BrokeAss Gourmet

BrokeAss Gourmet


I fell in love with kimchi several years ago when an old boyfriend took me to his favorite Korean restaurant in Boston. I was a vegetarian at the time, and so was less-than-enthralled by the array of char-grilled meats before me (don’t worry, I have since seen the light), but I was enraptured by the seemingly endless little bowls of condiments and nibble-ables, the tastiest of which, I thought, was spicy fermented cabbage or kimchi. Since moving to San Francisco, I’ve been buying kimchi for some time, always too intimidated to make it. Finally, after a Korean friend clued me in that it’s actually pretty simple to prepare at home, I decided to stop dropping $6-$10 every week on my beloved kimchi and learn to make it myself.

I adapted this from David Leibovitz’s reliable recipe, making this one purely from cabbage and not also daikon and green onions as he did, but I’m thinking that maybe next week I’ll try adding them in for a little variety.

Note: Hit up your local Asian grocery store for the best variety and prices on cabbage, Sambal Oelek and fish sauce.

  • ingredients
  • 1/2 cup salt Pantry
  • 1 gallon water
  • 1 large Chinese or Napa cabbage, cored and sliced $0.50
  • about 10 cloves garlic, peeled and minced Pantry
  • 1 1” piece ginger, peeled and minced 0.50
  • 1/4 cup Sambal Oelek or Korean chili paste $2 for 8 oz.
  • 1/4 cup Asian fish sauce $2 for 16 oz.
  • 1 tsp honey Pantry
Total Cost of Ingredients $5


In a very large container (or smaller containers) dissolve the salt in the water. Submerge the cabbage into the salt water and weight it down with a plate or frying pan (so it stays submerged). Let cabbage soak for 2 hours.

A few minutes before the cabbage finishes soaking, combine the minced garlic and ginger, the Sambal Oelek or Korean chili paste and honey in a large bowl. Stir well to combine.

Once the cabbage has finished soaking, drain, rinse it and squeeze it gently to remove excess liquid.

Use your hands (wear gloves or use tongs instead if you have any open cuts as the chilies and garlic can sting) to thoroughly incorporate the chili mixture with the cabbage.

Pack the kimchi into a 24 or 25 oz. jar (I used an old, scrubbed-clean tomato sauce jar) and screw the lid on tightly. Set in a cool, dry place, out of direct sunlight (my pantry worked well for this) for 3-4 days. After 3 days, open the jar and look for tiny bubbles. If it’s begun to bubble, it’s ready to serve or to be refrigerated. If it hasn’t yet begun to bubble, leave it for another day. After 4 days, you should notice a few tiny bubbles throughout the jar and can either serve your kimchi or put it in the refrigerator.

The kimchi will continue to ferment in your refrigerator. I find that after 3-4 weeks, it’s a bit too fermented for me, so I try to eat it within that time (it’s usually gone before then anyway).

Makes about 22 oz. kimchi.

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What They're Saying

Michal, on Aug 8, 12:34 PM, wrote:

Loved that kimchi in those nori rolls from the other day.

AMY KIM, on Aug 8, 01:24 PM, wrote:

for the korean chili paste…do you mean kochujang? interesting recipe…i will have to try it out.

Gabi Moskowitz, on Aug 8, 09:08 PM, wrote:

@Amy: Yup.

Cassie, on Aug 21, 12:23 AM, wrote:

Ms. Moskowitz,

I have been LOVING your recipes, and my friends are loving them/reaping the benefits (they are eager “lab rats” and also broke, but they bring me ingredients from the farmers market/Polish butcher to experiment with, so it works out well). Tomorrow I am making your kimchi and I am so excited; nearly every week I get a jar of it and it’s so expensive at my grocery store, so this will save me a lot of money.

I read that you’re a runner — I am too. I also read about your movement away from carbs. I carb-load before my distance runs — how has cutting them out affected your running (if at all)? I’m curious — that’s what’d keep me from doing it.

Thanks again!


susan, on Aug 30, 08:19 AM, wrote:

i am making this for the first time. i want to add green onion. do i put it in the salt water with the cabbage or add later when i mix?

happy wheels unblocked, on Sep 18, 11:33 AM, wrote:

In a Korean show, they said that put soda in kimchi, it will be more delicious :) I’ve never make kimchi but when I have chance, I’ll try this way :) Thank you for the recipe

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Dennis C., on Sep 1, 12:28 PM, wrote:

I like you! been making my Kimchi this way for years. Made a lot of Zucchini Kimchi this year but will always prefer the Napa and Cucumber versions. Have never used too much fish sauce as I could and have drank it straight from the bottle. Thanks for posting, it gives me a stable reference for new batches as they sometimes get a little weird after 10 beers. (NEVER UN EDIBLE THOUGH)

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