I love this spicy fermented relish. There are so many variations and it is worth you experimenting with your own flavours. Kimchi is a delicious Korean dish consisting of fermented chili peppers and vegetables, usually based on cabbage. Delicious as an accompaniment to meats and fish or topped on salad.

One important secret to making cultured veggies is to use organic, well-cleaned vegetables. You also need to make sure your equipment is clean. I use glass kilner jars which I sterilise in the dishwasher before using.
Depending on the temperature you will need to leave your veggies for 3-4 days at least but 1 week is probably better. Once fermented store in the fridge.


Difficulty – Easy

Time – 15 minutes plus fermentation time

Serves – 8

What’s good about it?

Fermented foods like Kimchi are packed with beneficial microbes to support gut health and immune function. This spicy dish is also a great way to stimulate digestive secretions aiding digestion of foods. Try including it alongside your main meal.


  1. Shred the cabbage.
  2. Dissolve the sea salt in a bowl of warm water, then pour salt water over cabbage leaves. Give cabbage a gentle toss to distribute salt water. Allow salted cabbage to sit for at least four hours.
  3. Drain the cabbage then transfer cabbage to a large bowl. Mix in the red pepper, spring onions. There is no need to add more salt as the cabbage will still contain salt.
  4. Combine chilli flakes with about 2tbsp warm water, stir gently with a spoon to create a red chili paste. Place this into a blender with the garlic, fish sauce, ginger, onion, pear and sugar if using with a cup of water to create a thick paste.  Pour this over the cabbage.
  5. Put on a pair of plastic gloves and give everything a thorough toss and rubdown. You want to evenly distribute all ingredients, especially the red chili paste.
  6. Transfer seasoned cabbage leaves into a large glass bottle. Be sure to use firm pressure with your hands to push down on cabbage leaves as they stack up inside the bottle.
  7. Transfer any liquid that accumulated during the mixing process into the bottle as well – this liquid will become kimchi brine. Some liquid will also come out of the cabbage leaves as you press down on them as they are stacked in the bottle. If there is not enough liquid then mix together 1 cup of water with 2tsp sea salt and pour over.
  8. Be sure to leave about 2 inches of room at the top of the bottle before capping it tightly with a lid. Allow bottle of kimchi to sit at room temperature for 24 hours.


Nutrition per 100g serving:  33kcal, Fat 0.3g, Carbs 5.5g, Protein 1g

Did you Know?

Kimchi is made by lacto-fermentation, the same process that creates sauerkraut and traditional dill pickles. In the first stage, the cabbage is soaked in a salty brine that kills off harmful bacteria. In the second stage, the remaining Lactobacillus bacteria (the good guys!) convert sugars into lactic acid, which preserves the vegetables and gives them that wonderful, tangy flavour.

Head of Napa cabbage or Chinese cabbage

¼ cup / 30g Sea salt


3-4 spring onions, sliced

Red pepper, diced

Red chili flakes about 1tbsp  or to taste

2tsp  minced garlic or about 3-4 cloves

1 tablespoon minced ginger

1-2 tablespoons fish sauce (can omit for vegan)

1/2 white onion

1 ripe pear

1tbsp coconut sugar – optional but helps with fermentation