Easy Homemade Kimchi Recipe: A Step-by-Step Guide
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Easy Homemade Kimchi Recipe: A Step-by-Step Guide

Kimchi is a favorite Korean dish famous for its unique flavor and health perks. It’s made by fermenting vegetables with spices, a method developed over many years. When you make kimchi at home, you get to put your own spin on it and dive into a special cultural experience. Let’s take a look at our easy homemade kimchi recipe today.

Kimchi Recipe Ingredients

Kimchi Ingredients
Kimchi Ingredients

For a standard box of kimchi, which is roughly equivalent to making a batch from one large Napa cabbage, here’s an ingredient list with approximate amounts:

  • Napa cabbage – 1 large head (about 5 to 6 pounds)
  • Korean radish (optional) – 1 small (about 1 pound), peeled and cut into matchsticks
  • Sea salt – 1/2 cup (for salting cabbage) + 1 tablespoon (for seasoning)
  • Garlic – 6 to 8 cloves, minced
  • Ginger – 2-inch piece, peeled and minced
  • Sugar – 2 tablespoons
  • Fish sauce (vegetarian alternatives available) – 1/4 cup (you can use soy sauce or kelp powder mixed with water as a vegetarian alternative)
  • Korean chili flakes (gochugaru) – 1/2 cup to 1 cup, depending on your spice preference

You can change these amounts depending on how big your cabbage is or how you like your kimchi to taste. Feel free to use more or less chili flakes and fish sauce according to your preference. Adding radish is optional, but it gives a good crunch and taste to the kimchi. 

If you can’t find some of the ingredients, it’s okay to use different kinds of radish or chili powder instead. However, using high-quality ingredients is really important because it makes your kimchi taste better and healthier.

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Easy Homemade Kimchi Recipe

Steps of Making Kimchi
Steps of Making Kimchi

Following our best homemade kimchi recipe is straightforward. Here’s how:

  1. Choose Your Ingredients. Start with fresh, high-quality veggies. Napa cabbage and Korean radish are classic, but feel free to mix in other veggies too. The secret to delicious kimchi is in the seasoning: you’ll need garlic, ginger, high-quality fish sauce, and Korean chili flakes (gochugaru).
  2. Prepare the Vegetables. Chop the cabbage into small, bite-sized pieces. Salt them well to pull out water. A few hours later, rinse the veggies to get rid of the extra salt.
  3. Make the Paste. Mix garlic, ginger, sugar, fish sauce, and chili flakes to create a spicy paste. This mix adds all the flavor to your kimchi.
  4. Mix Everything. Rub the spicy paste all over the vegetables until they’re fully covered.
  5. Ferment. Put your kimchi mix into a jar, pressing it down to make sure the veggies are soaked in their juice. Leave it out at room temperature for 2-5 days. Check it daily, giving it a taste and pressing down the veggies.
  6. Store. Once it’s fermented to your liking, pop the kimchi into the fridge.

This method makes kimchi that’s just right for you. So, go try it at home! 

Is It Worth Making Your Own Kimchi?

Making your own kimchi at home is definitely worth it for several reasons. 

Firstly, the freshness of homemade kimchi is unmatched. You can enjoy it through various stages of fermentation, exploring flavors that aren’t available in store-bought versions. 

Additionally, making kimchi yourself allows for complete customization. You can adjust the spice level, choose your preferred vegetables, and control the fermentation time to create a dish that perfectly suits your palate. 

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Another significant advantage is health benefits; homemade kimchi doesn’t contain the preservatives found in many commercial brands, making it a healthier choice. 

When you weigh the factors of cost, ingredients, and taste, homemade kimchi often exceeds store-bought options in both quality and satisfaction. It offers a rewarding experience that not only yields delicious results but also connects you with the essence of Korean culture.

How Long to Ferment Kimchi at Home?

Figuring out how long to let kimchi ferment at home can be pretty simple. You can usually start enjoying your kimchi after just a few days, but the longer it sits, the more its flavors will grow and change. 

How quickly it ferments can depend on things like how warm your kitchen is and the mix of ingredients you use. A good rule of thumb is to let it sit out at room temperature for about 2 to 5 days, then give it a taste. 

If you like it stronger, you can let it ferment a bit longer. Once it’s to your liking, pop it in the fridge to slow down the fermentation. It’s a good idea to taste it now and then until it’s just right for you.

Do’s and Don’ts’ When Making Kimchi

Making kimchi at home is a fun and rewarding experience, but there are a few do’s and don’ts you should keep in mind to make sure your kimchi turns out great:

Do:

  • Use fresh ingredients – The fresher your vegetables, the tastier your kimchi will be.
  • Be generous with the salt – It’s crucial for the fermentation process and helps develop the kimchi’s flavor.
  • Taste as you go – This will help you adjust the seasoning to your liking and get familiar with the fermentation process.
  • Keep everything clean – From your hands to the containers and tools, cleanliness is key to prevent unwanted bacteria from getting into your kimchi.
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Don’t:

  • Rush the fermentation – Patience is vital. Give your kimchi time to ferment and develop its flavors.
  • Skip the sugar – While it might seem minor, sugar feeds the fermentation process and adds depth to the flavor.
  • Use metal containers or utensils – Metal can react with the fermentation process and alter the taste of your kimchi. Stick to glass or plastic containers and wooden or plastic utensils.
  • Forget to press down – After adding your kimchi to the jar, press it down to ensure the vegetables are submerged in the brine. This keeps them from being exposed to air, which is crucial for proper fermentation.

By following these simple guidelines, you’ll be well on your way to making delicious kimchi at home. Enjoy the process and the tasty results!

Last But Not Least

Making your own kimchi is a fun journey that brings Korean tradition right to your kitchen. It’s a cool way to make healthy fermented food just the way you like them. Follow the easy homemade kimchi recipe we’ve shared, and you’ll get to enjoy kimchi’s tasty flavors and health benefits, all with your own special touch. 

Sejak 2018, Tika Widya sudah menjadi pejuang kata-kata dengan membuka layanan penulisan, membangun komunitas penulis, meraih prestasi nasional - internasional dan mendapatkan sertifikasi profesi dari BNSP. Kini, ia memiliki kelas penulisan sendiri sekaligus mengajar di Tempo Institute. Tika Widya selalu siap menjadi sahabat menulis favorit yang mendampingi siapapun untuk mengejar mimpi.

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