How to Make Kimchi

How to Make KimchiMaking Kimchi has been on my culinary bucket list for years.  (Everyone has that list, right?) I think it’s definitely something many of us think of as a daunting task — at least I did.

So I was thrilled with Melissa’s Produce invited me to be a part of  Chef Ernest Miller’s food preserving class. Chef Miller — sometimes referred to as the Huell Howser of California food — is also a historian, educator, consultant and speaker — he not only teaches in kitchens, but also in museums and schools.

How to Make KimchiWhere does Kimchi come in?  Well Chef Miller is the lead instructor for the Master Food Preservers of Los Angeles County and the founder of Rancho La Merced Provisions, through which he invented the best fermentation kit on the market — the Air-Lock Lacto-Fermentation Kit.  You really need a kit like this to make Kimchi and other fermented foods properly at home.  There’s a whole lot of science to this — in fact, I felt like I was in a lab of some sort while we were preparing the Kimchi.  You can purchase Chef Miller’s Air-Lock Lacto-Fermentation Kit here.

How to Make KimchiKimchi is the national dish of Korea and it refers to a variety of pickled vegetables which are typically consumed daily, at almost every meal.  This was originally a way to preserve vegetables for the winter months, and the average Korean consumes nearly 40-pounds of kimchi per year.  (Here’s some great information on the history of Kimchi.)

Some super cool things I learned from Chef Miller:

  • Fermented foods are healthier than raw foods.
  • Kimchi and other fermented foods are probiotic foods.  They contain Lactobacillus, which is the same bacteria used to make yogurt, and is valued for its ability to aid in digestion and keep a healthy balance of bacteria in our systems.
  • Only 3 ingredients are needed for fermentation of vegetables; water, salt and the vegetables.

How to Make KimchiTop left:  The ingredients and the Air-Lock Lacto-Fermentation Kit | Bottom Left: Preparing the vegetables | Right: After about 1 week of fermenting

Some people say “everything is better with butter,” (I agree with that on some level) — but, my newest culinary saying is that “everything is better with Kimchi!”  You’ll get it when you see my Grilled Sirloin Steak-Kimchi Sandwich and Kimchi Egg Ramen next week.

How to Make KimchiLeft: Chef Ernest Miller | Right:  Two of my favorite food blogger friends: Priscilla of She’s Cookin and Cathy of She Paused for Thought

How to Make KimchiHere I am prepping away.  Photo credit: Cathy Arkle

Thank you to Melissa’s Produce for another amazing event.  Robert Schueller, this was one of the best — so educational and so much fun!

If you’ve never fermented foods before, I think you’ll be amazed at just how easy it can be.

Below is Chef Miller’s recipe — it comes with the kit, along with recipes for pickles, sauerkraut, hot pepper mash, and a plethora of fermentation information.  Again, you can get Chef Miller’s Air-Lock Lacto-Fermentation Kit here.  And you can find out more about him, and where he might be teaching next, here.

Recipe credit: Chef Ernest Miller/ Rancho La Merced Provisions

Prep Time: about 20 minutes Fermentation Time: 1 to 3 weeks
Serves: 1 (3-liter) jarful
  • 1 ounce pickling, canning, kosher or sea salt for every 3 pounds of vegetables
  • 3 pounds Napa Cabbage, cored and coarsely chopped
  • 8 ounces Daikon radish
  • 8 ounces carrot, julienned
  • 4 green onions, sliced on the bias (white and green parts)
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, chopped, minced or whole
  • 2 teaspoons dried red pepper for kimchi (you can find this in Korean markets, or you can use chile paste as a substitute)
  • 3 tablespoons fresh ginger, grated or julienned
For the Brine:
  • 1 ounce of salt per quart of water
  1. Mix all ingredients thoroughly and pack firmly into your clean jar. Be sure the jar is filled to the "max" line but no higher. Place our clean notched weighting jar on the kimchi. This weight is to force water out of the kimchi and keep the kimchi submerged under the brine.
  2. Seal your jar, gently twist the airlock into place and fill with brine or distilled vinegar to the fill line.
  3. Store at 70 - 80 degrees F. Kimchi will be fully fermented in about 1-2 weeks. At 60-65 degrees F, fermentation may take 3-4 weeks.
At temperatures lower than 60 degrees F, the Kimchi may not ferment. Above 80 degrees F, it may become too soft.

Fully fermented Kimchi can be kept in the refrigerator, tightly covered for several months.

This is not a sponsored post.  I’m a huge Melissa’s Produce fan and have working with them for a few years now, and I was given the Air-Lock Lacto-Fermentation Kit from Chef Miller to try it out.

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  1. says

    My new obsession is fermented vegetables after returning from Copenhagen, they seemed to be on everything. I was looking for a recipe with process and your post magically appeared thanks so much for all this great information. Can’t wait to dive in. Thanks so much.

    • valentina says

      So cool, Judy! I’ve been putting it on everything! Can’t wait to hear about your travels in person! XO V

  2. Sabell says

    I was just thinking about making kimchi and sauerkraut and your email popped in about kimchi. I will definitely be trying this one out. Thanks!

  3. says

    Kimchi is fabled to be one of those superfoods.
    I love that your recipe doesn’t have fish sauce as sometimes it dominates the flavour. I should make a jar!

    Hope you had a lovely Mother’s Day, hon. xo

  4. says

    I am afraid kimchi is going to be one of those great culinary treats that I will never get to try (dang that garlic allergy!). I guess I could make it myself, but not sure I want to invest in a fermentor! Looks like you had loads of fun together – that would be the fun part!

    • valentina says

      David, it was super fun doing this with a group of foodies who were just as enthusiastic as I was about making it. 😀

  5. Una says

    Thank you for sharing your kimchi recipe. I have always wanted to try my hand at making kimchi, but all of the recipes I’ve ever come across have fish sauce or shrimp brine so I never bother to make it. You see, I’m vegetarian; I so look forward to making your recipe. And I enjoy reading through your blogs! 🙂

    • valentina says

      Hi Una! Thank you so much for the lovely comment. I was happy to learn about fish sauce-free kimchi, too. Thanks for visiting my site and reading my recipes. 🙂

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