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+ servings
4 from 3 votes
Kimchi served on a plate as a side.
Simple Kimchi Recipe
Prep Time
30 mins
Drying and marinating
2 d 8 hrs
Total Time
30 mins

My version of Simple Kimchi uses commonly available ingredients. You need a minimum of 3 days to make it, but the actual time required to make Simple Kimchi is only 30minutes or so.

Total Time does not include 2 days of drying Chinese cabbage or marinating time of minimum 8 hours.

Recipe Type: Appetiser, Sides
Cuisine: Korean
Keyword: kimchi
Serves: 8 as side
Author: Yumiko
Ingredients (tbsp=15ml, cup=250ml)
  • ¼ Chinese Cabbage/nappa cabbage wedge with the stem intact (note 1)
  • 2-3 (40g/1.4oz) shallots/scallions, diagonally sliced thinly
  • 40g/1.4oz ginger , finely julienned
  • 10g/0.6oz garlic chives , cut into 5cm (2”) long pieces (optional)
Kimchi Marinade Paste
  • 15g/0.5oz roasted sesame seeds , grated
  • 30g/1.1oz coarse chilli powder (note 2)
  • 50ml/1.7oz sesame oil
  • 15g/0.5oz salt
  • 25ml/0.8oz soy sauce
  • 20ml/0.7oz fish sauce (note 3)
  • 1 anchovy (not dried one) , finely chopped (note 3)
  • 1 apple , peeled and grated
  • 4 cloves garlic , half grated and half finely chopped
  1. Place the Chinese cabbage cut sides up on a newspaper and leave it outside in a sunny place for 2 days (note 4).

  2. Mix the Kimchi Marinade ingredients well in a bowl. Then add shallots, ginger and garlic chives. Mix well.

Marinating (see the step-by-step photo in the post)
  1. Place the dried Chinese cabbage, cut sides up on a large plate or a tray. The stem should be on the left and the end of the leaves on the right (for right handers).

  2. Starting from the outer-most leaf of the Chinese cabbage, smudge (note 5) the marinade between the leaves, working through one by one to the inner smaller leaves. Make sure that the marinade goes up to the stem end of the leaves.

  3. Smudge the surface of the Chinese cabbage with the remaining marinade and make sure that the marinade covers almost every part of the Chinese cabbage leaves (note 6).

  4. Place the marinated Chinese cabbage in a large zip lock plastic bag. Transfer any marinade left in the bowl and the plate/tray to the bag.

  5. Remove air from the bag as much as possible and seal. Store in the fridge for minimum overnight (note 7).

To Serve
  1. Remove the stem and cut the leaves to 4cm/1½" long crosswise, then plate them (note 8).

Recipe Notes

1. My Chinese cabbage was about 600g/1.3lb. It is important to cut Chinese cabbage into a quarter vertically with the leaves attached to the stem.  

When cutting a Chinese cabbage into a quarter, just make an 8-10cm (3-4") long incision at the stem part. Then hold the separated stem parts and try to pull the cabbage apart. This minimise the leaves cut into small pieces detaching from the stem. (see the photos in the post)

2. Standard chilli powder that is finely powdered is not suitable for this recipe. You can buy coarse chilli powder at Asian grocery stores. It comes either in a plastic container (see the blog for photos) or in a packet.

3. You can substitute fish sauce with 1 additional anchovy and an additional 25ml soy sauce.

Alternatively, you can replace the anchovy with an additional 20ml fish sauce.

4. This is to reduce the amount of water retained inside the Chinese cabbage. You can still make kimchi without drying Chinese cabbage but the marinade becomes quite watery after marinating overnight = a bit watery kimchi.

5. I use disposable latex gloves/medical gloves to do this.

6. If you run out of the marinade before reaching to the last tiny leaves, take some out of the area where a lot of marinade is placed.

7. I find that Kimchi marinated for a couple of days tastes the best. It can stay as is for few weeks in the fridge.

8. When I only need a couple of leaves to serve, I take leaves off the stem from the marinating bag so that the rest can stay as is for further marinating.