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May 25, 2011

Winter Kimchi

The reason for the "winter" bit in the title is that many of us (yeah, me included, until I did some research leading up to this recipe) associate the word "kimchi" to just one type of kimchi ... this one. I have found that there are so many other variations made at different times of the year, based on seasonal vegetables and also to take advantage of the weather before the era of refrigeration. And even with the modern refrigeration methods today, Koreans continue to consume kimchi according to traditional seasonal preferences.

Just a quick tour of the different types of kimchi during the different seasons:

- Spring

Fresh vegetables are normally used at this time. They are not fermented nor stored for long periods of time. Consumed fresh. They are not the usual red colored ones but fresh and green ..... Spring!

- Summer

Young summer vegetables like radishes and cucumbers are popular. Lightly spiced with fresh ground chili peppers with the addition of brined fish.

- Autumn & Winter

This is the most common type of kimchi in late fall and winter. Whole Napa cabbage is used and stuffed with ingredients that can vary, depending on the different regions and weather conditions. Usually prepared in late autumn or early winter and stored for it to ferment. Spicy (I'm assuming to warm one up during the cold) and usually flavored with fermented brined shrimp or fish.

This is my personal favorite altho I have to admit, I don't believe I've tried all the variations, but until then ...

I've always been daunted by the process of making kimchi at home until I came across Elin's version. She'd made it sound so simple and the ingredients can easily be found at the local grocer's. I just couldn't resist. I have tweaked it a little to suit my fussy tastebuds. They turned out beautifully!

You can check out her original version at her blog. No more buying! It's so simple to make! And the many things I can do with it .... stir fried beef with kimchi, kimchi soup, kimchi fried rice .... I even dump it in together with my instant noodles whenever I'm in that kind of mood. Nom nom ...


1 small napa cabbage, (abt 1/2 kg) quartered lengthways with stems attached and washed

Brine solution ( 3 - 4 liters water + 1 1/2 cups coarse salt)

3 heaped tbs chilly paste (reduce for less spicy) / korean gochujang paste

1/4 bowl cooked rice

150 g radish, julienned

40 g spring onions, cut into abt 2" lengths

15 g chilly flakes

10 g sugar

1 whole garlic bulb, skinned

2 tbs fermented baby shrimps / cincalok (you can even use brined fish/anchovies)

1/8 cup fish sauce


Soak the quartered cabbage in the brine solution for 4 hours, weighing the cabbage down with a heavy plate.

Remove and drain.

Place garlic cloves, rice, fermented shrimp, fish sauce, sugar, chilly paste and chilly flakes in a food processor and zap to a smooth paste. Stir in spring onions.

Stuff the cabbage with the paste, making sure to stuff in between the individual leaves and coating every inch of it.

Place kimchi into an airtight container and leave at room temperature for a day before leaving it to ferment further in the fridge for at least another week before consuming. I left mine for about 3 weeks.


  1. Thanks for the info on the types of kimchi! :) I love kimchi too...but I haven't tried making them myself. I prefer buying it...It's easier that way. LOL. But after finding this recipe, I guess I'll be trying it soon!

  2. Interesting. I may have tried the other variations without realising - the spring version sounds like regular vegetables.

  3. I am obviously very kimchi ignorant. The only time I have ever tried it was 25 years ago when a guy I was dating said, "Here, you have to try this!" and popped a huge forkful into my mouth. Eyes watering, mouth on fire...not a good first impression. I must try some of those spring/summer varieties.

  4. Gosh, what an enlightening post. Thanks for sharing the Kimchi with us - I've never even heard of it. How sad is that? It looks absolutely delicious. I must give it a try - even the winter one, although they ALL sound wonderful ;-)

  5. Looks great Ping... Must try it too ! ^,^

  6. Tina: Hello! Yeah, I have been put off into making it for so long ... until now. And sometimes the store bought ones can vary too, from brand to brand... now I can tweak it according to how I like it. Yay!

    3Cookies: Haha! Yes the spring ones actually are like regular salad with some kinda dressing.

    Kristen: ROFL!!! Woke the whole house up laughing! :D This batch was spicy too, judging from how red my hubby's face turned! I really must reduce the chillies, paste AND flakes.

    Jill Colona: This winter kimchi takes some getting used to due to the "fermentation" thingy going on. The summer ones are pretty much like a fresh salad.

    My Home Diary in Turkey: Yes, please do. I can't believe it's so easy!

  7. Mmmm....spicy.....this looks so very good. Such cute serving bowls.

  8. Thank you so much for this recipe.your site is lovely and I love your dishes.Found you while browsing..and this kimchi recipe thrilled me so much! I am grabbing it....and following you too. I am Marelie from

  9. I hope I can find that paste here... its terrible I am craving so much!

  10. Your winter kimchi recipe sounds really great! Love the fish sauce addition. This should make an exciting condiment for any meal! Thanks Ping for sharing the different recipes!

  11. I've never had kimchi - mainly because Im intimidated by it! Not knowing what Im getting into. I love the explanation of the different seasonal kimchis though. It makes everything a little more clear - and your pics make me want to grab a fork and try.

  12. Briarrose: Veeery spicy! Gotta reduce the chillies for some :D

    Marelie: Hello! Thanks for visiting. Will check out your blog too :) And you can make the paste yourself with 20g dried chillies, soaked in hot water (seeded and drained), 4 fresh red chillies (halved and seeded) and a pinch of salt. Blend with some boiled water to make a smooth paste and store in the fridge. Very useful paste that. :D Enjoy!

    Michelangelo: Hey, Art! Thanks.

    Kita: Yeah, it takes a bit of getting used to. I didn't like it the first time I tried it. Maybe you an start with the summer ones ... baby steps :D

  13. Wow Ping! You really did your homework. I did not know the seasonal difference with this amazing Korean kimichi.
    I love what you created with it. It is fabulous the way you incorporated it with baby shrimp.
    Totally loving it!!!

  14. Elisabeth: I too, found out there are so many varieties. All those little plates of veges they serve at a korean restaurant as sides ... they are all different types of kimchi! Amazing! An eye opener for me too!

  15. Hey Ping, thanks for sharing your knowledge on Kimchi. Your kimchi looks perfect and the photo and the beautiful presentation caused me to salivate.

  16. QuayPoCooks: Hello! You're most welcome, and thanks very much for the lovely comment.

  17. Now this is something I really want to try. I have enjoyed poking around your site

  18. Mike: Hello! Thanks for dropping by. I'm glad you enjoyed my site. I'll be poking around yours soon :D

  19. Runs off to make this! this is great other recipes that Ive seen are far stricter so I think Ill be trying yours first :)

  20. Hello Oleg. Thanks for dropping by. Yes, I thought the other recipes I found were a little tedious. This is easy and good. Enjoy!

  21. My mother would absolutely go crazy for this. She is a kimchi fanatic.

  22. Hi Angela. Well, go ahead, make her day! I couldn't believe it's so easy to make initially, now I have a steady supply for my kimchi addiction. :D

  23. Ping, your kimchi looks gorgeous! And you did the version I really found difficult (the sprading between the leaves was very difficult for my clumsy hands). I had no idea there were different types of kimchi in different seasons (I knew about the cucumbers for example, but not about the Summer kimchi type. Thanks for the libk to this fascinating post I would have missed otherwise.

  24. Awww ... thanks, Sissi. I'm glad we both learnt something new today :D especially with a dish we're so crazy about. This isn't too difficult to spread in between the leaves. Besides, when the paste starts to get more liquid during the process, it should get nicely coated all over. I can't wait to make another batch ... yum!

  25. Hi, saw your picture on AFC. Gorgeous and so tempting. Would love to be able to make my own Kim Chi!

    1. Hi Mich! Thank you and thanks for stopping by. I'm sure you can make this, no problems. The best thing about this is you can even find the ingredients easily. Enjoy!