For those who work late and have no ready dinner at home, we recommend you store some Kimchi in the fridge. The versatile fermented vegetable could be cooked with rice, made into soup with pre-packed stock, beef and tofu, or added into Korean instant noodles to spice it up – all in less than half an hour. It is a refreshing and spicy awakener that can be kept for up to three months.

Two weeks ago, I made about eight kilos of Kimchi, entirely from scratch. It was my second time after picking it up at the Korean Tourism Board. The procedure may be tedious but the final product is likely to turn out like what it should be, unlike Nian Gao or Beef Wellington. So here is a very detailed Kimchi recipe together with the simple instruction to cook Kimchi Fried Rice.

Note: Bear with the initial tedious procedure of Kimchi making. The rest will be a cinch.


2 Chinese cabbages, about 1.5 kg to 2 kg each


Peel off the dirty leaves on the outer layer. From the root, slice the cabbage into quarters, but only halfway through, and then use your hands to tear them apart. This will prevent the leaves from breaking into many tiny pieces, which happens when you use a knife to slice through.

*Note: Choose a cabbage that is green on the outside. If it is white, it means that the cabbage is not sweet. It is normal if the leaves inside are yellow. Do not wash the cabbage now. You’ll have a chance to do it later. Do not chop off the root. You’ll need it to hold the leaves together.

Ingredients for Salting

Sea salt or coarse salt
100 ml of water
A large pail


Pour water into the pail. Add a handful of salt into the water and stir.
Over the pail, sprinkle one handful salt on every piece of cabbage. Lay the salted cabbage in the pail, and repeat the same step on the remaining cabbages. Stack the cabbages and leave it for 4 hours. 4 hours later, check the stem of the cabbage. If it bends without breaking, it’s ready.

*Note: Apply the salt on the stem, not the leaves, or it will be too salty. When stacking the cabbages, make sure that the inner side of the vegetable is facing up so that it does not lose all its water content. Since the salt congregates at the bottom of the pail, bring the cabbages at the bottom to the top every one hour so that they will not be saltier than the rest.


inner side facing up


Once the cabbages are ready, you need to remove the salt. Fill the pail with tap water and clean every piece of cabbage leaf. Transfer the cabbages into a basket and pour away the water in the pail Repeat the process at least one more time. Once you are done, put the cabbages in the basket and allow the water drain for an hour.

*Note: Do not soak the cabbages in the water for too long to retain the natural sweetness of the vegetables. After the second washing, tear a small piece of cabbage to taste. If it’s still too salty, wash them again until you are happy with the level of saltiness. When you stack the washed cabbages in the basket, make sure that the inner side of the vegetable is facing down, so that they can drip dry thoroughly.

Ingredients for Seasoning

200 ml water
1.5 tbsp glutinous rice flour (you could also use plain flour or rice powder)
15 cloves of garlic
Old ginger, thumb-size
5 red chilli
50 g sugar
70 ml fish sauce
200 g Korean coarse chilli powder
White raddish, palm-size, sliced into strips
8 sprigs of spring onions, sliced into strips
1 onion, sliced into strips


Mix water with glutinous rice flour over low heat until the mixture has a gluey texture. Turn off the heat and leave it to cool. Blend garlic, ginger and red chilli with a little bit of water. Prepare a big pail. Pour the glue, the spice mixture, sugar, fish sauce and chilli powder into the pail and mix well. Try the sauce with one piece of cabbage leaf and add more fish sauce or chilli powder according to your liking. Throw in the onions, spring onions, and radish and mix well.

Rub the mixture on every piece of cabbage, starting from the largest leaf. Stuff the onions, spring onions and radish near the root between every two leaves. Once you are done, hold the cabbage by its root and lift it up. Grab the leaves with the other hand, but leave the last, largest leaf dangling. Fold the cabbage into half and wrap it with the last piece of leaf. Pack the cabbage into an air-tight container. If you prefer your Kimchi to be a little bit sour, leave it to ferment in room temperature for about 24 hours. If not, pop it into the fridge immediately.

*Note: When you keep the cabbage in a container, make sure that the inner side is facing up so that the cabbage does not release too much water as it ferments. Use a container that the cabbages can fit nicely into. If there is too much air in the container, the Kimchi will be more sour than it should be. Homemade Kimchi like this can last for about 3 months. But it becomes more sour by the day.

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