Mak Kimchi

18 Feb

Last year I posted a recipe for my first foray into kimchi making: kkakdugi, or daikon kimchi.  Since then, I have acquired The Kimchi Cookbook by Lauryn Chun.  The book features a great assortment of both traditional and experimental kimchi recipes, as well as recipes for kimchi-inspired meals.

With all the wonderful recipes in the book, I’ve managed to use it twice, and both times I made the most traditional kind of kimchi– the kind you can buy anywhere.  You can call me boring, but it is a perfect recipe, and when I taste perfection, I’m not immediately inspired to look further.


Chopping the cabbage.  Cats are very helpful kimchi-making overseers.

The hardest and most culturally enriching part of making this kimchi was finding some of the traditional Korean ingredients.  Anchovy sauce, salted shrimp, and Korean chili peppers don’t just hang out on the shelves of any neighborhood grocery store.  A store by me that carries The Kimchi Cookbook and many fermenting supplies and ingredients sells ready-made kimchi paste, but not the building blocks to assemble one’s own.  Lame.  If I’m making kimchi from scratch,  I want to do it ALL the way!  Koreatown on 32nd street between Fifth Ave and Broadway in Manhattan is your best bet if you in the NYC metropolitan area.  Halfway down the North side of the block, there is a food store.  When I stepped into the store, a clerk immediately asked if I needed help.  I stood out like a sore thumb, being the only non-Korean in the joint.  Amidst the endless bottles of fish sauce and soy sauce, I would have never found the anchovy sauce without his help.  The chili flakes and salted shrimp were more obvious.

My below recipe is adapted to a slightly larger amount than what is listed in the cookbook, mainly because I have a big fermentation crock and I like to fill it up when I use it.


The hard-to-find authentic ingredients. Aaak! The shrimp and their little eyes!

Mak Kimchi

1.  Rinse 2 large heads of napa cabbage.  (6 lbs +)  Cut them into long quarters, remove the core, and  chop them into 1-2 inch, uniform as possible square pieces.

2.  Place the chopped cabbage into a large bowl.  It will take up a lot of space, so you may need two bowls.  Sprinkle 1/3 cups of kosher salt onto the cabbage and mix it up.  Let the cabbage brine in the salt for an hour or more.

3.  Meanwhile, make your kimchi paste:  In a food processer, combine 1 medium onion, sliced, 6 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped, 1 generous inch of peeled fresh ginger, grated, 3 Tbsp of anchovy sauce, 3 Tbsp salted shrimp, 3 tsp sugar, 3/4 cup of Korean pepper. Process it into a pulp.


the kimchi paste

4. Rinse the salt off the cabbage.  Drain it well in a colander or with a salad spinner.

5.  Combine the cabbage with the kimchi paste, and mix in the green parts of 8 scallions or a few green onions, cut into 2 inch pieces.

6.  Pack your kimchi tightly into  your fermentation vessel, adding water as necessary to submerge the kimchi.  Cover, and let it sit for three days at room temperature.  Your fermenter could be a pickling crock or simply a large mason jar (or two).  This recipe will yield 2-3 quarts of kimchi.  As it ferments the kimchi will expand, so place your jar on a plate to catch possible overflow.  After this point, it is ready to consume.  Store the kimchi in your refrigerator.  It will continue to ferment slowly and will last for many months, maturing in taste over time.


From the mixing bowl to the fermentation crock

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3 Responses to “Mak Kimchi”

  1. narf77 December 6, 2014 at 2:21 pm #

    Awesome recipe. I substituted sea vegetables for the fishy part of this equation and ended up with a decidedly fishy smelling kimchi that tasted amazing. My husband didn’t think it smelled amazing though and relegated it to the shed prior to fridging 😉


  1. A note of Carmelite and Chaga | Brooklyn Alewife - February 26, 2014

    […] adventurous with me when it comes to wildcrafted and fermented things.   He does, however, eat my kimchi with a vengeance).  Chaga is sweet and earthy. The first couple nights I drank it plain and liked […]

  2. Congee | Brooklyn Alewife - March 21, 2014

    […] I came up with a great healing breakfast that utilizes a recent fermentation that I posted:  Mak Kimchi.    Almost every day last week, I ate congee for breakfast, mixed with kimchi, some tamari sauce, […]

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