Quick and Dirty Kimchi

I’m a bit late to get on board the Kimchi bandwagon, but better late than never I say. I call this a quick and dirty version because it takes no more than ten minutes work all up (though it does take a bit of waiting between steps), and it’s far from authentic – using a blend of chilli powder, flakes and paprika in an attempt to come close to the sweet and smoky depth of flavour of traditional korean chilli powder (guchugaru).



1 wombok (aka napa cabbage, chinese cabbage)
1 cup water
1/4 cup salt

4 spring onions
1 small red onion

Spice paste:
2 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp minced ginger
2 Tbs fish sauce
1 Tbs sugar
2 Tbs chilli powder
1 tsp chilli flakes
1 tsp sweet paprika
1/2 tsp smoked paprika

Peel the outer leaves from the wombok, then split lengthwise. ┬áCut each half into four long wedges (lengthwise still) then cut across into ‘square’ pieces. Mix together the water and salt, then toss with the cabbage in a large bowl until thoroughly combined. Leave, covered for at least a few hours, until the cabbage is looking wilted. I left mine overnight. Rinse well and drain. You might want to taste for saltiness and rinse again, or even soak in some clean water for a few minutes, especially if you’ve left it for a long time like I did. You want the cabbage somewhat salty, but not so much that it shrivels your tongue like a raisin.

While the cabbage is draining, mix together the spice paste. Return cabbage to the rinsed out bowl, add the spice paste, then mix thoroughly. If you don’t mind smelling of garlic and fish sauce for the rest of the day, get your hands in and rub the paste into the cabbage. Transfer to glass jars, and leave on the kitchen bench for up to 48 hours to begin the fermentation process. You can eat your kimchi now, or store in the fridge for a few months. It will keep fermenting slowly over time, and the flavour will develop and deepen. And, to be honest, I started nibbling as soon as the kimchi was mixed and in jars, and it was delicious then too.


I first made this batch without the chilli flakes and paprika. The flavours are lovely and bright, and still spicy. I saved a small jar and added the extras to the rest of the batch. Including the paprika gives it a little more depth – feel free to try both and play with proportions. You know your tastebuds best.

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