure each piece is well coated. Every 30 minutes, turn the cabbage over to salt.

salting the cabbage


salting the cabbage


Repeat twice. 1.5 hours later, rinse the cabbage in cold water for 3 times to wash off the salt. Taste a small piece of the cabbage. It should be salty but not overly. Drain the cabbage and set aside.

Boil the water in a small saucepan and add in flour. Once it comes to a bubble, add in the sugar to melt. The texture should be thick, smooth and shiny. Set it aside to cool. (This step is optional if you do not have the type of flour required. Instead, just boil 1/2 cup water and melt the sugar and set aside).

In a food processor, add in the fish sauce, garlic, ginger and onion. Blend till smooth. If you do not have a food processor, use a blender.

making kimchi paste

Pulse into paste.

Place the cooled flour paste into a large bowl. Add the blended mixture, hot pepper flakes and salty shrimp. Mix well.

making kimchi paste


kimchi paste

Hot and fiery looking!

Peel the radish and carrot and julienne (slice thinly). Cut the leeks and green onions into small pieces.

kimchi radish

Annyeonghaseyo! 😀 I’m Mr. Radish.


slicing radish thinly


Put all the vegetables in a large bowl. Add in the paste and stir well. Your kimchi paste is done!

vegetables for making kimchi

Preparing for a red bath.


making kimchi paste

Mix well.


making kimchi paste

I took a bite to taste – so good!

It is time to get some arm workout. Add the kimchi paste (few spoons at a time) to the cabbage and mix, mix, mix! Do it by batches if necessary. To protect your hands from burning & staining (red pepper powder is the major culprit), wear a pair of plastic or rubber gloves.

I always keep a box of disposable plastic gloves :-)

I always keep a box of disposable plastic gloves :-).


Use both hands to mix (unless you are using the other hand to take a photo :-P).

Use both hands to mix (unless you are using the other hand to take photos :-P).

Put the kimchi into an air-tight sealed plastic container (BPA free) or glass jar. Press down to make sure no air is trapped in between the cabbage. Leave it outside for a day or two to ferment before putting it into the fridge. I can’t resist the wait so I’m taking out a tiny batch to sample.

My dad's favorite - freshly made kimchi

My dad’s favorite – freshly made kimchi. He doesn’t  like them to be too fermented.

One or two days later, open the lid of the Kimchi container. You may see some bubbles with liquid, and a sour smell. That means it’s already being fermented. Put the container of Kimchi in the fridge for future use.

2-day old kimchi

2-day old kimchi.


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