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Should I attempt to make kimichi?!!

I LOVE korean food and my mother in law gives us tons of kimchi every few months but as the years are going by and I am starting to master more Korean recipes (I'm Korean by association ^_^) , the one thing I am too intimidated to attempt is making kimchi.
Does anybody have experience making some or is it going to be too hard/messy/easy to mess up,,,,?

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  1. Kimchi, kimichi (I've even seen it spelled Gimchi) is perhaps the easiest recipes I can call to mind. Just be sure that everything you use is impeccably clean (e.g. sterile) and you shouldn't have any problems.

    1. Please do try making some! I'm soooo not Korean (Irish-American, but in my defense, we do have our own cabbage thing going) but it's so easy, tasty, satisfying, and inexpensive. Instructions are easily available on the web. One good source: http://wildfermentation.com/

      I got my fermentation jars from this site:
      but there's plenty of other places. Plus you don't actually need these, they just make it easier to keep things contained and clean.

      Would love to hear as you try and will try to help if you need. :)

      5 Replies
      1. re: DuchessNukem

        DuchessNukem - do you use Kefir Whey for your kimchi? I just made my first batch of kefir kraut, wondering if I can apply the same process to kimchi by using some of the recipes on this thread and simply adding a tbsp or so of the whey.


        1. re: creativeusername

          Creative -- I just use whey from yogurtmaking. But seems no reason not to use kefir whey; when I googled "kimchi kefir whey", seems lots of folks use it. One discussion forum suggested it might make the kimchi mushy, but others seemed to have no troubles.

          Hoe did the kraut turn out? That's your first indicator of how the kimchi will go.

          1. re: DuchessNukem

            The kraut is delicious: crunchy, fresh, and with a bright flavor. Raw kraut is my new favorite sandwich condiment. I'll let you know how the kefir-kimchi goes!

            1. re: DuchessNukem

              fyi, kefir kimchi batch 1 turned out delicious. Not mushy at all. Super easy. And I'm lazy so I didn't pre-salt the cabbage like I've seen on some sights. For batch 2, I may a little more whey (I only used 1 tbsp for a quart jar...how much yogurt whey do you use?) and I will leave it to sit a couple more days before moving it to the fridge. I couldn't wait. It looked so good!

              1. re: creativeusername

                The basic recipe I use is Sally Fallon's from Nourishing Traditions (lots of really BAD science but terrific recipes). Four TBSP whey for 2 quarts of kimchi.

                Glad your kefir kimchi is great! This afternoon I'm decanting my mung bean kimchi, hope it's tasty.

        2. Yes, give it a go! Making kimchi at home has been very rewarding for me, especially because I am crazy about cucumber kimchi (so quick and delicious). I also love making my own napa cabbage kimchi because I can eat it fresh, as well as in soups and fried rice as it ages. I am still no expert, but my kimchi has definitely improved over the last few years. It's not as good as my mom's friend's, but better than buying it. I'd also use the expertise of your mother-in-law to find out any secrets she has to making her kimchi. My mom's korean friend always adds freshly chopped cayenne peppers. Good luck with this and I hope to read about your kimchi making soon.

          1. I've bookmarked the following site with all good intentions of making KImchi myself one day. This site has photos of each step along with the very easy looking recipe.


            1 Reply
            1. re: Gio

              Gio - thanks so much for this link! I just capped two large jars of this. I read your post this morning and got a craving for it. I didn't have time to go to the Asian market near me so I decided to try this with ground cayenne pepper instead. I think it worked beautifully! I also left out the pear because I forgot to pick one up. I made the onion/apple mixture in a blender and added the ginger and garlic to it, blended it all up and let it come to room temp while the cabbage soaked in the salt water. I also added some chopped carrots to the cabbage for extra crunch. I put it all together as instructed at the end of the day but night have gone a little overboard with the fish sauce, if such a thing is possible. It's crunchy, fiery, a little sweet, and has a depp fishy richness to it. Tomorrow night I'll put it in the fridge. Thank you so much for posting it.

            2. Whenever I went to a Korean market, I almost always purchased some Kimchi, but in the last year or so, I've notice it has basically doubled in price on the gallon size, and more so on the smaller sizes....all while the cost of the ingredients have not changed significantly in the same time frame.

              From a practical view, it makes sense to make it at home....especially,.as others have noted, how simple it is to make.

              1. Maanchi (from Youtube) made Emergency Kimchi today. It's fast and easy...good for a first timer.

                1. Kimchi is very easy to make, CHOW just developed one that I hope you'll try!


                  Christine Gallary, CHOW Test Kitchen

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: christinegallary

                    Thanks so much Christine !

                    With the inspiration from all these posters, we made two batches of Kimchi. Your recipe and slightly sweeter Dr Kims from Gio's post above. Both were very easy to make and both turned out FANTASTIC !!

                    Also wanted to thank you for the other uses of kimchi. Tonight it's your brussel sprout dish (since BPs are in season), and soon the braised ribs. Also on the list is another stew - Kimchichigae :

                    1. re: PoppiYYZ

                      Sounds great, thanks so much for the feedback! That other stew looks really good.

                  2. Yes. I think you should go for it. I did a smallish batch after watching a video on Youtube. It came out great. I did it in plastic tubs. Do one and see how it turns out and then you can start tinkering with the next batch. It is not messy. It is not hard.

                    I will post the one I watched that I think is very good: http://www.youtube.com/user/Maangchi#...

                    It really is fun!

                    10 Replies
                    1. re: Sal Vanilla

                      plus her videos are so much fun!!!! She actually held a Kimchi contest in NYC last summer...♥

                      1. re: Sal Vanilla

                        I love Maangchi's recipe. I was going to recommend her video too. It's so easy to follow, but I did not put the squid in mine, just the fish sauce.

                        Savvy, so did you ever try making it

                        I posted a pic of mine :o)

                        1. re: BombayUpWithaTwist

                          Oh, man, BombayUp, that looks gooooooood. Guess I need to make up a new batch now. :)

                          1. re: DuchessNukem

                            Thanks Duchess! I love KimChi and when I found out it's not that difficult to make I make it often now. I wish that I had a KimChi refrigerator;o)

                            1. re: BombayUpWithaTwist

                              Well I bubbled up a small batch (scant half-gallon) over the weekend; just for grins, squirted some Sriracha in on last mix before fermenting Salty, burning-ly spicy, fresh and seriously addictive.

                              So, this week will have to be spent trying it on on hot dogs, ramen, over fresh sliced cucumbers, and in soup. Anyone feel sorry for me? :^)

                              1. re: DuchessNukem

                                Good for you Duchess! You can never have enough Kimchi and seriously, you can eat it with everything like you listed;o) I put it in leftover spaghetti and meat sauce!

                                I like how you "bubbled" a batch...lol

                                1. re: DuchessNukem

                                  You might want to keep an eye on that batch - according to my research, ingredients that contain chemical preservatives should not be used when preparing kimchi for the fermentation process. The preservatives can kill the lactobacilli,.....or something like that.
                                  Most "off the shelf" Sriracha's have chemical preservatives.
                                  When I want spicy and don't have either authentic korean red pepper powder, supermarket "kimchi powder" packets, or fresh peppers, I just make a non-spicy batch of kimchi and add Sriracha just before serving/eating.

                                  1. re: Bryan Pepperseed

                                    Bryan, I did think about the Sriracha before squirting, decided if the batch went ugly, it was small enough to just dump. Smells great, tastes great, and as yet no untoward GI effects, tetany, or death. The batch has been bottled and is in the fridge; it won't last past Sunday at the rate I'm eating it. :)

                                    I probably won't add it again, it was just a whim. Wouldn't recommend it for first-timers but I knew what the baseline should look/taste like.

                                    1. re: DuchessNukem

                                      I was also thinking that if you love Kimchi that a half gallon would be eaten pretty fast :-)

                                      1. re: DuchessNukem

                                        Had a feeling that you knew what you were doing, but I thought I'd mention it just in case.

                          2. You absolutely should! It's not as daunting as you seem to think and it's well worth giving it a go. Good luck!

                            1. I'd always been a little too intimidated to try making kimchi since my mother is so good at it and always supplies me with large amounts. A few years ago, I started bugging her to make it spicier, but she just wouldn't give in. So I started making some extra spicy on my own. After the first batch came out successful, I started experimenting with other vegetables. I've made kimchi now using squash, leeks, kale, peppers and anything else that looks good at the market. After you get the basics down, it starts to get fun. I say go for it!

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: soypower

                                That's great that you use so many different veggies!

                                1. re: BombayUpWithaTwist

                                  In honor of spring...Next up, Asparagus kimchi!

                              2. But - if there's someone who's making spectacular kimchee for sale nearby, why not just support them and spare your household the bubblyubblyness?

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: rcallner

                                  Usually there isn't spectacular kimchee around, it's cheaper to make at home, you can control what you want in it and it's kinda fun :o)

                                2. Well I have first time seen this Korean recipe Kim chi...... Love to find new recipes and make them for my hommies :)

                                  1. I tried that basic recipe that Chowhound posted on FB about a month ago and was astonished with how well it worked out. My 5 year old and I made it. It was completely convincing and fun and way cheaper than buying it made.

                                    I used it on burgers, sandwiches and as a side. Yum!

                                    1. And just one more thing to do with your kimchi, for all you hot-heads :) -- last night I threw some into the dehydrator. Some I left intact and the rest I ran through the food processor and spread as a paste on the sheets.

                                      Now I have a crunchy hot snack (that really needs to be cut with some non-spicy nuts and plain dehydrated veggies) and kimchi powder/flake that will be seasoning everything I can think of (potatoes, steak, rice, dressing, ramen...). Salty, spicy, cabbage-y; just going to have to spend the weekend apologizing for my breath. :^)

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: DuchessNukem

                                        ooo whata great idea! I've done a few small batches of kimchee. So far we've eaten it all but i love the idea of kimchee leather :-)

                                      2. Guess What,,,, I DID IT! :) Thanks to all of your encouragement I finally decided, KIMCHI OR BUST! It actually tastes delish - I do say so myself ^_^ Had some empty jars of kimchi leftover that I had saved for this very day too, double smile :)

                                        9 Replies
                                        1. re: SavvyBitesBlog

                                          Way to go! And it looks lovely. See, we told you it was easy. Isn't it satisfying to be a bacteria rancher? :)

                                          Consider this for a next project: sprout your own radish and mung bean sprouts (yep, I checked out your blog, very nice!). It's amazing how fresh home-sprouted tiny greens, can enhance a recipe.

                                          1. re: DuchessNukem

                                            Awww thanks you SO much for the lovely compliments, it really meant the world to have my fellow chowhound buddies support! haha I will def betaking on more ambition tasks! XOXO

                                          2. re: SavvyBitesBlog

                                            Great job and fantastic pictures, SavvyBites!

                                            So, how do you like it better - fresh or fermented?

                                            1. re: inaplasticcup

                                              Thanks for your support! I like fresh very much but LOVE fermented, actually the kimchi started fermenting within 24 hours!!! I left it in a col dark place (pantry) for 2 days then stored in the fridge, I was so shocked/happy/excited, yes this is the kind of thing that gets me going,,, lol

                                              1. re: SavvyBitesBlog

                                                Savvy, so glad that you finally took the plunge! You did a great job, looks delicious :o)

                                                1. re: BombayUpWithaTwist

                                                  (giddy) Thank you thank you! My Korean friends were SHOCKED to hear I had mad eit and double shocked when it actually tasted good ! lol ^_^

                                                  1. re: SavvyBitesBlog

                                                    Wow SBB ! Your Kim chi looks great. Please tell, which recipe did you use ?