Quick Kimchi Mak Gimchi
Quick Kimchi Mak Gimchi

Kimchi is the name for any number of fermented vegetables in Korea to save the fall harvest for the cold winter months. This quick, short-run version is an easy way to learn how to make kimchi. Serve it as an accompaniment to other dishes with spicy, salty and sour notes.

It’s usually a combination of a main vegetable (like Chinese cabbage or radish), garlic, ginger, chilli powder, salt, and a salted seafood or fish sauce. The most popular version is baechu kimchi, which is made with Chinese cabbage, but there are almost 200 “official” varieties in Korea!

My personal kimchi story

Growing up in Korea, making kimchi was a community affair because each household kept gallons of kimchi to feed the whole family for the winter.

“Kimjang” was a neighborhood party where the women of the village would help each other in making kimchi in each household. Fall was a time for my sister and I to pound and pound garlic for my mom’s annual kimchi.

Luckily we can now make smaller batches because we have refrigeration and don’t need to preserve the entire harvest before the first snowfall.

Why Kimchi is good for you

The fermentation process in making kimchi produces probiotics, like the bacteria found in yogurt and sauerkraut.

The probiotics not only promote good digestion, but also support the immune system, heart health and have anti-inflammatory properties. The only downside to kimchi is its high salt content.

Tips for making kimchi

When making kimchi traditionally, I put individual leaves in a jar, but it takes a lot of time. For this version, I cut the cabbage into bite-sized pieces and mix the vegetables and spices together in one go.

Not only is it easier to prepare, but it’s also convenient to eat as it’s already pre-cut and ready to serve.

  • Choose vegetables that are dense and feel heavy for their size.
  • Wear gloves when making kimchi, not only because the chili powder could burn and stain your hands, but also because the garlic and fish sauce is quite spicy.
  • Use quart-sized mason jars with plastic lids. The salt will corrode the metal lids, and there’s no need to seal the jars, meaning the plastic lids work just fine here.

Ways to customize this kimchi recipe

Kimchi is easy to customize to suit personal diet and taste preferences.

  • make it vegetarian: Replace the fish sauce with an equal amount of sea salt and a tablespoon of seaweed powder to add that extra depth of flavor.
  • Set the heat: Add less chilli powder or make white kimchi without any chilli powder at all. This is how royals used to eat it, as spicy food was considered too commonplace for royal palates!
  • Chile Options: It’s best to use Korean chili powder if you can find it. If not, you can use cayenne pepper, chili de arbol, or red pepper flakes.

How do you know when kimchi is ready?

You can eat the kimchi freshly made — a type of salad sprinkled with toasted sesame oil and sesame seeds. However, it’s best to let it ferment for at least a day or two before eating.

How long does Quick Kimchi keep?

Store kimchi in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks. It becomes more acidic and stronger in flavor, even a little fizzy, the longer it ferments.

What to serve with kimchi

Serve as an accompaniment to any Korean dish with rice and a variety of other banchan (side dishes). It also works well as a spice to spice up meat dishes or a salad that needs a kick.

The longer kimchi ferments, the more acidic it becomes. If it gets too sour to eat alone, you can use it as an ingredient to make kimchi mandu (dumplings), kimchi jjigae (stew), fried rice, kimchi buchingae (flatbread), mixed noodles, or any number of kimchi- to prepare dishes.

More easy recipes for preserving vegetables

  • How to make easy fridge pickles
  • Vietnamese daikon and carrot pickles
  • How to make pickled red onions
  • Pickled turnips
  • tomato jam
  • Escabeche (pickled jalapeños)


Check out this easy and quick kimchi recipe

Quick Kimchi (Mak Gimchi)

preparation time
2 hrs 30 mins

total time
2 hrs 30 mins

up to 12 side dishes or condiments


  • 1 (4 Lb) Chinese cabbagecut into 1 to 1 1/2 inch pieces

  • 1/4 Cup rough sea-salt

  • 1 pound (approx 1 Cup), mu or Daikon radishshredded

  • 4 spring onionscut into 2 inch lengths

  • 1/2 Cup Korean chili powder (Gochu Galu)

  • 6-8 cloves (about 1/4 cup), Garlic, chopped

  • 1 tablespoon Gingerchopped or grated

  • 1 tablespoon sugar

  • 3 tablespoon fish sauce


  1. Salt the cabbage and let it rest

    Place the cabbage in a large bowl and sprinkle the salt over it. Mix until combined and add water to just cover (about 3 cups). Let it sit for 2 hours, tossing it a few times to make sure it’s evenly salted and the cabbage has gone limp.

  2. Set the cabbage water aside and drain

    Reserve 1 cup of the salt water and set aside (you may not need to use it, but it’s good to have on hand just in case). Drain the remaining water from the cabbage and rinse well with cold water. Place the cabbage back in the same large bowl.

  3. Combine the remaining ingredients

    In another large mixing bowl, add radishes, scallions, garlic, ginger, chili powder, sugar, and fish sauce. Use your gloved hands to fully combine the ingredients.

  4. Combine the vegetable mixture with the salted cabbage

    Using gloved hands, massage the flavor into the cabbage and mix well until all of the cabbage is coated in the spice mixture.

  5. Pack the glasses

    Pack cabbage mixture into 2-liter jars, press down to remove air bubbles and pack tightly. Pour in a little of the reserved salt water to cover the cabbage, leaving an inch of room in the head for it to expand.

  6. Wait:

    You can refrigerate the kimchi right after you wrap the jars to ferment or for a milder flavor, or you can let it sit on the counter in a cool, dark place with the lids slightly open for up to two days before refrigerating put a stronger aroma.

    If two days have passed or you have opened the jar, put it in your fridge.

  7. Enjoy

    Serve as an accompaniment to any Korean dish with rice or salad.

nutritional information (per serving)
46 calories
1g Fat
9g carbohydrates
3g protein
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Hello everybody, Even if you're limited on time and money, I believe you can prepare wonderful food with everyday products. All you have to do is cook cleverly and creatively!