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Ultimate Cabbage Kimchi


Use this traditional kimchi recipe from Marja Vongerichten's "The Kimchi Chronicles" to make Grilled Steak with Kimchi Butter and Hot Dogs with Kimchi Relish.

  • Yield: Makes about 6 quarts


  • 4 large heads napa cabbage
  • 2 cups coarse salt
  • 1/2 cup sweet rice powder
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled
  • 1 cup peeled garlic cloves
  • 1/3 yellow onion
  • 1/2 cup fish sauce
  • 1/2 large white radish (moo or daikon), peeled and cut into matchsticks (about 4 cups)
  • 2 large bunches scallions (about 20), cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 3 cups gochugaru (red pepper powder)
  • 2/3 cup drained Korean salted shrimp


  1. Remove outer leave from cabbages and quarter each lengthwise; remove and discard cores. Slice each quarter crosswise into 2-inch pieces.

  2. Fill a clean sink with cold water and add cabbage to the water; let dirt and grit sink to bottom. Remove cabbage from water, leaving dirt behind. Drain sink and rinse. Refill sink with water and repeat process.

  3. Using very large bowls, layer cabbage with salt; let stand 45 minutes. Using your hands, toss cabbage, and let stand 45 minutes more. Fill sink with cold water and add cabbage to the water. Remove cabbage; drain sink and rinse; repeat process to remove all the salt.

  4. Fill a large saucepan with 3 cups water; whisk in rice powder. Bring rice powder mixture to a simmer over low heat, whisking constantly, until mixture thickens, about 3 minutes. Add sugar and cook 1 minute more. Remove saucepan from heat and let cool completely. To speed cooling process, fill a large bowl with ice water. Submerge pot into ice-water bath until liquid is cooled.

  5. Place ginger, garlic, and onion in the jar of a blender or bowl of a food processor; puree until smooth. Add fish sauce and mix to combine.

  6. Place cooled rice powder mixture, ginger mixture, radish, scallions, red pepper powder, and salted shrimp in a large bowl. Wearing disposable plastic gloves and, using your hands, mix until well combined. Add cabbage and continue mixing until well combined.

  7. Transfer cabbage mixture to six glass quart containers or a large plastic container, packing cabbage tightly to remove as much air as possible. Place plastic wrap directly on surface of cabbage before covering containers with lids. Let stand at room temperature for 2 to 4 days. Transfer to refrigerator for up to 6 months. Be sure to press down on kimchi to remove as much air as possible after each use.

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