3 lbs Napa cabbage
about 2 heads of medium napa cabbage
1/4 cup kosher salt
1 cup water
1 Tbs sweet rice flour
1 Tbs turbinado sugar
1/4 cup garlic
1 tsp ginger
1/2 medium onion
1/4 cup tamari
1 cup Korean hot pepper flakes
1 cup radishes
1 cup carrots
4 green onions
1/2 cup Asian chives
  • onggi
Although labor intensive, this is the most traditional form of Korean kimchi. Typically fermented in an onggi, a clay crock that is left to ferment in the corner of the yard and buried in the winter so the kimchi doesn't freeze.
To split a cabbage in half without shredding the densely packed leaves inside, first cut a short slit in the base of cabbage, enough to get a grip on either half, and then gently pull halves apart so cabbage splits open.
Cut a slit through core of each half, 2 inches above stem. You want cabbage leaves to be loose but still attached to core.
Dunk halves in a large basin of water to get them wet. Sprinkle salt between leaves by lifting up every leaf and getting salt in there. Use more salt closer to the stems, where leaves are thicker.
Let cabbages rest for 2 hours. Turn over every 30 minutes, so they get well salted. From time to time you can ladle some of the salty water from the bottom of the basin over top of cabbages.
After 2 hours, wash cabbage halves a few times under cold running water. Giving them a good washing, to remove salt and any dirt. As you wash, split halves into quarters along slits you cut into earlier. Cut off cores, and put them in a strainer over a basin so they can drain well.
While cabbage is salting for 2 hours, and in between the times you’re turning it over, you can make the porridge:
Combine water and sweet rice flour in a small pot. Mix well with a wooden spoon and let it cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes, until it starts to bubble. Add sugar and cook 1 more minute, stirring. Remove from heat and let it cool off completely.
Place garlic, ginger, and onion in a large mixing bowl. Add tamari and hot pepper flakes. Mix well with cooled sweet rice flour mixture until it turns into a thin paste.
Add radishes, carrots, green onions, and Asian chives, and mix well.
Spread some kimchi paste on each cabbage leaf. When every leaf in a quarter is covered with paste, wrap it around itself into a small packet, and put into your jar, plastic container, or onggi.
The kimchi will start fermenting a day or two at room temperature, depending on the temperature and humidity of the room. The warmer and more humid it is, the faster the kimchi will ferment. Once it starts to ferment it will smell and taste sour, and pressing on the top of the kimchi with a spoon will release bubbles from beneath.
Ferment for a week to a month, or until desired fermentation flavor has been reached, then store in refrigerator until consumed.
source: adapted from
Yield: 4 pounds
May substitute fish sauce for tamari for a non-vegetarian, soy-free option