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Traditional Kimchi Recipe (Spicy Korean Sauerkraut)

Fermenting your own kimchi is so easy! Here is a traditional kimchi recipe to start making some at home.

"A meal without kimchi is not a meal," says the Korean adage.

In Korea every family has kimchi recipes that have been passed down from generation to generation with great pride.

There are as many recipes for kimchi as there are homes in Korea. Here is one, from our humble Montreal homes, that has been able to capture several hearts.

We recommend using an all-in-one fermentation jar, but any type of fermentation equipment will do. For more information, read How to Make Fermented Vegetables.

  • Difficulty level: Easy
  • Type of fermentation: Lactic
  • Preparation time: 30 minutes
  • Fermentation time: about 10 days

 Traditional Kimchi Recipe in Jars


  • 4L (16 cups) of brine at 2.5% (100g of sea salt for 4 litres of water at room temperature)
  • 1kg (2.2lb) Chinese cabbage (nappa cabbage or giant bok choy)
  • 200g daikon (Japanese white radish) or 50g red radish (about 5)
  • 200g carrot (about 1)
  • 200g of yellow onion (about 1)
  • 2 chopped garlic cloves
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh ginger
  • 75g (1/4 cup) gochujang (Korean fermented chili pepper paste) or 3 tsp. Korean chili peppers or other crushed chili peppers
  • 2 tbsp sea salt (or weight equivalent to 2% of the total)
  • 1 tbsp dried fish or shrimp sauce* (optional)

*Fish sauce or dried shrimp will give your kimchi a more pronounced taste. Without it you will soon be unmasked by purists, but we believe that kimchi is just as delectable without these additions.



  1. In a large pot, prepare the brine by dissolving the salt in water. Submerge the cabbage, the daikon and the whole carrot. Place a small plate on top as a weight.
  2. Let it sit all night (from 8 to 12 hours).
  3. Drain and rinse cabbage, daikon and carrot, and cut into slices or strips 2 to 3 cm (1 inch) long. Place in a large bowl.
  4. Cut the onion into thin slices and add it to the vegetables in the bowl, with the rest of the ingredients. Mix.
  5. Compress the whole thing in a fermentation jar (2 liters or more).
  6. Close the jar while allowing the air to exit.
  7. Leave to ferment for at least 3 days before tasting (kimchi is usually better after 3 or 4 days of fermentation). If the mixture is at a good point, refrigerate it in an airtight container. If not, let it ferment while tasting every 2 days.

Eat in an authentic bibimbap, on a homemade pizza or on a peanut butter roast... yes, you read that right!

It can be stored for one year in the refrigerator.


Recipe from Fermentation revolution Book.


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