• Yield : 1 litre
  • Prep Time : 20m
  • Cook Time : 24:000 h
  • Ready In : 168:000 h

The recipe

Kimchi is a spicy Korean pickle, with many variations, usually using Chinese leaves/cabbage, radishes or turnips, onion, ginger, red chilli peppers, garlic and fish sauce.  You can use whatever vegetables you like, any type of chilli pepper, fresh or dried, just experiment. This is a vegetarian version which takes about a week to complete.  It can be served as an accompaniment to stir fries, rice dishes, whatever you fancy.

You will need to make up a brine mixture to start with, but don’t use heavily chlorinated water as this will inhibit the good fermenting bacteria you need to encourage.  Use filtered water or cooled, boiled water if your tap water is chlorinated.


  • 4 tbsp sea salt
  • 500g Chinese leaves or cabbage, roughly chopped
  • 1 turnip or daikon radish, thinly sliced
  • 1 carrot, sliced
  • A handful of sugar snaps
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3 red or green chillies, seeds removed, chopped
  • 3 tbsp fresh, grated ginger


Step 1

Make up a brine mix of about 1 litre of water and 4 tbsp of salt. Stir until the salt is dissolved.

Step 2

Add the prepared Chinese leaves, turnips or radish, carrots and sugar snaps to the brine and leave it to soak, covered and weighed down with a plate and a heavy can so that the vegetables stay submerged. Leave overnight until the vegetables have softened.

Step 3

To make the spice mix, blend the onion, garlic, chillies and ginger into a paste. If you are using fish sauce, then add that here, but make sure there are no chemicals or preservatives as they will inhibit fermentation.

Step 4

Reserving the brine, drain the vegetables. Taste for saltiness. They should taste quite salty, but not unpleasantly so. Rinse them or sprinkle with salt, as required.

Step 5

Mix the vegetables with the spice paste and then tightly pack everything into a 1 litre preserving jar, or jam jars, whatever you are using. Press it all down until the brine rises above the vegetables. Add more of the reserved brine as required. You need to weight the vegetables down so that they remain submerged in the brine. You can use a jar filled with water if it will fit into the open container, improvise with what you have.

Step 6

Leave to ferment in a warm place and taste the Kimchi every day to monitor how it is developing. After about a week, when you think it tastes ripe, cover with a lid and keep it in the fridge.

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