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How to make kimchi

Look after your gut and try something new too with this budget-friendly kimchi recipe from The Gut Health Doctor, Megan Rossi.

  1. Massage in the salt

    Rinse the cabbage leaves under running water, pat dry with kitchen paper, then chop to your desired thickness. Put in a bowl with the beetroot, add the salt and, with clean hands, firmly massage it into the vegetables. Salt is important for fermenting vegetables as it helps to draw the juices out and preserves the crispy crunch. The majority of it will get rinsed off. If you’re limiting salt, ferments can still work with lower levels, they just won’t last as long.

    Pour 500ml water over the cabbage and beetroot, then sit a plate on top to push the vegetables down so they are submerged. Set aside to soak for 2 hrs.

    Massage in the salt
  2. Rinse the veg

    Drain the cabbage and beetroot and, with the remaining water, rinse 3 times to get rid of the excess salt. Squeeze out any excess water, then return to the bowl.

    Chlorine found in tap water can inhibit the microbes required for fermentation – which is why you use bottled (or boiled and cooled) water for this recipe.

    Rinse the veg
  3. Prepare the flavourings

    Add the flavourings to the bowl and mix well. Mix and match flavourings as you like – you could also try adding cucumbers or chives.

    Prepare the flavourings
  4. Cover the kimchi

    Transfer the mixture to a sterilised 500ml jar and use a spoon to press it down so there’s a layer of liquid separating the raw kimchi and the air above. Put the small sterilised jar on top of the raw kimchi, making sure that all the vegetables are fully submerged.

    This helps remove oxygen, supporting the growth of the right types of microbes (which grow best without oxygen). With the small jar still inside, screw the lid on and leave at room temperature (ideally 18-22°C), out of direct sunlight, for 3 days.

    Cover the kimchi
  5. Unscrew the jar

    Each day, unscrew the lid for a few seconds to release any gas that has built up. Reseal. This allow the gases to escape regularly so the pressure doesn’t build up too much inside the jar. Think of it as 'burping' your kimchi!

    After 3 days your kimchi is ready for its first taste. It should have a slight acidic bite and softened crunch. If you’re missing that, leave for an extra 1-2 days.

    Unscrew the jar
  6. Enjoy your kimchi

    Once it’s reached your preferred flavour, remove the small jar and put the kimchi jar in the fridge with the lid sealed tight to trap the gas, creating the fizziness of traditional kimchi. Leave it for 2 weeks to allow the flavours to develop, then enjoy with eggs, salads or on crackers with feta. 

    Enjoy your kimchi
  7. Ingredients

    We've made a handy shopping list so you can get everything you need to make this kimchi. Don't forget to screenshot before you go shopping!

    75g white cabbage
    75g red cabbage
    50g fresh beetroot, peeled and chopped into matchsticks
    1.5ltrs bottled water (or boiled and cooled tap water)
    25g sea salt (don't worry, you won't be eating this!) 

    For the flavourings
    1 carrot (50g), scrubbed and grated
    1 spring onion, thinly sliced
    50g radishes, chopped into matchsticks
    1 garlic clove, finely sliced
    2.5cm piece ginger, peeled and grated
    ½ tsp chilli powder
    ½ tsp paprika
    1 tbsp reduced-salt soy sauce

    You will need
    500ml glass jar with lid, and a small glass jar that fits inside it, both sterilised*

    Makes 8 x 40g portions | Takes 10 mins plus 2 hrs soaking, about 3 days fermenting and 2 weeks in the fridge

    *To sterilise glass jars and bottles, wash in hot, soapy water and rinse well. Dry in the oven for 15-20 mins at gas 1, 140°C, fan 120°C until hot and completely dry. Boil metal lids and rubber seals for 10 mins, then leave to dry. 

    Each serving contains

    • Energy

    • Fat

      0g 0%
    • Saturates

      0g 0%
    • Sugars

      2g 2%
    • Salt

      0.3g 4%

    of the reference intake
    Carbohydrate 2.2g Protein 0.5g Fibre 1.2g