Make Ahead

How To Make Vegan Kimchi

September 30, 2014
0 Ratings
  • Makes 2.2 lbs
Author Notes

If cabbage ever had to claim its fame, it would be for Kimchi. A spicy Korean fermented pickle with a punchy sour flavour to tickle your giblets and enough tartness to make you sassy mouth, the Kimchi has a fanatic global following which has been amplified by its status as healthy gut food. It is no secret that fermented food is good for you. The good bacteria that are the hallmark of fermented foods not only heal your gut (the largest organ in your body and a crucial one to your overall health and well being), they aid in digestion, weight loss and balancing the acids in your stomach. This version of kimchi is made vegan by the use of dried porcini mushroom and seaweed for the wonderfully addictive umami flavour. —Sneh Roy | Cook Republic

What You'll Need
  • 1 Napa cabbage (wombok/wong bok/Chinese leaf/asian cabbage) quartered lengthways and sliced into 2 inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 12 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons Korean pepper powder
  • 1 tablespoon raw sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped dried porcini mushroom
  • 1 tablespoon chopped nori (dried seaweed)
  • 8 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh grated ginger
  • 1 cup grated/ribboned white radish/daikon
  • 2 chopped scallions (whites and greens)
  1. Place chopped cabbage, water and salt in a super large bowl. Press down on the cabbage to make sure it is submerged under the salted water. Cover with cling wrap (put some weight on top if you have to). Soak overnight or at least 8 hours.
  2. Prepare all the other ingredients and place them in a small bowl. Unwrap the cabbage bowl and drain all the water. Remove the cabbage into separate super large bowl. Add the spice and radish mix to the cabbage and mix gently with your hands until the cabbage is thoroughly coated with the spices. -
  3. Spoon the cabbage mix and any liquid that has accumulated in a large 5 litre glass jar with a tight lid. (I used a 5 litre Fido jar with a flip top suction lid). Secure the lid tightly and place the jar in a quiet corner of your kitchen. Within the first half an hour, you will notice the cabbage settling down as it sweats and more liquid is released. An hour later, the level of the cabbage would have sunk further. Leave the jar to rest undisturbed in this spot for 48 hours. During this time, you will notice that the empty space in the jar is starting to get cloudy. This is the beautiful fermentation gases brewing and working their magic to create a tart kimchi.
  4. After the 48 hours have passed, your kimchi is ready to eat. If you desire a stronger tasting kimchi, rest the jar for another day or two. Once you are satisfied with the taste, spoon the kimchi in all it’s glory into a large 3 litre jar or three 1 litre jars and store in the fridge for up to 3 or 4 weeks.
  5. Note - Korean pepper powder also known as Kochugaru or Gochugaru is a specialty spice mix that can be sourced from your local Asian supermarket. It is a mix often made up of coarsely ground Korean red pepper and salt. It can be substituted by grinding 3 tablespoons red chilli flakes, 1 tablespoon smoked paprika and 1 teaspoon salt in a mortar and pestle. A pinch of cayenne pepper can be added to this mix for extra heat.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Marlene Tramonte
    Marlene Tramonte
  • Sneh Roy | Cook Republic
    Sneh Roy | Cook Republic
  • Misty

3 Reviews

Marlene T. December 23, 2015
Thank you for this recipe. it came out great!
Sneh R. August 16, 2015
Hi Misty! Typically kimchi would have dried shrimp paste or fish sauce. But I subbed that with nori to make this a Vegan version and still retain some of that elusive umami flavour. You could sub the nori with fish sauce if you can have that in your diet. Otherwise red miso paste also makes an excellent substitute. Hope that helps :-) x
Misty August 12, 2015
I have everything but the nori, is that just for the salty flavor or is there another function for it in this recipe? I looked for substitutions, but only found other seaweeds, which I don't have either. I would like to substitute soy sauce. Is that a good option? I have never made or eaten kimchee-too much like sour kraut, which from the few times I had it is pretty vile stuff. Now research shows that fermented foods are supposed to be very healthy. The ingredient lists for kimchee might make me a convert. I could buy some but I only find large jars that are pretty pricey for something I might not like. Thanks for any help you can give.