Simple Fermented Kim Chi for Beginners
Prep time
Total time
Serves: 750ml
  • 500gms (approx 1 lb) chinese cabbage (aka wombok or napa), washed and cut into 1 inch pieces plus 2 large outer leaves uncut, washed and dried
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 2 spring onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 inch ginger julienned (cut into fine strips)
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper (reduce or increase to your preference)
  • optional - 1 clove of garlic thinly sliced. I prefer not to have garlic in mine but it is an amazing superfood and beneficial to add if you don't mind the smell ;)
  • 1 litre of filtered water
  • 3 tbsp natural sea salt
  • 1 750ml glass flip top jar (fido jar) - I find these work best for me as the rubber seal allows gasses to escape while still keeping the jar airtight
  1. make sure all your utensils, bowls, knives and hands are very clean with no soap residue, use a clean tea towel for drying your hands as you don't want to introduce any unneccesary bad bacteria into your ferment
  2. make the brine by dissolving 3tbsp of natural sea salt in the filtered water
  3. wash, dry the chinese cabbage, then slice into 1 inch pieces
  4. place the cabbage in a large mixing bowl and pour over the brine
  5. using a ceramic plate, weigh the cabbage down under the brine for 30 minutes
  6. in the meantime, wash your jar in hot water and vinegar and allow to air dry on a clean tea towel
  7. prepare the rest of the vegetables
  8. peel and grate the carrot (I use a mandolin which cuts into fine strips which to me is prettier and crunchier than grating)
  9. finely slice the spring onions
  10. peel and julienne the ginger (cut into fine strips)
  11. after the cabbage has soaked in the brine for 30 minutes, pour the brine into a jar and reserve for later
  12. add the carrots and ginger
  13. add the spring onions and cayenne pepper and mix well
  14. massage and bruise the cabbage mixture with your hands for approximately five minutes to release the juices
  15. place the kim chi mixture into the glass jar, packing down really well with your fist
  16. add all of the juices from the mixing bowl
  17. pack the vegetables down hard again to ensure all the air bubbles are released
  18. pour some of the reserved brine in to the jar to submerge the vegetables but allow a 1 inch gap for the gases to expand (the jar can explode if filled to the top)
  19. roll up the 2 large outer leaves and place on top to keep the veggies submerged under the brine
  20. sit the jar out of direct sunlight for at least 3 days in warm climates and about 5-7 days in colder climates
  21. have a taste with clean utensils (no hands) to check if it's ready, it should be now sour and tangy, if not close the jar and leave for 2-3 more days
  22. I have never had a batch go mouldy using this method except when I didn't realise there was a chip in the glass jar and the seal was not airtight, if you get mould or the smell is really foul (which is very different to the fermented smell) throw the whole batch away and start again
  23. you can feel free to add a tsp of body ecology veggie culture starter to ensure your batch starts off with the right strains. I always add a culture starter for my kids ferments as my son was being treated for a nasty c.diff (superbug) infection and has recovered and stayed clear since eating fermented veggies daily (If you live in Australia, you can order your Body Ecology products from here. Enter discount code 'loveurbelly' for 5% off or order direct from Body Ecology USA)
Recipe by Enlightened Foodie at