Chile Pepper

Mak Kimchi

January  9, 2013
1 Ratings
Photo by Sara Remington
  • Makes 1 jar
Author Notes

In this recipe for Mak Kimchi, “Mak” which means simple, common or everyday in Korean, features a quick dry salt brine that calls for just enough salt to initiate fermentation and season the vegetables. A light rinse ensures that a balance of sweetness and salinity of the cabbage is achieved. Within three days of fermentation, you’ll have a homemade batch of crunchy, spicy and tangy kimchi whose flavors will develop in complexity as it continues to age. —Lauryn Chun

What You'll Need
  • 1 head (1.5 to 2 pounds) napa cabbage or green cabbage, cut into 2-by-1-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons Kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon peeled, finely grated fresh ginger
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 3 tablespoons Korean chile pepper flakes (gochugaru)
  • 4 green onions, green parts only, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup yellow onion, thinly sliced
  1. In a large bowl, combine the cabbage with the salt and set aside for about 50 minutes. Drain the liquid and very lightly rinse the cabbage just enough to remove any traces of salt. Drain the cabbage completely in a colander for about 10-15 minutes.
  2. Mix garlic, ginger, fish sauce, and sugar until a paste forms. Mix in the chile pepper flakes and let the paste combine for 15 minutes.
  3. In a large bowl, mix together the green onions, yellow onions, the seasoning paste, and the cabbage until combined thoroughly making sure the seasoning paste is distributed evenly. Pack the mixture tightly into a quart size glass container pressing down as you fill the container. Add 1/4 cup water to the mixing bowl, and swirl the water around to collect the remaining seasoning paste. Add the water to the container, cover tightly, and set aside for 3 days at room temperature. The cabbage will expand as it ferments, so be sure to place the jar on a plate or in a bowl to catch the overflow. Refrigerate and consume within 6 months to a year. Tip: You can check the fermentation by opening the lid; you should see some bubbling juices and taste the tanginess of the freshly pickled cabbage. It will keep fermenting slowly in the jar for up to 6 months. The flavor will evolve and change with time—and a steady cold temperature will ensure an even, slow fermentation.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • schiugriffin
  • Lauryn Chun
    Lauryn Chun
  • Brenda
  • foodfighter
  • Carmas
I am the founder of Mother-in-Law's Kimchi, a line of artisan kimchi based on an original recipe from Jang Mo Jip ("Mother-in-Law's Kimchi"), my mother's beloved restaurant in Garden Grove, California. From my mother's kitchen to working in the fine dining and wine industries, my deep love for food and wine led me from the Rhone Valley and Spain to Italy's hills, where I worked harvesting grapes. While living in New York City, I recognized the beauty of Korea's tradition of handcrafted kimchi, which inspired me to launch Mother-in-Law's Kimchi in 2009

15 Reviews

weshook June 1, 2013
I made this a couple months ago and I love having it in my refrigerator. Lately, one of my favorite ways of eating it is to combine it with some broth and leftover rice (and sometimes some other vegetables) and heat it up for a quick soup. Yum!
Lauryn C. June 2, 2013
Wonderful and versatile, kimchi does go with everything. We served some with lasagne which was a perfect, tangy flavor booster. A new a take on a side dish to lasagne!
schiugriffin January 23, 2013
We travel to Hawaii, every fall and have local friends on the Islands, on our last trip one of our friends made Kimchi fried rice. It was amazing, simple, easy and very clean dish. It consisted of rice, fresh veggies, meat or fish and diced Kimchi.
schiugriffin January 23, 2013
Great kimchi, I added more chilli to our batch. Can't believe how much we go through of it now
Lauryn C. January 23, 2013
Fantastic! Chile flakes vary in heat so ok to adjust accordingly to your taste. It's all about adjusting and experimenting-making it your own signature recipe. Let us know what new ways you use kimchi & favorite dishes with kimchi.
Lauryn C. January 14, 2013
In step 3, after you have mixed the brined cabbage with seasoning thoroughly, pack kimchi tightly in a quart size jar, adding the remaining seasoning. Place the lid on the jar (not a seal since this is not canning) by screwing it or a clamp style hermetic jar. Tip: you can also add a piece of plastic wrap on top if you are worried about the top layer exposure to oxygen but not necessary.
Lauryn C. January 13, 2013
A quart size jar.
uhma January 13, 2013
What sized jar?
Brenda January 13, 2013
What effect does leaving out the fish sauce have?
Lauryn C. January 13, 2013
Fish sauce adds an umami component, back notes of savory flavors that modify the high acidity and tanginess of fermentation. Use of proteins such as shrimp paste, fish sauce, and stocks provide your kimchi seasoning with base of flavors. Think about when you add anchovy paste to tomato sauce vs. only tomatoes, garlic and basil. The tanginess and back notes of flavor are distinctively different.
foodfighter January 13, 2013
most asian markets will have the korean chili pepper. you could try to order online at:

When you put the kimchi in the jar do you seal it completely?
Curteslee January 14, 2013
When you put the Kimchi in the jar do you seal it completely?
Carmas January 13, 2013
I'm into this recipe, and I'd also be curious if you could recommend any "Online" avenue's for the gochugaru?
Lauryn C. January 13, 2013
Gochugaru is available on our Food52 Shop page as well as on our website and search online for Korean grocery online shops. Bear in mind that quality of chile flakes is important and all vary so best to stick with highest quality you can find.
stephanieRD January 12, 2013
wow I really want to try making this! I'm a little fuzzy on where to purchase gochugaru though... ;/