• Yield: Makes about 6 cups

Cook's Note: Have ready a clean pair of latex and rubber gloves. You'll use them for mixing the kimchi.


A salt-water soak helps to soften the green cabbage leaves and in a matter of hours this kimchi goes from raw to crunch. It's delicious with or without the chives, and goes great with a bowl of hot rice.



  • 1 medium head green cabbage (1-1/2 pounds)

  • 1 cup water

  • 1 tablespoon fine-grain sea salt or kosher salt

  • 1/2 bunch garlic chives or regular chives, cut into 1-1/2-inch lengths

  • 5 tablespoons Kimchi Paste (recipe follows)

  • Two 1-gallon plastic zippered bags

Kimchi Paste:


Makes about 3 cups


  • 1 cup Korean coarse red pepper flakes

  • 1/2 cup water

  • 4 tablespoons garlic paste

  • 2 teaspoons peeled and minced fresh ginger

  • 1 tablespoon fine-grain sea salt or kosher salt

  • 2 tablespoons sugar

  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce

  • 5 tablespoons fish sauce

Makes 6 tablespoons

  • 1/4 cup Korean coarse red pepper flakes

  • 2 tablespoons water

  • 1 tablespoon garlic paste

  • 1/2 teaspoon peeled and minced ginger

  • 1 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt or kosher salt

  • 2 teaspoons sugar

  • 2 teaspoons oyster sauce

  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce



1. Core the cabbage and cut into bite-size pieces.


2. In a large glass or stainless steel bowl add the water and salt. Add the cabbage to the water and salt mixture and soak for 2 hours. Drain the water from the cabbage.


3. Add the Kimchi Paste to the cabbage. Put on your gloves (see Cook's Note above) and mix the Kimchi Paste into the cabbage. Add the chives and mix together.


4. Divide the cabbage into the two plastic bags, filling each bag only 3/4 full. Do not close the bag.


5. From the bottom of the bag, roll the cabbage forward, pressing the air out of the bag as your go. Once you reach the top and the air has been released, close the bag. Store the bags in the refrigerator for 1 day. Transfer the cabbage to an airtight container. This will keep in the refrigerator for 2 weeks.


Kimchi Paste


Making kimchi becomes an easy task with a jar of this on hand. In many cases, all you are doing is salting the vegetables, discarding liquid and mixing in a few spoonfuls of this paste. 


Not just for making kimchi, this paste is also used in flavoring hot pots and soups. In Korea, an anchovy sauce is used as an ingredient to aid in the fermentation process. We use the more widely available Thai or Vietnamese fish sauce. We've provided two yields for this essential paste. For ease of preparation, we recommend making the larger batch.


Mix the ingredients together in a medium bowl with a rubber spatula until you have a smooth paste. Store this paste in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It will last for 2 months.

Reprinted from The Korean Table: From Barbecue to Bibimbap by Taekyung Chung and Debra Samuels (Charles E. Tuttle Company, 2008). Copyright 2008 by Taekyung Chung and Debra Samuels.

Taekyung Chung is the author of several cookbooks, including The Korean Table. She is a frequent contributor to newspapers and magazines and has taught Korean cooking for 20 years.
Debra Samuels is an author—most recently of The Korean Table, a cooking teacher, and a food writer and stylist for The Boston Globe. She developed the "Kids Are Cooking" series on food, culture and nutrition for Boston's Children's Museum.