• ¾ cup coarse sea salt
  • 2 cups water (chlorine-free, if possible)
  • 4 lbs vegetables: mostly Chinese cabbage, mustard greens, bok choy
  • 1 head garlic, peeled
  • 2 or 3 good-sized onion, peeled & halved
  • 1" ginger root, peeled & chopped (a spoon works well for this)
  • 1 cup red pepper powder (available at Korean and some other Asian markets)
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 small bunch scallion, sliced diagonally into 1" lengths

Special Equipment

  • large mixing bowls
  • pint mason jars
  • wooden spoons and/or slotted metal spoons


  1. In a large mixing bowl, dissolve ¾ cup coarse sea salt in 2 cups of water to make a brine
  2. Cut up all of the 4 lbs of vegetables. Cut the leafy vegetables into 1” square pieces. Peel root vegetables, and cut them in thin diagonal slices
  3. Put the chopped vegetables into the brine and mix, using a big spoon or clean hands.  Brining draws some of the water out of the vegetables, and helps to preserve their crispness. Cover the bowl to keep it free of foreign objects. Uncover it and stir it up every once in a while. After 6 hours, drain the vegetables and let them rest in a colander

Make Red Pepper Paste

  1. Peel the onions and garlic, and mince the ginger. Blend the onion, garlic and ginger in a food processor (or mortar and pestle) with as much water as is necessary to form them into a smooth paste
  2. Gradually add the red pepper powder and sugar into the paste. Cut the scallions diagonally into 1” lengths, and add them to the paste. Let the paste sit for 10 minutes
  3. Move the chopped vegetables from the colander into a large bowl. Add the seasoning paste. Mix it up well with a spoon or your hands
  4. Pack your kimchi tightly into pint jars, covering the surface of the kimchi with parchment. Close the jars, and leave them on the counter at room temperature for at least 1 day. Taste kimchi periodically. When you decide it is ready, or slightly before, put it in the refrigerator or a cool cellar, or bury it in the ground. The cooler the environment, the slower the subsequent fermentation

Tips & Suggestions

  • Young, crunchy kimchi is a delicious accompaniment for meats (especially pork), apples, and cheddar cheese
  • Older kimchi can be used in cooked dishes, such as soups and stews, frittatas, potato pancakes, and fried rice
  • Experiment with using less red pepper than called for above, if you like—maybe much less, or even none at all!