Napa Cabbage Kimchi

Winnie Abramson, ND

By Winnie Abramson, ND


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I devoted a whole chapter in my book to the health benefits of cultured foods: I love and eat all sorts of cultured foods and kimchi is one of my favorites.

This Napa Cabbage Kimchi recipe is adapted from Mastering Fermentation: Recipes for Making and Cooking with Fermented Foods. I also have a couple more kimchi recipes.

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Napa Cabbage Kimchi

This kimchi is pretty spicy! It features Napa cabbage and spicy chili-garlic paste. I love serving it atop Asian-style soups and other dishes. I also like it with eggs.
Servings: 1 quart


  • 2.5 lbs Napa cabbage 1 small-medium head, outer leaves trimmed off, interior leaves chopped (compost the core or save it to make vegetable stock)
  • 2 2/3 tbsp fine sea salt separated into 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons
  • 4 green onions
  • 2 small organic carrots
  • 1 thumb fresh ginger peeled
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 4 tsp chili-garlic paste/sauce homemade or store-bought
  • 1 tsp all-natural Asian fish sauce


  • Place chopped cabbage leaves in a large bowl and sprinkle with all of the salt. Mix well and allow salted cabbage to sit for 1-3 hours (longer is better), until the cabbage is quite wilted down.
  • Place wilted cabbage in a colander and rinse very well to remove excess salt; transfer cabbage back to large bowl.
  • Grate or chop the carrots and ginger. Chop the green onions and thinly slice the garlic. Add to the cabbage, along with the chile-garlic sauce and the fish sauce.
  • Transfer the kimchi to a very clean 1-quart glass jar. Push down on the kimchi to release more moisture (I use the back of a wooden spoon). Pack tightly, leaving about 2 inches of room at the top of the jar.
  • If there is not enough liquid in the jar to come up over the kimchi, add enough basic brine (6 tablespoons fine sea salt mixed with 8 cups water: use a whisk to dissolve the salt in the water and store any extra in a covered jar in the refrigerator) so that the kimchi is submerged. (Mastering Fermentation recommends placing a weight on top of the cabbage to keep the cabbage submerged but I didn't.) Cover and allow your kimchi to ferment at room temperature for 4-7 days (or longer, if you want it to be more pungent) before transferring it to the refrigerator where it should keep for about 6 months.

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