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Kimchi, the easy version

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March 14, 2012

Kimchi, the easy version

Every once in a while I have this strong urge to make kimchi.., it must be the Korean blood in me!
So I made a simple cabbage kimchi called "mak-kimchi".

I have posted 3 episodes of how to make the authentic cabbage kimchi about a year ago.
Although the method of that type of kimchi in those posts will yield truly amazingly tasting kimchi, it is quite time and labor demanding work.

This version is basically quick and easy. "Mak" literally means whatever fast.
I will show you how easy it is to make delicious kimchi with its pungent yet refreshing flavor.
Even a novice to kimchi making can succeed with a great result. 
I bet you would like that.

The only advice I can give is that this kimchi will ferment fast and has shorter storage life since they are all pre-sliced before made into kimchi. It meant to be eaten within a month or two.
So, don't make more than 1 head of cabbage unless you have a crowd to feed. 

You will need a large shallow mixing bowl to soak the cabbage.
If you don't have it, use your kitchen sink.

Want to make a good kimchi? Use good salt.  I, very highly, recommend to purchase Korean sea salt.

Mix salt in the water.

Now, let's give some attention to this cabbage.

I like to see cabbage leaves have some holes like this. You can guess what this means, right?

Bugs! Don't panic.., it is okay. Remember that we share our planet with these little creatures.
I like it better because it means your cabbages are not overly pesticide.
You need to wash the leaves to get rid of the bugs though.

Cut your cabbage leaves like this; a little bigger in the leafy part than the white stem part.

If the white stem part is too thick, cut in half in the center.

Dump the cabbages in the salted water and mix well. Press down on top to wilt a little.
Let it soak for 1 hour, then turn them around so the top side will go to the bottom, and continue to soak for another 45-60 minutes.

 They should be lifeless.

 Rinse 3 times...

and drain well. Press firmly on the top to get rid of extra water. Set aside .

 Meanwhile, let's make a quick stock.
I used anchovies and shrimp heads. You can use anything as long as they are from the ocean.
Fish, squid, crab, or whatever. Adding an extra sea flavor will make your kimchi so flavorful when fermented.
Boil and simmer for 5 minutes.

As you see, you will have a gorgeous stock. Strain the stock and discard the anchovies and shrimp.

 Cut these into chunks; apple, onion, ginger, and garlic.

 Now, my recommendation for the rice glue; I use a little bit of leftover white short grain rice.
This will get rid of the extra step of making rice glue separately.

 Put them all together in a blender, add the 1 cup of reserved stock.

 Blend until smooth. I call my blender, "the smooth operator... ♪♫"

Here are the anchovy sauce, salted shrimp, chili flakes and sugar.

 Combine the blended rice mixture with them in a bowl.
Don't worry about the chunks of shrimps. They will melt down in 5 minutes.

 Mix well and let it sit for at least 10 minutes. See? you don't see any shrimps there.
The chili will absorb the liquid and make the paste more spreadable. The color will also be intensified as well.

Slice some Asian leaks (or onion) and green onions.

 Add about 2/3 of your kimchi filling to cabbage and onions in a mixing bowl. You can add more filling later if you need.

My cleaning lady accidentally used my designated holy kimchi gloves to clean the toilet. Alas...!
Protect your delicate hands with rubber gloves or disposable gloves.

Toss well.

 Taste! It should be slightly saltier than you would hoped for.
You can add more anchovy sauce or salt if needed.

Add 1/2 cup of water to the mixing bowl, swirl around, and pour over the kimchi.
Check this gorgeous color of kimchi made with Korean chili flakes...

This type of kimchi taste excellent when freshly made, so enjoy the fresh taste on the first day you made.
You can let it sit on the counter for 1 day and it will ferment to the perfect stage. Store in the fridge afterward.

If you have leftover kimchi filling like I always do, store in a airtight container in the fridge. It will last up to 3 months. This will make a wonderful base to a small batch of radish kimchi (kkackttugi), or spicy stews, etc.

Kimchi is a kind of dish that you need to get used to if you never had it before.
But once you get used to, you will be hooked.

Serve your kimchi over freshly cooked rice.
Your adventure with Korean cuisine will just begin...

Easy Cabbage Kimchi
막김치 (mak-kimchi)


1 head (1.5 lb or 1.5 kg) Korean Napa cabbage, sliced into 1.5-2" (smaller at stem part)
8 cups water
1 1/4 cup Korean coarse sea salt
1 Asian leek or onion, thinly sliced
1 bunch green onion, sliced into 2" long

Quick seafood stock:
5-6 dried anchovies
3-4 whole shelled small shrimps
2 cups water

Kimchi filling:
1/2 onion, diced
5 cloves garlic
1" small piece of ginger, diced
1/2 sweet apple, peeled and diced
1/3 cup cooked white rice
2/3 cup Korean chili flakes
3 tablespoon Korean anchovy sauce
2 tablespoon salted shrimp
2 tablespoon sugar

1)  Dissolve the coarse sea salt with the water in a very large shallow mixing bowl or in the sink. Add the cabbage slices and toss to mix. Press top so the solution will sip through the cabbage.

2)  Soak the cabbage for 1 hour in the solution, toss so the top side will go down to the bottom and let it soak for another 45-60 minutes until the cabbages are well wilted.

3)  Meanwhile, make the seafood stock. Combine anchovies and shrimp in the water, bring to boil first, then simmer over low heat for 5 minutes. Let it cool and strain the stock.  Reserve 1 cup.

4)  Rinse the cabbage 3 times and drain very well. You might need to press the cabbages firmly to remove the extra moisture.

5)  To make filling, place onion, garlic, ginger, apple, and rice in a blender. Add the reserved stock and puree until smooth. Transfer the puree into a medium size mixing bowl and add the rest of the filling ingredients, mix well. Let it sit for 10 minutes so the chili flakes will absorb the moisture.

6)  In a large mixing bowl, combine drained cabbages, leek(or onion), and green onion. Add 2/3 of kimchi filling first and toss everything very well. You might need to add the rest of the filling if your kimchi doesn't seem to be red enough.

7)  Taste your kimchi and adjust seasoing by adding more anchovy sauce or slat. It should taste a little saltier that you would hope for. Transfer your kimchi into the storage container.

8)  Pour 1/2 cup of water to the mixing bowl that you made kimchi in, swirl around to wash the filling and pour over to your kimchi.

9)  Serve this kimchi on the same day you made to enjoy the fresh taste or let it sit on the room temperature for 1 day to ferment, then store in the fridge and consume within the next 1-2 month.

        Note: Store your kimchi in an air tight container and place 1-2 boxes of baking soda in the fridge to absorb the odor.

        Need a printable recipe? Click here.

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        At March 14, 2012 at 6:35 PM , Anonymous maria tomato said...

        Thanks for the recipe. I just run out of my radish kimchee, I'll try this easy version.

        At March 14, 2012 at 7:55 PM , Anonymous nana said...

        oh i love this!!! thanks for sharing

        At March 14, 2012 at 8:05 PM , Anonymous Meagan Ness said...

        The advantage to this type of kimchi is that it is very easy to make a giant batch and store in quart jars. I sell my homemade kimchi and I always use this method. Makes the whole process go faster. 

        At March 14, 2012 at 8:27 PM , Anonymous Jeremy Bates said...

        Two things I have always noted when it comes to Korean food are: 1. they are typically colorful; and 2. they are rife with vegetables.

        I generally neither have the tie or inclination to make Kimchi, so when I do get the urge, I buy some from one  of the many Korean places here in Manila.

        Usually, I prefer to eat yook gae jang or bulgogi (yeah, meat!).

        Your images of the preparation are alays great, thus it's no wonder you have so many followers.

        At March 14, 2012 at 8:55 PM , Anonymous Hyosun Ro said...

        That's one nice looking mak-kimchi, Holly!

        At March 14, 2012 at 10:06 PM , Anonymous Susan said...

        I am salivating!!! I should be going to bed soon but now, I have an intense desire to eat rice with kimchi! I look forward to trying my hand (a first) at making it this weekend. Thank you for the step by step photos. Lovely!

        At March 14, 2012 at 10:23 PM , Anonymous MS BC said...

        oh my this looks so goooood
        my korean hubby will be so impressed!

        At March 15, 2012 at 12:39 AM , Anonymous guoyuanyin1 said...

        We had done a great number of orders with our customers for buying the Runescape Gold fast and have hundreds of orders everyday.We are sure that you are impossible to get such an excellent service in buying the Buy Runescape Gold as the same as we do.

        At March 15, 2012 at 12:39 AM , Anonymous guoyuanyin1 said...

        We had done a great number of orders with our customers for buying the Runescape Gold fast and have hundreds of orders everyday.We are sure that you are impossible to get such an excellent service in buying the Buy Runescape Gold as the same as we do.

        At March 15, 2012 at 12:41 AM , Anonymous Tiffany said...

        Hi Holly

        I live in KL, Malaysia, With regarding to the anchovies, do you buy yours from a Korean grocery shop or you can just use those from the market? Secondly, can you leave out the bottled salted shrimps? 

        I was told that the Malaysian cabbage (those grown in Cameron Highlands) is loaded with pesticides. How do you clean yours?

        Thanks for the amazing post, once again.

        At March 15, 2012 at 12:52 AM , Anonymous Ethelmarygarcia said...

        This recipe made Kimchi more delightful and easy to make. Thanks a lot!

        At March 15, 2012 at 7:42 AM , Anonymous LucyL said...

        oh this looks so good, and i have all the ingredients at home so will make this wkend! only thing i don't have is anchovy sauce - what can i use instead? Thanks holly! x

        At March 15, 2012 at 9:59 AM , Anonymous Conniewalden said...

        Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful food.  Connie

        At March 15, 2012 at 4:37 PM , Anonymous beyondkimchee said...

        I use Korean anchovies that I purchased in my hometown in Korea (the best of the bests). I store them the freezer and they can last forever. You can buy Korean anchovies at the Korean grocery stores. For the stock, you can use local anchovies but I would recommend dried fish I often see at the local groceries. They will make your kimchi very flavorful as well.
        For cabbage or any vegetables or fruits, I always wash with baking soda. Soak vegetables with 1 tbsp baking soda in cold water for 5-10 minutes (or scrub if you can), then rinse out. It cleans out pesticide very well and seems to improve its crispness.
        No matter where you shop most vegetables are loaded with pesticide unless you purchase trusty organic products.

        At March 15, 2012 at 4:38 PM , Anonymous beyondkimchee said...

        You are welcome. Hope you get to try this recipe soon.

        At March 15, 2012 at 4:40 PM , Anonymous beyondkimchee said...

        You can use Thai (or Vietnamese) fish sauce with a little less amount. Have fun making kimchi this weekend and let me know how it turns out.

        At March 15, 2012 at 5:00 PM , Anonymous Mark said...

        Gorgous. I'm an American guy, who worked in Korea for about 6 months,
        and fell in love with the food. (The people, and the beautiful country, are
        pretty nice too). I love finding a slightly easier way to make kimchi. I
        actually have sort of skipped the seafood stock bit, although I've put
        in anchovies. I'll try it this time. The first time I made it, it was way
        too salty; but I've gotten a little better at it. I figure: keep trying,
        and eventually I'll get it just right.  Mark

        At March 16, 2012 at 12:51 AM , Anonymous beyondkimchee said...

        Hi Mark
        Thank you for the comment. Yes, kimchi making is a little challenging at first, but keep trying. You will get the feel for a good kimchi as you keep challenging.

        At March 17, 2012 at 4:20 AM , Anonymous mina kim said...

        looks like a beautiful recipe. i can't wait to try it.

        At March 18, 2012 at 1:16 AM , Anonymous Stefania Boccolato said...

        all the food you make seems to be delicious, i have to try the teriyaki chicken.

        At March 19, 2012 at 8:15 AM , Anonymous kitchenriffs said...

        Great post.  Kimchi is on my list of things to make this year (I love the flavor, just have never made it).  I liked your longer recipe, but this one is more doable for a novice.  (David Chang's recipe in Momofuku is also quite good.)  As always, a well written and presented recipe - thanks.

        At March 20, 2012 at 2:51 AM , Anonymous LucyL said...

        Hi Holly, I made the kimchee and it turned out great! I didn't read your recipe properly though and use 2 cup of stuck and about half a cup of rice, so I think the consistency is slightly wrong. I'm going to try again after I've finished eating and sharing this batch with friends! Have noticed a minor mistake on step 4 of the recipe, you forgot to include the rice going into the blender. Thank you again for this MAK recipe, anything mak is good in my kitchen! x

        At March 20, 2012 at 7:08 AM , Anonymous beyondkimchee said...

        Thanks. Hope you can try to make kimchi this year. This Mak-kimchi would be perfect for the beginner.

        At March 20, 2012 at 7:10 AM , Anonymous beyondkimchee said...

        Thanks for pointing out the mistake, Lucy. I will fix it. I am glad that you liked the mak-kimchi.

        At March 20, 2012 at 12:33 PM , Anonymous Mary Bergfeld said...

        This sounds delicious and I need a recipe for kimchi. This is my first visit to your blog, so I took some time to browse through your earlier posts. I'm so glad I did that. I really like the food and recipes you share with your readers and I'll definitely be back. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

        At March 22, 2012 at 7:47 AM , Anonymous Lyndsey@TheTinySkillet said...

        We have a Korean market so close to my house and each week they make kmchee and if I happen to be in there on the day they make it the whole place smells wonderful. If this is the easy, I can't imagine how much you have to do to make the  authentic cabbage kimchi . Must be a labor of love. :)

        At March 26, 2012 at 6:07 AM , Anonymous Ola daleka_droga said...

        you know that this cabbage here is called "Pekin cabbage"?:)
        Life and


        At March 26, 2012 at 8:12 AM , Anonymous beyondkimchee said...

        Thanks for letting me know. I like the name.

        At March 26, 2012 at 5:49 PM , Anonymous JessicaP said...

        Hi, Holly!
        I'm an American married to a Korean man and excited to try this mak-kimchi.  Thanks so much for posting it!  I'm actually making it this week to take to a Korean family gathering this weekend.
        Can you please tell me how much Vietnamese fish sauce I can use for the stock since I don't have anchovies?  Also, can you tell me how much leftover rice I should use in the rice paste?  I don't have time to practice, so hope to get it right the first time!
        Also, will 3-4 days be enough time to ferment?
        Thanks in advance!

        At March 26, 2012 at 6:06 PM , Anonymous beyondkimchee said...

        Hi Jessica

        If you are using Veitnamese fish sauce, use about 2 tablespoon first along with Korean salted shrimp in the recipe. As for the leftover rice, use about 1/3 cup (room temp).
        After you make kimchi with cabbage, taste it to check the seasoning. It should be slightly saltier that you would hope for. The water in the cabbage will continue to ooze out and dilute the sodium level. You can always add more fish sauce if you need.
        Leave kimchi on the counter 1-2 days to ferment (no more than 2 days, otherwise it will be too sour), until you see a little bubbling gas forms, then, put in the fridge to slow down the fermentation.
        Good luck! and let me know how it turns out.

        At March 27, 2012 at 11:05 AM , Anonymous JessicaP said...

        Thanks, Holly! After looking at the printed recipe, I realize you had written some of the details that I was asking about.  Oops!  Sorry to make you repeat yourself.  I'm so excited to try this.  I had to special order the Asian cabbage since K-town only sold boxes of 50 heads of cabbage!  I've been slowly gathering the ingredients with the help of a Korean girlfriend and hope it turns out well!  I will let you know.  :)

        At March 27, 2012 at 6:26 PM , Anonymous beyondkimchee said...

         Thanks Mary. I am glad that you found my site. Hope you can find a good recipe in my blog that you can try. Let me know if I can help you with anything.

        At March 30, 2012 at 8:11 PM , Anonymous Daily Deal Blog said...

        Fresh taste! I Surfing your yummy blog.

        At April 11, 2012 at 11:35 AM , Anonymous Jessicapark said...

        Hi, Holly!
        I wanted to let you know my kimchi was a big success and now my husband's family are teasing me that I should have a kimchi business! One sister-in-law told me she didn't expect my kimchi to look so professional, my husband told me it tasted authentic and everyone raised their chopsticks with kimchi in an ode to kimchi during our lunch.  :)  We also tried your mandu recipe, but I think I need to practice that some more as it was pretty bland, and my filling wasn't small and even enough.  Here's a picture of my kimchi and the family making mandu!  Thanks for your recipe and for explaining it step by step, making it easy for this Mee-gook mind to follow along!  :)

        At April 11, 2012 at 5:44 PM , Anonymous beyondkimchee said...

        I am so happy to hear that your kimchi turned out so well. It looks really good from the photo. Yes, you should be in the kimchi business.
        For the mandu, try chopping your noodle smaller. Easier to assemble that way. Also maybe reduce the amount of tofu and increase the pork. It will be quite bland to taste if there is too much tofu. You can always adjust amount of each ingredient for your liking. Don't forget the dipping sauce, either!
        Thanks for taking your time to write me. Comments from my readers like you do motivate me to continue the blogging.

        At May 16, 2012 at 2:45 PM , Anonymous Thomas said...

        Hello Holly,

        We made this mak kimchi and were very happy with the outcome ! fresh and delicious taste... but the plate is already finished ! As a result we have to try now the long version....
        Oh, I do have a question:
        Is it possible to make brocoli kimchi ? I can imagine the blend of crunchy brocoli heads and spiciness... yummy thought isn't it?
        maybe we should drown the brocoli into salted water for a night before kimcheenizing it? or do we process it like a concumber, with hot salted water ?

        Waiting for your word of wisdom...
        best from Paris !


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