Simple Kimchi Recipe - Cut-Up Kimchi

What makes a good kimchi recipe?

Here is a short list of what a good kimchi recipe should have:
– Easy to follow kimchi recipe with a clear direction
– A kimchi newbie should feel like “I can do this.”
– Explain a crucial part of kimchi making, such as salting napa cabbage, should be explained clearly (better yet visually demonstrated)

Let’s face it. Fermentation is an ancient art. It takes time and know-how to learn this ancient wisdom. So my previous kimchi failures and experimental kimchi making gave birth to this simple kimchi recipe.

You know what else I learned through my years of kimchi making? I found out that it can be so simple and easy once you learn the concept.

This simple napa cabbage kimchi recipe takes a little experience to get it right. But the flavor and texture will be very much worth the time and effort.

If you are looking for an easy kimchi recipe that is super easy to make. I recommend Korean water kimchi.

Water kimchi is Mild yet Flavorful, and you can make it in just 10 minutes.

You can download a FREE list of 8 ingredients I use to make a Mild yet Flavorful water kimchi in just 10 minutes.

I whip this out literally in 10 minutes and eat it with most of my meals. And guess what? I can always make it again in 10 minutes with any seasonal vegetables. So download the FREE list of 8 ingredients I use to make a Mild yet Flavorful water kimchi in just 10 minutes.

Enjoy this recipe and let me know how it turns out ~

Eat Real, Be Real

Hungry Gopher

Don’t have gochugaru? Too busy to make Kimchi?

Here is a simple solution:
In Kimchi, quick and easy kimchi recipes for weight loss, clear skin, and a healthier you covers…
How to substitute for gochugaru & much much more, click here for info

Simple Kimchi: Cut-Up Kimchi (막김치)
MAKES 2-2.5 quarts, about 2kg (4.4lbs.) Total: 2 hours Active: 1 hour
  • 1 medium Napa cabbage (4-5 inch/10-13cm diameter of head)
  • Coarse sea salt for brine
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour or sweet rice flour
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp. minced garlic
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp. minced ginger
  • 1/4 medium onion, minced
  • 5 tsp. sugar
  • 4 tsp. fish sauce (Skip fish sauce if vegan recipe is required)
  • 1 Tbsp. coarse sea salt*use extra 2 tsp. coarse sea salt if fish sauce is not used
  • 1/2 cup (Korean chili pepper flakes) *adjust gochugaru to attain your preferred spice level
  1. Discard the loose outer leaves and quarter the cabbage lengthwise. Cut the core off. Cut each quarter crosswise into 2 inch pieces.
  2. Place the cabbage as a thin layer in a sink or large mixing bowl. Sprinkle salt, about 1Tbsp. salt for each layer, in a standard size sink. Repeat these steps until the cabbage is all placed in the sink (This comes about 4-6 layers in a standard size sink) *Use the salt sparingly. A slow brining process will help the cabbage to stay crunchy. Too much salt will make the cabbage tough and too salty. Too little salt will leave the cabbage with too much water in it.
  3. Set aside the cabbage at room temperature to brine. Turn leaves every 30 minutes so they will brine evenly. Periodically, check to make sure they are not getting over-brined. ~ At 70F/21C the brining process will take about 1 hour and 40 minutes.
  4. Once they are brined, submerge the cabbage in cold water. Then, rinse them thoroughly to drain the excess water. Set aside. *Brining time varies depending on the temperature, kind/amount of salt, and the size of the cabbage. **To check the optimal brining level of the cabbage, you should use the “Bend Test”: Select 3-4 thicker leaves from across the cabbage to test. Bend them into a ‘U’ shape one at a time. When they are easily bendable, but there is a small amount of resistance left (so they’ll snap if you fold it all the way into a ‘V’), this is what you are looking for. You should also be able to fold a full quarter cabbage almost in half without snapping any leaves.
  5. The majority of the cabbage leaves should remain fairly opaque and only exhibit some translucency at the edges and in the thinnest areas.
  6. In the meantime, make the starch mixture. Combine the flour and water in a small pot, mixing it together well. Once it starts bubbling around the edges of the pot, begin stirring regularly. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook it for another 2-3 minutes until its consistency resembles that of pudding. Set aside to cool. *If sweet rice flour is used, cook it for just one minute once it comes to a boil.
  7. Next, prepare the seasoning mixture by combining all the ingredients from the seasoning mixture and starch mixture in a large mixing bowl. Mix all ingredients well. Season to taste. *It should be extra salty and semi-sweet since it’s going to season the whole cabbage. **Gochugaru will stain; use a non-stainable bowl.
  8. Add the cabbage to the bowl and gently toss the cabbage until each piece is coated with the seasoning mixture. *Wear cooking gloves ~ otherwise; the gochugaru will burn your hands for hours.
  9. Add them to a jar, and add 2 Tbsp. water to mop up the remaining seasoning mixture. Add the wash to the jar and push all the cabbage down firmly. Finally, close the lid tightly. *Make sure to leave some head-space in the jar. It should not be filled more than 90% full. If the jar does not have ample headspace the kimchi may overflow the vessel as it ferments.
  10. Leave the kimchi to ferment at room temperature for 1-4 days OR to your liking. Then, refrigerate once it has reached the desired amount of fermentation. If you prefer fresh kimchi then skip this counter aging period and refrigerate immediately. *I usually leave it at room temperature for 1-2 days in the summer or 3-4 days in the winter because I like my kimchi a little tangy. If you leave it at room temperature, taste a little every day to check on its fermentation progress. Be sure to push it down firmly after tasting so that your kimchi stays submerged as possible in its own juices. *When I make a large amount of kimchi (5-6 heads of cabbage) I refrigerate half of it immediately. The other half, I leave at room temperature for quicker fermentation. By the time I have consumed the kimchi I left on the counter; the other half in the fridge will have reached a prime level of fermentation.
  11. Serve and enjoy^^
Gopher’s Tips: DO AHEAD: The brined cabbage and seasoning mixture can be kept in the refrigerator for up to five days if you prefer not to do everything within one day’s time. Seasoning with fish sauce will definitely add more depth of flavor. Sea salt will add a bright quality to the kimchi. Adjust the ratio between the two ‘salts’ to suit your taste.

Trouble finding Gochugaru?  Here is an online source for Korean Chili Pepper flakes.

Also, this is the Sweet Rice Flour I use.

Related recipe you might like, KIMCHI FRIED RICE: KIMCHI-BOKKEUMBAP (김치볶음밥)

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29 Thoughts on “Simple Kimchi Recipe: Cut-Up Kimchi (막김치)”

  • Wow… Thank you so much, Ralf! You tried quite a few of my recipes. I am really excited to hear that! Thank you for taking the time to write a comment^^


  • Thank you for this website, it’s so helpful and concise!
    I wondered if I could add the green onion and daikon from the regular kimchi recipe to this simple kimchi recipe?
    Thanks again for your awesome website!

  • Can i make without fish sauce – can i use dulse flakes or some miso paste instead?alzo, i do not eat chilli, can i leave out the chilli flakes.Thanks for the great video!

    • Hi Alex!

      I am afraid I don’t recommend it.
      Gochujang is not usually used for kimchi. Gochujang is a fermented paste, so I really don’t recommend using Gochujang for kimchi making.

      Either skip gochugaru to make white kimchi or buy gochugaru =)

      I hope this helps…

      Good luck!


    • Hi Pedro!

      You don’t have to sterilize the jars unless you want to. I have never done it, and it’s not a common practice at all in Korea.
      Brining kills the bad bacteria, and lacto-fermentation keeps good bacteria happy while creating an environment for bad bacteria not to grow.
      So long story short, mother nature takes care of it. Pretty cool I think =)

      I hope this helps!


  • I just did the Kimchi Master Course, and learned so much. My latest batch of kimchi (green cabbage I got on sale, red and orange peppers,also on sale, and scallions) is the best I’ve ever made! Now I have more confidence to mix it up a little , enabling me to use the produce that’s available.

    • Hi Shortz,

      I don’t recommend adding tofu to the kimchi recipe since I’ve never seen a kimchi recipe with tofu in it. That being said, if you want to experiment, go for it =) On another note, tofu and kimchi go very well together. Paring tofu with cooked kimchi is a common dish in Korea, so perhaps you can try that route if your experiment doesn’t go as you plan =)

      I hope this helps~


  • I do add tofu now frequently, but only after it is fremented. The tofu cubes seem to crumble if left in too long. I love when the tofu is in long enough to soak up the juices

    Just curious, what is the purpose of the starch mixture?

    • Hi Shortz,

      Sorry that I missed your comment. It fell through the cracks =(.

      That’s GREAT that you found a creative way to use kimchi juice. I use kimchi juice in various dishes. You are using it as a seasoning agent which is brilliant (soaking up that juice = guaranteed flavor).

      The purpose of the starch mixture in this recipe is to give extra nutrition to “healthy microbes”. For this particular recipe, this promotes a round flavor, which I prefer.

      I hope this helps~


  • Hi! I made kimchi for the first time yesterday following your recipe. It’s delicious. When you eat kimchi with hot foods such as rice, do you heat the kimchi up? Thanks so much!!!

    • Rock on, Stacey! Congrats on your kimchi success. I remember how excited I was when I got it right after failing a few times!

      No, I don’t heat the kimchi up. It’s usually served cold in general. That being said, kimchi is delicious when it’s cooked as well. Kimchi gets milder and sweeter when it’s cooked. You can find a few recipes of mine, using kimchi as an ingredient on this website.

      I hope this helps,


  • Hi Sir, I wanna try making my own kimchi at home. I love eating kimchi but i find it very costly buying a little jar from the supermarket. But, can I use the normal chili powder available in the market instead of korean gochugaru, I dont know how it differs anyway or if it has any difference. Just to make sure. Thank you so much.

    • Hi Rewena,

      I agree. I noticed the price of kimchi had gone up as the importance of fermented foods in our diet has been more aware.

      First of all, you don’t have to use Korean gochugaru or chili powder to make kimchi. That is the most well-known type of kimchi. If you like spicy food, that might be the right one for you. It’s delicious and popular for that reason. That being said, you can use chili power, but it’ll impart a different flavor because they are two different ingredients.

      For more info about gochugaru, check out my free video here;

      Also, “The Ultimate Kimchi Recipe Book” covers how to substitute gochugaru and white kimchi (a type of kimchi without gochugaru). The book is for purchase.
      Here is the link if you are interested,

      I hope this helps. Btw, I am a woman, no sir =)

      Good luck with your kimchi adventure!


  • This kimchi recipe is PERFECT! I have tried several times to make kimchi. Never turned out just right. I made your recipe (vegan) and added a carrot, julienned, and a handful of green onions, chopped in 1-2 inch pieces. It turned out so good. I have already eaten about 2 pints of kimchi in 3 days…! Oops. ?

    • You rock the house, Midwesterner! How exciting! I am so glad that you had a great kimchi success. I remember how excited I was when I finally got it right after some failures.

      Oh… yeah… I also know how fast I can inhale kimchi when it’s prime and delicious.
      That’s the beauty of making your own kimchi. You can eat it all your want without giving your whole wallet to health food stores. I also love that you customized my recipe to suit your needs =).

      Thanks for sharing your story!



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