Easy Lacto-Fermented Kimchi

Kimchi is one of those hot, hot things right now. (Quite literally.) And this Easy Lacto-Fermented Kimchi recipe I’m going to share with you… is JUST SO DOABLE, that your fear of making this elusive thing will be forgotten…forever…I hope.

Kimchi is a traditional, spicy, fermented Korean condiment — but you’re likely seeing it more and more, on menus, and for sale in shops. This is wonderful. But I can’t even properly express to you how exciting it is to make your own. Not only that… it’s insanely less expensive, and the method I’m about to teach you uses ingredients you can literally find ANYWHERE.

That’s right. You do NOT need fancy pants ingredients, found only in specialty markets, to make this delicious thing. Traditionally it calls for salted fermented shrimp and Korean chili peppers or paste. But these can be easily substituted, which is what we’ve done here.

Easy Lacto-Fermented Kimchi

Easy Lacto-Fermented Kimchi

And thanks to the new Mortier Pilon line (I LOVE YOU MP, AND YOU’RE CANADIAN), it’s even simpler than before.

(You should know: While quantities last, if people spend $40 or more on MP products they will receive the cookbook FREE valued at $29.95!!! I’m not an affiliate. Just a fan. xo. And Bradshaws is featured in the LCBO Food & Drink Magazine with MP this season.)

This is the latest instalment of my new fermentation series. I’m going to hold your hand, take you through the steps, so you feel you can easily conquer making lacto-fermented kimchi all on your own.

If you need a reminder on why eating fermented foods is so essential for good health: The Art of Real Food Fermentation

And if you’d like a recipe for VERY simple sauerkraut instructions: Easy Lacto-Fermented Sauerkraut

Now where were we?

There are a number of ingredients in this recipe, and a number of steps, too. But that doesn’t mean it’s difficult. It just means you need to follow this so you don’t get overwhelmed 🙂

Using a Mortier Pilon crock

Making kimchi using a Mortier Pilon crock

STEP ONE: Items Needed To Get Started

FIRST INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 nappa cabbage
  • 1/3 – 1/2 cup kosher salt
  • clean dishtowel
Some kimchi ingredients

Some kimchi ingredients

Some MORE kimchi ingredients

Some MORE kimchi ingredients

OTHER INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cups water
  • 3 Tbsp rice flour
  • 1 Tbsp raw sugar
  • 5 – 6 large cloves garlic, peeled
  • 3 Tbsp ginger, chopped coarsely
  • 1 onion, chopped into 4 chunks
  • 1/2 cup fish sauce
  • 2 Tbsp chilies (flakes or whole)
  • 2 Tbsp Sambal Oelek (or more)
  • 1 daikon radish, julienned (if you can’t find one then skip this)
  • 4 round red radish, or 1 long red radish, julienned
  • 3 or 4 carrots, julienned
  • 6 scallions, including leafy green parts

(This recipe, and the ingredients used, have been adapted from the Mortier Pilon Fermention Recipe Book. I wanted to try using their method for this — and it turned out more than splendidly. You can get this book for free. Check the Bradshaws IG account and find out more.) 

EQUIPMENT:

Let’s get started…

Salting the nappa cabbage

Salting the nappa cabbage

Cover salted nappa cabbage with dishtowel

Cover salted nappa cabbage with dishtowel

STEP TWO: Preparing The Cabbage

Cut cabbage in half, lengthwise.

Submerge in a bowl or a sink filled with cold water and remove as much dirt as you can.

Shake as much water off as you can, then place on a cutting board.

Generously sprinkle salt all the over the cabbage leaves, separating the leaves to salt in between the crevices — especially on the thicker, tougher part of the leaves near the core.

Cover with a clean dishtowel and leave for at least 3 hours, up to 10. (I left this last batch for about 5 hours.)

Rinsed nappa leaves draining

Rinsed nappa leaves draining

After the salted cabbage has rested at least 3 hours, rinse it really well and remove all the salt. Cut the halves into quarters, remove the core, separate leaves and let them drain completely in a colander, until dry.

Rice mixture with minced garlic, onion, ginger, chili and fish sauce

Rice mixture with minced garlic, onion, ginger, chili and fish sauce

STEP THREE: Preparing The Remaining Ingredients

Combine 2 cups of water with the rice flour, whisking it together. Bring to a simmer and remove from the heat. Whisk in the sugar, transfer the mixture to a bowl, and let it cool completely.

In a food processor, place the garlic, ginger, onion, and chilies (if they are whole). Blitz a few times, until they are minced. Add this and the fish sauce to the rice flour mixture. Stir together.

Mixing the goodness

Mixing the goodness

STEP FOUR: Mixing The Whole Gananza

Place the dry nappa leaves into a large bowl. Add the remaining veggies and the rice flour chili mixture. Mix really well, making sure all the leaves are covered in the yummy goo.

Pushing it into the crock

Pushing it into the crock

Making Kimchi

Packing into mason jars

STEP FIVE: Packing It In

Transfer the cabbage leaves to the crock or mason jar. Push the veggies down so they are submerged in the liquid.

Storing your kimchi for fermentation

Storing your kimchi for fermentation

STEP SIX: Storing Your Fermenting Kimchi

Lightly apply a lid to the mason jar (if using), but do not close it tightly.

The Mortier Pilon crock has a really cool feature. There is a space on the lid (that screws onto the crock) for you to pour in some water. Once you’re done that, the final lid gets place on top of the water, but prevents it from closing/sealing completely — allowing gas to escape.

Place the jar or crock in a bowl or on a tray to catch any water that may spill over. Place the jar or crock in a cupboard of an inner wall.

Ferment your kimchi at room temperature for 4 to 5 days before serving. Once fermented to your liking, close the lid on tightly (or transfer from your crock to a sterilized jar) and refrigerate. This will halt or slow the fermenting process.


See…I told you it was easy. Easy peasy.

For the PRINTABLE, EASY-TO-READ VERSION –> Easy Lacto-Fermented Kimchi Recipe (this one doesn’t have photos)

And if you think this is so fun and you want to share the joy — please pass along to your people or share on social media. To be honest, it’s really rather fun to make a pile of sauerkraut with other people. 


We are eating lots of yummy, nourishing, gorgeous foods…INCLUDING ferments…and celebrating the Harvest — on the upcoming Fall Community Dump. Sign up HERE and be the first to know what it is and when it opens. 

Sara  xo

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