HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >

Should I attempt to make kimichi?!!

SavvyBitesBlog Mar 4, 2011 04:55 PM

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,,,,?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. todao RE: SavvyBitesBlog Mar 4, 2011 07:20 PM

    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. DuchessNukem RE: SavvyBitesBlog Mar 4, 2011 08:02 PM

      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
        creativeusername RE: DuchessNukem May 3, 2011 08:16 PM

        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
          DuchessNukem RE: creativeusername May 5, 2011 06:43 PM

          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
            creativeusername RE: DuchessNukem May 6, 2011 04:50 AM

            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
              creativeusername RE: DuchessNukem May 9, 2011 07:37 AM

              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
                DuchessNukem RE: creativeusername May 10, 2011 12:12 AM

                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. BigSal RE: SavvyBitesBlog Mar 5, 2011 04:00 AM

          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. Gio RE: SavvyBitesBlog Mar 5, 2011 04:08 AM

            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
              southernitalian RE: Gio Jun 14, 2011 04:14 PM

              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. f
              fourunder RE: SavvyBitesBlog Mar 5, 2011 04:16 AM

              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. l
                LUV_TO_EAT RE: SavvyBitesBlog Mar 5, 2011 07:38 AM

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

                1. christinegallary RE: SavvyBitesBlog Mar 28, 2011 03:03 PM

                  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
                    PoppiYYZ RE: christinegallary Dec 4, 2011 08:11 AM

                    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
                      christinegallary RE: PoppiYYZ Dec 5, 2011 09:13 AM

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

                  2. s
                    Sal Vanilla RE: SavvyBitesBlog Mar 28, 2011 04:44 PM

                    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
                      Val RE: Sal Vanilla Mar 28, 2011 06:22 PM

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

                      1. re: Sal Vanilla
                        BombayUpWithaTwist RE: Sal Vanilla Apr 14, 2011 12:50 AM

                        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
                          DuchessNukem RE: BombayUpWithaTwist Apr 14, 2011 02:45 AM

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

                          1. re: DuchessNukem
                            BombayUpWithaTwist RE: DuchessNukem Apr 14, 2011 09:03 AM

                            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
                              DuchessNukem RE: BombayUpWithaTwist Apr 25, 2011 09:26 PM

                              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
                                BombayUpWithaTwist RE: DuchessNukem Apr 25, 2011 10:14 PM

                                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
                                  Bryan Pepperseed RE: DuchessNukem Apr 26, 2011 03:35 AM

                                  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
                                    DuchessNukem RE: Bryan Pepperseed Apr 26, 2011 04:50 PM

                                    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
                                      BombayUpWithaTwist RE: DuchessNukem Apr 26, 2011 05:01 PM

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

                                      1. re: DuchessNukem
                                        Bryan Pepperseed RE: DuchessNukem Apr 27, 2011 04:21 AM

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

                          2. QuirkyCookery RE: SavvyBitesBlog Apr 14, 2011 09:05 AM

                            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. soypower RE: SavvyBitesBlog Apr 26, 2011 12:09 AM

                              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
                                BombayUpWithaTwist RE: soypower Apr 26, 2011 01:06 AM

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

                                1. re: BombayUpWithaTwist
                                  soypower RE: BombayUpWithaTwist Apr 26, 2011 11:37 AM

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

                              2. rcallner RE: SavvyBitesBlog Apr 26, 2011 10:56 PM

                                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
                                  BombayUpWithaTwist RE: rcallner Apr 27, 2011 01:07 AM

                                  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. s
                                  stanleytapp RE: SavvyBitesBlog Apr 26, 2011 11:03 PM

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

                                  1. shrimp13 RE: SavvyBitesBlog May 6, 2011 08:20 AM

                                    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. DuchessNukem RE: SavvyBitesBlog May 6, 2011 04:35 PM

                                      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
                                        gimlis1mum RE: DuchessNukem May 6, 2011 07:29 PM

                                        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. SavvyBitesBlog RE: SavvyBitesBlog Jun 11, 2011 02:07 AM

                                        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
                                          DuchessNukem RE: SavvyBitesBlog Jun 11, 2011 08:45 PM

                                          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
                                            SavvyBitesBlog RE: DuchessNukem Jun 13, 2011 12:35 PM

                                            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
                                            inaplasticcup RE: SavvyBitesBlog Jun 11, 2011 10:59 PM

                                            Great job and fantastic pictures, SavvyBites!

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

                                            1. re: inaplasticcup
                                              SavvyBitesBlog RE: inaplasticcup Jun 13, 2011 12:38 PM

                                              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

                                            2. re: SavvyBitesBlog
                                              joonjoon RE: SavvyBitesBlog Jun 13, 2011 01:30 PM

                                              Yum, looks delicious! Enjoy :)

                                              1. re: joonjoon
                                                SavvyBitesBlog RE: joonjoon Jun 13, 2011 05:12 PM

                                                Thanks joonjoon! :)

                                              2. re: SavvyBitesBlog
                                                BombayUpWithaTwist RE: SavvyBitesBlog Jun 13, 2011 01:35 PM

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

                                                1. re: BombayUpWithaTwist
                                                  SavvyBitesBlog RE: BombayUpWithaTwist Jun 13, 2011 05:13 PM

                                                  (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
                                                    PoppiYYZ RE: SavvyBitesBlog Oct 30, 2011 06:26 AM

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

                                              Show Hidden Posts