Mr. N's Kimchee Base

"Visiting my parents, one of their friends gave them a huge jar of kimchee cucumbers that were the best I've ever tasted. Of course, I came here to find a similar recipe and nothing I tried came close. I couldn't ever get the depth of flavor that I remembered in his kimchee...all I tasted was garlic and red pepper. Something was missing. The chef was gracious to pass along his recipe and instructions for putting up Napa and also cucumbers. This isn't a months-long process, so it's not entirely authentic, but the addition of the salted shrimp and the salted anchovies makes all the difference for me. The information in the parentheticals are his specific instructions to me. He had specific brand names that he liked, but I've taken those out. Prep time doesn't include refrigeration time."
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Ready In:
1 batch


  • 4 garlic cloves, minced (large)
  • 2 -3 teaspoons salted shrimp (find in jars at the Korean grocers)
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce (preferably a Thai brand)
  • 5 tablespoons korean hot red pepper (don't substitute this)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons ginger juice (grated ginger squeezed to get the juice)
  • 2 pieces salted anchovies (again, find this in jars at the Korean grocers)
  • 1 napa cabbage (large, washed and cut into bite-sized pieces)
  • 14 cup salt (scant)
  • 1 bunch green onion (washed and sliced into 2 inch lengths)


  • Combine first 7 ingredients in a bowl and refrigerate.
  • Put the napa cabbage in a large bowl.
  • Stir and rub the scant 1/4 cup of salt onto the napa cabbage.
  • Press overnight until the liquid rises out of the napa cabbage -- don't add water and don't drain.
  • To press, use a lid that is smaller than the bowl you are using and put some sort of weight on the top.
  • Add TO TASTE the kimchee base that you prepared the night before to the napa cabbage and its liquid.
  • Mix in the green onions, if desired.
  • Refrigerate and serve the next day.
  • The base can be used for cucumbers instead of napa cabbage, following the directions above but substituting cucumbers instead.

Questions & Replies

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  1. bicycler
    Used fish sauce as per Thai cooking instead of anchovies (which are the 97% ingredient in fish sauce anyway)--lazy man's way
  2. milolii
    This recipie tastes the way kimchi is supposed to. I used mustard greens and it is spicey good.
  3. JohnInNCMtns
    I am a little torn because the 'base' mix of ingredients is awesome (5 stars), but 4 TBSP of salt for one head of cabbage?Geeez! () stars!). I made the base as instructed and it smelled intriging, but the saltiness was overwhelming! Inedible. Tried dumping the solution out and starting with fresh water (but unrinsed cabbage) and additional 'base', still no good. Try #3-only had hard (european) cabbage left. Cut it up, added three tsp of salt as I added it to the bowl and pounded as I would for Saurkraut. It's much drier than asian cabbage so it still needed more liquid. One more tsp of salt in a cup or two of warm water and added that to cover the cabbage. Weighted it with a plate for a day or two at room temp. then added the remaining base and refrigerated. Still a little salty, but the taste was good. Figure it will take longer than the asian cabbage to soften so I'll try it at the end of the week. I'll get some more asian cabbage and try with three tsp of salt next time. I love fermented and pickled veggies and the asians have a great tradition of these kinds of food. There will be a next time as I make it 'my own'.



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