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Recipe: quick kimchi

Have you entered the giveaway yet? Win a 12 of hearts box of chocolate truffles from Robin Chocolates to give to a loved one or keep for yourself! Get on that before the end of the day, Thursday, February 7, 2013.

sweet sweet lovin’

The other day while finishing a shoot, I had the deck door open for Kaweah to wander in and out at her leisure (she really takes her time). As I was walking back to the work area, I noticed Kaweah was pointing intently at something on the ground below. I figured it was one of my neighbor’s feral dogs. Kaweah looked like she wanted to bark. I walked out and told her it was okay to bark, figuring it would get whichever dog out of our yard. She gave a great big bark – it’s really very cute how such a little dog can produce a big dog bark – and wagged her tail. I peered over the edge and saw…

the fantastic mr. fox

This is our neighborhood fox. I immediately felt bad for giving Kaweah permission to bark. The fox didn’t seem to care about her at all. Smart fox. Kaweah got all excited and growly, so I carried her inside the house and returned with my camera. This fox traipses through our yard regularly… daily. I hadn’t seen it in a while and I realized it wasn’t because the fox hadn’t been coming around, but that I’d been completely immersed in work. It reminded me to pay attention to the little things, to take a break and look up every now and again. So I asked Jeremy if he’d like to go on a lunch date the next day. It was lovely.

oysters and sparkling rosé at the kitchen

The whole reason for plowing through the work schedule is to have a few free days to prepare for Chinese New Year which is this Sunday. In my fledgling blogging days, I referenced a handful of Asian food blogs to expand my understanding of techniques and traditions, particularly for this important holiday. Some have since gone silent, but one of my favorite resources is thankfully still going strong. Jaden of Steamy Kitchen is a wealth of information and recipes. She documents her knowledge for the rest of us on the website, in newspapers, on television, at conferences, in person, and in books. I say BOOKS because the second one just came out!

lookin’ good

Jaden’s book, Steamy Kitchen’s Healthy Asian Favorites transforms popular Thai, Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Indonesian, and Vietnamese dishes into simple, easy, quick, and healthy masterpieces. The collection is also punctuated with modern fusion recipes applying an Asian twist to western fare. The pages offer Jaden’s vibrant and tantalizing food photography as well as endearing snapshots of her family, friends, and life. Sprinkled throughout her stories are Jaden’s cheeky humor and delightful enthusiasm. It’s a personal cookbook. She is sharing herself with the reader while simultaneously making several cuisines entirely accessible to the average home cook.

Disclosure: I received a review copy from Jaden’s publisher, Ten Speed Press. I get to say what I want.

There were so many recipes to choose from, but I was ultimately drawn to the quick kimchi. I’m a bit of a kimchi fanatic, although I’ve never made it myself. Jaden’s quick kimchi was a good baby pool introduction for me before I dive into the deep end of traditional kimchi. Bonus: the quick kimchi doesn’t make people wonder what died in the refrigerator (I personally love that smell).

simple as: napa cabbage, salt, sugar, ginger, garlic, green onions, rice vinegar, sambal oelek (chili paste)

shred the cabbage by slicing it into thin strips with a sharp knife

salt the shredded cabbage

toss it together

You can pretty much make this in under a half hour. Salting the cabbage helps to draw the excess liquid out of the vegetable and that takes 15 minutes. While the cabbage gives up its water, you can prep the rest of the ingredients.

grated ginger, minced garlic, chopped green onions

When the cabbage is ready, you’ll find it has deflated or reduced in volume substantially. Grab a handful and start squeezing the water out. When you’ve squeezed all of the cabbage, toss the water out and place the greens into a bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients and give it a good mix.

squeeze the water out

add sambal oelek

pour in the rice vinegar

mix it up

I tasted the kimchi right after mixing it and felt it needed more heat. I doubled the chili paste, although I think I could have added more. Oh, I also doubled the amount of garlic because I have strong feelings about garlic and chili – I love them. Although you can eat it right away, Jaden rightly recommends refrigerating the kimchi overnight to let the flavors develop. I definitely think it tastes better if you give it a day.

fill the jar with your kimchi

now try it after a day

This is more like a refrigerator pickled cabbage than the typical fermented kimchi. There is no time for fermentation, so it lacks that wonderful stinky tang you find in traditional kimchi. That said, I really enjoy eating this quick kimchi because it is a bright, spicy, crunchy snack or accompaniment to noodles or rice. And cabbage is good for you! Also, Jeremy doesn’t wrinkle his nose at the smell when I open the jar of THIS kimchi, so there’s that.

i may or may not have been seen eating it straight out of the jar

Quick Kimchi
[print recipe]
Reprinted with permission from The Steamy Kitchen’s Healthy Asian Favorites, by Jaden Hair,
copyright © 2013. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc.

1 head napa cabbage
4 tbsps kosher or sea salt (or 2 tbsps table salt)
2 green onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
2 tbsps hot chile paste like sambal olek or Korean chili powder (I doubled this amount)
1/2 cup rice vinegar
2 tsps sugar

Discard the outer leaves of the cabbage and the tough inner core at the base. Shred the cabbage using a sharp knife (don’t use a grater, that’s not the shred Jaden is talking about). In a large bowl, toss the cabbage with the salt and let it sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes. Squeeze the liquid from the cabbage. Discard the liquid. Place the cabbage in a bowl with the remaining ingredients and toss together. Store the cabbage in a large mason jar and refrigerate. You can eat it immediately, but this kimchi develops better flavor over the course of a day. Store for up to one month in the refrigerator. Makes 2 quarts.

49 nibbles at “slow down”

  1. Rosa says:

    A great recipe! I love kimchi.

    That fox is so cute and the picture is amazing!



  2. Trolleira says:

    Wow, great! Now I can have kimchi without driving 200km to Sao Paulo downtown and searching in the korean quarter for it!
    Great! Thanks for the recipe!

  3. Kristin says:

    Beautiful shot of the fox! Gotta say that pickled cabbage sounds a lot more appetizing than fermented, though friends who lived in Korea roll their eyes back in their heads when they tell me how much they love the real thing.

  4. angelitacarmelita says:

    I heart this quick recipe for kimchi and I can’t wait to try it! I too am a kimchi junkie, all kinds, and I have been asked politely and not so politely to please stop bringing it to work. I guess my co-workers assume that because I am not Korean, that there’s no harm in telling me what I can and cannot bring to work for lunch. Oh well, it doesn’t matter, I’ve got jars in varying degrees of ripeness in my frig at home right now, and they’re about to be joined by a quick-fresh version! Thank goodness I live alone, because I sometimes have to catch myself when I open the frig and think “omg, what the heck is that smell?!”, and then realize it’s sweet kimchi love in there (I may, or may not also be known for eating it right from the jar…) Thanks for the advance recipe from Jaden’s new book!

  5. Eva @ Eva Bakes says:

    Awesome! We love kimchi at our house too, and this recipe seems very easy and do-able.

  6. sweeteva says:

    Hi Jen,
    Quick question. Is it possible to make this kimchi recipe using any kind of cabbage. I live in the Caribbean… no napa cabbage here :(

  7. farmerpam says:

    Love the fox photo.

  8. Alison says:

    I’ve never had kimchi, though I love everything in it. This quick version sounds like a good intro.

    Your local fox is so much more attractive than our local fox, who is mangy and has a mostly bald tail.

  9. Suzanne says:

    Oh, thank you so much for a recipe that doesn’t contain shrimp! I love kimchee, but have had to give it up after developing a life threatening allergy to shellfish. I’m going to make this one right away…

  10. Michelle says:

    Gorgeous Fox! Love the timing on the kimchi recipe. I just tried it for the first time last weekend had been kind of hesitant, but we have a Banh Mi food truck that serves Kimchi Fries!!! They are awesome. I will have to try this recipe. Thanks!

  11. Anna says:

    Do you have a low salt version of this for people who have to watch sodium intake……….this KIMCHI recipe looks good but too salty for me. Thanks much

  12. Judy says:

    Perfect timing! I have two heads of Napa cabbage in the fridge, wanting to be used. All the other ingredients are there, too, so I know what I’m going to do in the next day or so.

    Thanks for sharing!

  13. Eileen says:

    Kimchi is so good, but I’ve always been a little scared to try to make it at home. But this quick version sounds really approachable! I definitely need to give it a try. :)

  14. Susanne says:

    Wow, I love your photo of that beautiful fox… I’ve only ever seen one once in the wild.

  15. brenda s 'okie in colorado' says:

    I love Jaden. I’ve been following her blog for a very long time. I have her first book and can’t wait to get the new one. I’m definitely trying this kimchi very soon. Love it! The fox is so beautiful. I live in Brighton, Colorado and this past summer, a few neighbors spotted a fox roaming around after dark.

  16. Lisa says:

    Love the pic of the fox!~ Such a beautiful animal. I have not tried kimchi before. That is I don’t think I have tried it yet. But this recipe looks pretty good to go so must try it!

  17. TJ says:

    The smell of kimchi used to freak out my college roommates but I also love that smell in my fridge. I learnt another quick method from my mom’s friend where she puts all the ingredients (Korean, red pepper flakes, onion, garlic, ginger, fish sauce, apple) into a food processor then mix with salted napa cabbage.

    I hope for a day when I can buy Jen Yu’s cookbook(s) with charming stories!

  18. Anna Durmus says:

    I fermented my kimchi yesterday and will be seasoning it tonight! Thanks for sharing my passion for Kimchi! And Happy coming New Year!

  19. April says:

    Love the fox pic and your photography :)

  20. jill says:

    Love your blog!
    … And Jaden!
    Her eggroll recipe is my go to!!
    follow her directions and you will have a VERY happy new year!!

  21. spicytofu says:

    Sadly, I am going to miss Chinese New Year! And I wanted to make chinese BBQ pork buns from scratch.

  22. katie says:

    My dad LOVES kimchi!!! I love Jaden’s new book and will definitely need to give this recipe a try.

  23. Abbe@This is How I Cook says:

    I think we need to send our resident fox to meet your resident fox. Yours looks a bit healthier than ours. Really, what a fox! And as for kimchi. I love all the ingredients in kimchi, but I just don’t like it. What is wrong with me?

  24. Quick Kimchi | Rogi says:

    […] I have found out how sambal oelek is used (Katta) :) – quick kimchi recipe. Share this:FacebookTwitterGoogle +1Like this:LikeBe the first to like this. Tags: chilli, […]

  25. Kurt Jacobson says:

    I miss our neighborhood fox from my days in Evergreen. They are so much fun to watch. One day while on an early morning walk in N Baltimore 3 years ago with my dog I saw two foxes playing at the other end of the ball fields we were in. That is truly magical seeing them play. Luckily my dog didn’t see them or the chase would have been on!
    Thanks for the review of the Asian cookbook. It looks like a good one for my kitchen.

  26. Sharla says:

    I just have to add that is a fantastic and beautiful picture of Mr. Fox. Wow!!

  27. Brandon @ Kitchen Konfidence says:

    This is the second recipe from Jaden’s book that I’ve seen around the internets, and I’ll have to say I’m intrigued! Both seem very simple. I am definitely making this. My bf LOVES kimchi.

  28. jill says:

    TPH asked me on a date today to the Pacific Ocean store in Broomfield. Bet it will be wild with NY shoppers! May have to try quick kimchi.

    ps- Kaweah is a good watchdog!

  29. Quick Kimchi « The Yummy Cats says:

    […] use real butter – Quick Kimchi Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this. […]

  30. Rachael @ Tokyo Terrace says:

    I love Jaden. I have never met her in person but every interaction I’ve had with her has been wonderfully friendly and genuine. I use her first cookbook all the time and I’m sure this one will be no different, especially after seeing this kimchi recipe! I love kimchi…. Especially kimchi fried rice. OK…I’m getting hungry. Must go.

  31. Cindy KC says:

    I have never seen Kimchi made with any sort of vinegar….the quick version, long version, or the once a year version. I take big issue with the use of the work Kimchi with this dish. While I am sure it tastes good, it just is not Kimchi to me! Vinegar! Really?!?! The quick version that I have seen made by Korean/Korean-American’s and is made and eaten within a day or two doesn’t have vinegar in it. I have been eating Kimchi since I was in the womb and I cannot reconcile the fact that this recipe is considered to be a Kimchi recipe.

    Cindy – then perhaps you shouldn’t make this recipe. -jen

  32. Ed says:

    get over it Cindy and make another recipe.

  33. mai n. says:

    Thank you Jen for the recipe.
    I just made some quick kimchi with this recipe. I added about over 1 cup of shredded daikon. Can’t wait to have it with pork belly buns (first time making those), a recipe taken from steamy kitchen:-)

  34. Cindy H. says:

    Just made this recipe and it was amazing! My husband is addicted to kimchi and we’ve been waiting for a fresh, quick recipe to come along. Thank you Jen and also Jaden!

  35. jenyu says:

    Rosa – thanks!

    Trolleira – it’s not the same as normal kimchi, but it’s a nice quick fix!

    Kristin – ha ha, I like the fermented stuff :)

    angelitacarmelita – ha ha!! What is wrong with your co-workers?!?

    sweeteva – I bet you could do this with regular cabbage too. Give it a try.

    Alison – I think our local fox looks healthy because our stupid neighbors keep feeding it human food.

    Suzanne – hope you like it!

    Michelle – this will be milder than what you tried, but I still like it (but I LOVE real kimchi too)

    Anna – well, the salt is to draw the water out of the cabbage. You can try rinsing the cabbage after it has been salted?

    Judy – you’re welcome!

    Eileen – I have yet to try making real kimchi as well, so this was a good intro for me.

    brenda – Jaden is a hoot!

    TJ – ha ha, I have no interest in a cookbook at the moment (or ever?). But if there is ever a book of any sort, I’ll let you guys know about it here. xo

    Anna – I need to learn more about this fermenting.

    Jill – thanks!

    Abbe – nothing wrong with you. I think a lot of people have an aversion to kimchi. That said, this quick kimchi is not like regular kimchi (it’s more like a spicy pickled napa cabbage). You might just like it!

    Kurt – Jaden’s cookbooks are lovely and chock full of great recipes.

    Sharla – :)

    Brandon – I’d be curious to hear what he thinks of this recipe!

    Jill – ha ha! ;)

    Rachel – mmmm, I love kimchi fried rice too!

    mai – oooh, daikon sounds awesome – I LOVE daikon.

    Cindy H – yay!!!

  36. Trolleira says:

    Hi Jen, I did last week the quick kimchi for a test. As my husband just loves kimchi and it is such a trouble to get one down here, I just had to try your recipe. And it worked! I had to substitute the sambal olek for a brazilian red pepper sauce, which worked beautifully and the napa cabbage for a normal cabbage. I let it sit for half a week before I let my husband try it. And he loved it! As you said already, he also thinks it is not the same as the real thing, but it is a very good substitute for it. He really liked it very much!

    Thanks again for such a fast and good tasting recipe!

  37. yercinnamongirl says:

    I just want to know why can’t we upload this on pin this? It would only bring you more traffic?

  38. jenyu says:

    yercinnamongirl – people pin my photos to pinterest all the time. what is the specific problem you are experiencing?

  39. Linda says:

    My copy of the 100 Recipes arrived 2 weeks ago. I went straight to the grocery and have not stopped cooking yet. At least 2-3 recipes each week. The book travels with me to the store and around town so I can pick the next recipe to try. Pickled Ginger and the Kimchi, Kung pow chicken, Lemon chicken. I can not believe how much I LOVE the Kimchi! I’ve cooked myself breakfast everyday this week (I’m too busy to cook breakfast, but I made time!) eggs, kimchi, spinach, celery and baby bok choy until I ran out of veggies and eggs. Last night my picky eater husband asked if we had enough veggies to make another yummy stir fry.

    Thank you for making Asian cooking so healthy, easy and accessible.

  40. Grace Ha says:

    Hello ~
    I really hate to call this kimchi. I’m Korean and a cook and I’m proud of Kimchi being such superfood. There should be no vinegar in Kimchi. You need some starch for permitting the fermentation process. If you need to speed up the process then add a teaspoon of yogurt. That works well.

    please no vinegar for kimchi.

    My suggestion to you is not to call it kimchi and not to make it if it offends your sensibilities. -jen

  41. Lee says:

    This is for Grace Ha and other sensitive Koreans. Come on guys. No this is not traditional kimchi. Even my mother, a very proud, old school type of Korean, occasional made Kimchi ersatz due to time restraints or lack of certain ingredients. By the way, she NEVER used yogurt to make her kimchi. She would have thought the world had gone mad to add a dairy product to her precious batches. And I never saw her do the cooked rice flour thing either that seems so popular now. If she saw this article, she would have been amazed that someone cared enough about korean food to approximate it using the ingredients they had on hand.

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  43. Ann says:

    I just had to let you know that I made your recipe several times in the past week and I love it! I too was skeptical about the rice vinegar. I ended up reducing it to 2 tablespoons. It really helps give it a tiny bit of sweetness. Your recipe is like a Vietnamese salad crossed with kimchee. Sounds different, tastes awesome!

  44. Kimchi | Jest Pięknie says:

    […] sosem, wymieszać dobrze.  Nakładać do słoików – nie pod sam brzeg.  Według przepisu, na którym się wzorowałam – w lodówce można tak powstałe kimchi przechowywać do miesiąca. Ten i więcej przepisów […]

  45. Jennifer says:

    So. much. salt. I’m assuming my napa cabbage was on the small side, but I followed the recipe perfectly, and it was inedible. I even added a pound of shredded carrots, and it was still too salty. Maybe include a specific amount of cabbage (like 2 cups, 1 lb, etc) so no one ends up wasting so much like I did?

  46. jenyu says:

    Jennifer – hmmmm, it sounds like you didn’t squeeze enough liquid from the cabbage. The purpose of the salt is mainly to draw excess liquid out of the cabbage. Then you squeeze the mother-loving heck out of the cabbage and throw out the salty liquid. Alternatively, if you think your head of cabbage was a tad small, you could reduce the salt accordingly.

  47. Kimchi - Jest Pięknie says:

    […] sosem, wymieszać dobrze.  Nakładać do słoików – nie pod sam brzeg.  Według przepisu, na którym się wzorowałam – w lodówce można tak powstałe kimchi przechowywać do miesiąca. Ten i więcej przepisów […]

  48. Ewagotuje says:

    A nice recipe! I like kimchi.

    That fox is so cute and the picture is amazing!


  49. Ing says:

    I misread 2tsp sugar to tbs, lol, well it’s in the fridge now I think I’ll just have a sweet kimchi.. not to mention that I only used half head. I hope it’s edible or at least fix-able, I don’t toss food unless they’re badly spoiled.

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