KimChi – more than pepped-up Sauerkraut!

Here is another stunning fermented vegetable recipe. I am pleased to announce it is purely plant-based, so no fish sauce or other ingredients of dubious origin have been used 🙂

KimChiAt first I was concerned that all the spicy ingredients, which are natural anti-biotics would stunt the fermentation process. And yes, it slows the fermentation down a wee bit but not too much – if you leave it out at room temperature like sauerkraut. The batch in the picture above and to the left was made like  sauerkraut and worked out perfectly.

You have the option though to make the KimChi without adding the spicy chili paste to it initially. Let the vegetable mix ferment in peace first and store the chili paste in a thick-walled glass jar (it might burn holes in any fragile vessel *Twinkle*) Once the fermentation has stopped – after 3-4 days, add the chili paste to taste.
The chili paste can be kept indefinitely in the fridge.

Here comes the recipe. It is the shortened form of a very thorough description I found years ago on this website:

Makes 3-4l of KimChi


  • 1 head cabbage, shredded finely
  • 3 carrots, shredded
  • 2 cucumbers or zucchini, shredded
  • 3 heads broccoli, shredded
  • 1 apple, diced
  • 2 small oranges, juiced
  • 2 t sea salt (more if needed)
  • 1T Apple Cider Vinegar
  • ¼ c Sesame seeds
Chili Paste

  • 3.5 red onions
  • 1 head of garlic
  • 1 small hand ginger
  • 4 soft flesh pieces of preserved lemons, optional
  • 2T Apple Cider Vinegar
  • fresh or frozen chilies, amount according to desired heat
  • ½ t natural sea salt
  • 1T toasted sesame oil, to cover the finished product when storing in a glass jar
  1. Prepare the vegetables by massaging with sea salt like Sauerkraut. Add diced apple, orange juice, sesame seeds and Apple Cider Vinegar and mix well.
  2. Prepare chili paste in a blender and balance flavours. Keep the toasted sesame oil aside for later!
  3. Now mix some of the chili paste with the vegetable mixture and massage with your hands. Test flavour and add more if desired. Keep left over chili paste in a glass jar. Cover top with a layer of toasted sesame oil to prevent oxidization and store in fridge.
  4. This Kimchi can be eaten immediately. Stored in the fridge in a sealed glass jar it will develop a stronger flavour over time and even ferment. Alternatively weigh the top down as when making Sauerkraut (cover top with plastic bag to keep the bugs out!) and leave it sitting in a bowl to catch any bubbling liquids that might escape the jar (see picture below!) on your kitchen counter or in your hot water closet for a week or so. Then take the weight and cover off. Seal the jar with a lid and transfer to fridge.

KimChi bowlAlternatively ferment Kimchi vegetables first, like in the Sauerkraut recipe. After 3-4 days you can add the chili paste and transfer the jar into your fridge.

What else can I say but:
‘Best of Success!’



6 thoughts on “KimChi – more than pepped-up Sauerkraut!

  1. Hi Rene I’m looking forward to the September workshops at Albany Lodge. My wife will be arriving in Auckland 9th September, only a week away “WOW”. She’s excited too! Next weekend I will be in Auckland and would like to purchase more of your goodies. Brenda (Village Organics) has a list(20+) of interested clients wanting to do your workshops. Hei kona mai. NA Jack Porima


  2. Hi Rene, I was at your crowed workshop in Horshamdowns which was great, really enjoyed the brine pickels. At the event someone asked you if one could use whole cabbages, I have whatched a Korean make KimChi with a whole chinese cabbage, whose leaves are slightly losser than the western type. She just opened the leaves from the outside in rubbing salt and spices (and fish sauce) in to the individual leaves. When she was down to the middle they completed cabbage was put aside for about half an hour before we ate it! Not everyone likes KinChi but I am mad for it and this one was very good.
    I do have a question; I noted that you used pink sea salt. I would like to try crude ground red rock salt (as used for animals) have you used it before? I have become conviced rock salt contains all the minerals one needs.


    • Hi Bob,
      Sounds marvellous! Not sure the dish you described is what we/Koreans normally understand as KimChi – although it sounds delicious! 🙂
      My understanding of KimChi (mostly read in Sandor Katz’ books) is that KimChi has to ferment (anaerobic process) over several weeks/months.
      It would be worth an experiment to play with loosely grown whole cabbages and pickle them in brine.
      If the salt is food grade, use it! I use the Himalayan Crystal Salt, New Zealand natural sea salt and also food grade Dead Sea salt.
      Have Fun!


  3. Dear Rene,
    I really enjoy getting your emails with so many wonderful infos!
    We have really taken to the bone broth idea. I remember from my childhood, that there was no meal at my grandparents or great grandparents, without a bone broth and some contents that would hint towards the meal we were about to receive. A habit that has died, but I am sure was very valuable.
    Love and hug to you both and keep your infos coming.


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