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Vegetarian Kimchi

I miss kimchi! I can't seem to find any vegetarian kimchi where I am living now. Do any of you have preferred brands/sources?

Also, I want to make my own! I was thinking of starting with this recipe:

Any advice? Do any of you make your own kimchi?

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    1. re: antennastoheaven

      Thanks! I'll keep an eye out for it if I'm ever in WA/OR. I wish they would mail-order.

    2. I make lacto fermented kimchi all the time. I use the NourishingTraditions recipe as a base, then go from there. It has no fish sauce in it, or at least I don't like it in there. Very easy.

      1. I actually used that recipe and canned it for x-mas presents this year. People who received it all seemed pretty pleased.

        1. Go to Whole Foods. Each region of Whole Foods has a different brand of local vegetarian kimchi in the refrigerated pickles or vegan/vegetarian area. I Googled the brand that I buy here, Zukes, but it's not showing up! Hmmm.

          1. http://www.grannychoe.com/ is not too bad. There's an NY based brand (sold at Whole Foods, among other places) which also has some vegetarian versions. You can often find napa cabbage kimchi that's free of fish ingredients at Asian markets; just read the ingredients carefully.

            My wife has made her own sometimes; also a good way to go. In reference to the recipe above, a lot of traditional recipes have a paste made with sticky (glutinous) rice flour, and a bit of asian pear is often added also. I think both of these will help the fermentation process. For standard napa cabbage kimchi, I think this recipe would be a good starting point (just leaving out the fish sauce and dried / fresh shrimp):
            (love her other recipes too, including a lot of great Korean recipes that are vegetarian or easily adapted to be vegetarian).
            is another good source.

            1. i made that recipe recently and it turned out well. i would substitute asian pear for the sugar. i also added more garlic (maybe 10 cloves). i have also seen recipes that include raw onions but that seems almost too intense for me though i may try it next time.

              i found that mine fermented VERY fast and was kind of fizzy which i didn't like. i left it one jar out for 2 days on counter and then put it in fridge on day 3. the other jars i put in the fridge right away. i would recommend leaving it out for just one day and TASTING it every single day till it is how you like it. if you don't eat it too fast, just put it all in the fridge. i found it took about a week to ferment in the fridge.

              1. I make my own kimchi, with a recipe pretty similar to the one you posted. The other recipes posted here are also really good ones. I encourage you to try it! It's easier than it seems, especially if you start with the small sized batch that the seriouseats recipe has you make. One lb is way less intimidating and messy than 6 lbs. I had to make a few batches to work out the level of salt and spice I preferred, and tweaking it so that it fermented slower (my husband prefers the less fermented kimchi). It's very customize-able, which makes it a really fun and tasty project.

                One little tip is that if you have folks with sensitive noses, get an extra box of fridge baking soda and stash it next to your jar(s) of kimchi or you may get someone complaining that their milk is tasting....funky. :)

                1. Thanks for the advice everyone! I made a batch of kimchi over thanksgiving and just polished the last of it off this week. I followed the Serious Eats recipe except I substituted a turnip for daikon radish. My CSA seriously overloaded me with turnips this fall!

                  The kimchi turned out pretty good, but the flavor was not as complex as I like. I think I will add more miso next time, to replace the fish sauce funk. I will also try adding some Asian pear in place of the sugar.

                  It was a lot easier than I thought it was going to be - everyone, make your own!

                  1. There are a few recipes in Cecillia Hae-Jin Lee's "Quick and Easy Korean Cooking" that are veggie-friendly (ggakdoogi, dongchimi, oi kimchi). I've yet to try them - these recipes do not sound labor-intensive at all, not like what my halmunee went through when she made kimchi so I have no good excuse!


                    1. I've made kimchi several times using different recipes, and reviewed the responses below. Here is what I have to add:

                      -I second will47's recommendation that you try using glutinous rice flour. I use both pear and sweet rice flour when making kimchi - they both add the sugar component, but I think the rice flour does something extra - it has a viscous, almost glue-like (but more supple) texture, which adds a special something to the feel of the sauce...but I also think it adds something taste-wise that brings flavors together...this is purely conjecture, but it's worth trying if you feel your kimchi was lacking

                      -I highly recommend trying to find an ingredient essential to traditional Korean kimchi: garlic chives. More info on those here: http://www.maangchi.com/ingredient/as...
                      They have much more depth of flavor than your average grocery store green onions. I'm not 100% sure if this will help, but I think it's definitely worth a try given the complexity of their flavor.

                      -I've also read some recipes that recommend adding vegan oyster sauce. I've never done it, because of the abundance of weird ingredients in the stuff, but that could be worth trying too.

                      -Final thought: the recipe you were using was definitely conservative with the amount of red pepper used. I've regularly used twice as much (I've even used up to four times as much, which might sound crazy, but Mother In Law's kimchi posted a video where they claimed that that's one of the secrets to their kimchi!). It's up to your tastebuds, of course, but another thing I think about the rice flour is that it balances some of the heat of the pepper (like how you're told to eat rice to cool down your mouth from spicy food)