Homemade Cabbage Kimchi

Vegan Kimchi

A few weeks ago, I posted a photo of my kimchi-making experiment on my personal and business Facebook pages. I wasn’t intending to write a blog post about kimchi, but there seemed to be enough interest in the process, so I thought I would share.

Some of you might remember that fermentation is my nemesis. I have never made a batch of sauerkraut that didn’t go moldy.

I’ve had some recent success with creating yogurt and fermented nut cheese. Feeling triumphant and armed with a new boldness, I decided to give homemade kimchi a whirl.

I wasn’t bold enough, however, to come up with my own recipe. I adapted this one from Mango and Tomato, which I bookmarked over a year ago (it’s never too late to try a new recipe!).

I followed the preparation instructions to the letter, but made a few ingredient substitutions:

  • I used plain ‘ol green cabbage, as that’s what arrived in my weekly produce box.
  • I used dried kochukaru flakes. Many recipes call for gochujang paste in kimchi, but the brands I found in my ‘hood all listed corn syrup as the first ingredient. No thank you, GMOs. Many of them also contained wheat flour. (Are kochukaru and gochujang the same thing? Though I love exploring food from different cultures, I find some of the Korean spices confusing and as a white Jewish girl, I felt awkward and out of place while perusing the Korean shops. If anyone would like to enlighten me, please do!)
  • I have no tolerance for spice and used 3 tablespoons of kochukaru instead of 1/4 cup. It was still a wee bit too spicy for my tastes ā€“ I would likely use 2 1/2 tablespoons next time.
  • I don’t have oyster sauce or fish sauce. Even though these ingredients were optional in the recipe, I substituted coconut aminos. I would have liked my kimchi to be a tad saltier. Next time, I would try something like gluten-free tamari instead.
  • I subbed coconut sugar for white sugar.

Warning: when you’re making this, your kitchen will reek of kimchi (since our place is open concept, this meant our entire home smelled of it). It’s not a terrible assault to your senses or anything ā€“ I quite liked it. But if you’re sensitive to smells, you might want to leave this in a well-sealed cupboard!

Have you made kimchi before? Please share your favourite recipe in the comments!

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4 Responses to Homemade Cabbage Kimchi

  1. Olga @ MangoTomato August 18, 2014 at 10:08 am #

    Awesome! So glad you finally made the recipe. I should make a second batch.

    • Sondi August 18, 2014 at 1:39 pm #

      Better late than never, I say. I’ll definitely be making this again!

  2. Elle August 18, 2014 at 2:20 pm #

    Hey Jewish Girl,

    Korean Girl here. Kochukaru and gochujang are not the same things. They’re both made from the same type of red chili peppers, but kochukaru is chili flakes and gochujang is chili paste. Kochu and gochu are the exact same Korean word for chili pepper, but transliterated differently because the Korean K sound is between the English K and English G sound. Hope this helps.

    • Sondi August 18, 2014 at 3:14 pm #

      Elle, THANK YOU for clearing the confusion up for me. Your explanation totally makes sense. Consider me schooled.