Quick Kimchi
Repeat Recipe

Korean BBQ Party: Quick Kimchi

When I first made this quick version of kimchi last year in a Korean cooking class, I was shocked that all this flavor could be achieved in as little as two hours. It’s pretty simple to make, and it just gets better and better with time in the fridge. I made this at home for the second time – just started it in the morning and let it hang out in the fridge until dinnertime. I may even try making another Kimchi Pancake with the leftovers (if there are any), since the last one I tried ended up pretty messy.

Quick Kimchi

Quick Kimchi
Institute of Culinary Education
Adapted from The Korean Table – Taekyung Chung and Debra Samuels

Makes about 2 quarts

No Korean meal is complete without kimchi, a piquant condiment of fermented vegetables (most popularly cabbage) seasoned with ginger, garlic, chile, and all manner of fresh or preserved seafood. Fermenting the ingredients over several days gives the dish its distinctive tang, but this easy version, which takes advantage of the funky depth of Asian fish sauce, offers relatively instant gratification. Recipe by ICE Visiting Instructor Lillian Chou, published in Gourmet magazine, March 2009.

1 (3-pound) head Napa cabbage
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
1 tablespoon chopped peeled ginger
2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar
1 bunch scallions, chopped (about 1 cup)
3 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted and crushed with side of heavy knife
2 to 3 tablespoons coarse Korean hot red-pepper flakes
1/2 (1-pound) Asian pear

1. Quarter cabbage lengthwise, then cut crosswise into 2-to 3-inch pieces. Toss with 3 tablespoons salt in a large bowl and let stand, tossing occasionally for 1 hour.

2. Rinse cabbage well, then drain. Squeeze out excess water with your hands and transfer to a large bowl.

3. Purée garlic and ginger with fish sauce and vinegar in a blender until smooth, then pour over cabbage. Add scallions, sesame seeds, and red-pepper flakes and toss to coat.

4. Peel pear, then grate on large holes of a box grater (avoid core and seeds). Add to cabbage mixture and toss well. Marinate at least 1 hour.

Note: Kimchi keeps, chilled in an airtight container, 1 month (flavor will get stronger).

Big Flavors Rating: 5 Stars

Ashley Covelli is a food photographer, recipe developer, and culinary instructor based in Ossining, New York. She loves helping people become enthusiastic and adventurous in the kitchen so that they can build skills and confidence to cook for themselves and their loved ones. She can almost always be found with at least 3 different beverages within arm's reach.


  • Laura

    Funny, I was just reading in Smoke and Pickles about using fish sauce to make a quicker kimchi. I have been thinking I need to start trying with other veggies, because kimchi is something I SHOULD like, it is my kind of thing, except I despise fermented cabbage. 🙂 In your class did you talk about doing it with other veggies? PS comment luv is still working lol…

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