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  • Writer's pictureGabriele Wolf PhD ND

Kimchi Recipe (without fish sauce)

If enjoy tangy, spicy foods and are looking to add more beneficial nutrients into your diet, you may want to consider adding Kimchi to your diet. Kimchi is a probiotic lactic-acid bacteria (LAB) fermented vegetable food originating from Korea. It contains probiotics that boosts gut health, plus fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Read more about the importance of fermented foods in my blog article - The Importance of Fermentation.

It’s simple to prepare this dish at home with a variety of plant-based ingredients.


  • 1 medium head napa cabbage (about 2 pounds)

  • 2 Tbsp salt

  • Water, preferably distilled or filtered

  • 1 tablespoon grated garlic (5 to 6 cloves)

  • 1 teaspoon grated peeled fresh ginger

  • 1 to 5 tablespoons red pepper flakes

  • 4 medium scallions, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces


Cut the cabbage lengthwise through the stem into quarters. Cut the cores from each piece. Cut each quarter crosswise into 2-inch-wide strips.

Cut the spring onions in small pieces.

Add the spices.

Place the cabbage and spring onions in a large bowl and sprinkle with the salt. Using your hands, massage the salt into the cabbage until it starts to soften a bit. (You might want to wear gloves) Add enough water to cover the cabbage. Put a plate on top of the cabbage and weigh it down with something heavy, like a jar or can of beans.

Pack the kimchi into a 1-quart jar. Press down on the kimchi until the brine (the liquid that comes out) rises to cover the vegetables, leaving at least 1 inch of space at the top. Seal the jar.

Let the jar stand at cool room temperature, out of direct sunlight, for 1 to 5 days or longer. You may see bubbles inside the jar and brine may seep out of the lid.

Check the kimchi once a day, opening the jar and pressing down on the vegetables with a clean finger or spoon to keep them submerged under the brine. (This also releases gases produced during fermentation.) Taste a little at this point, too! When the kimchi tastes ripe enough for your liking, transfer the jar to the refrigerator. You may eat it right away, but it's best after another week or two.

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