Napa Cabbage Kimchi (Vegan)

Homemade Kimchi!! Absolutely! how about trying a vegan version of it, there are many variations of kimchi recipes as its traditionally handed down from generations and every Korean family’s recipe is distinctly different however some of the main ingredients & process remain the same

Here’s is a confession: I love Korean food and absolutely adore their kimchi too! I was first introduced to authentic Korean food when I lived in Singapore and have never forgotten how incredible everything tasted! And thus my love affair with Korean cuisine began!

All thanks to a small family run Korean restaurant in Singapore called Dal-In Korean Restaurant. This is where I first tasted Korean food and fell in love with it. Since then I’ve tried many other restaurants in Singapore and they unfortunately have not matched up. It also helps that it’s always visited by local Koreans who live in Singapore… need I say more??!

I liked it so much that I would have lunch at the same place at least twice a week as it was walking distance from my office. If you are ever in Singapore please make it a point to visit Dal-In and binge out!! Some of my favourites being a choice of 4 types of complimentary kimchi with your main – Mapa Rice, Saba, Bibimbap among many others

Korean food is spicy, colourful and lip-smacking-ly flavoursome! Its my next favourite cuisine after my own – Indian Cuisine. Some of their food is so spicy & packed with flavour that its very enjoyable for someone who is used to eating Indian food, in my opinion it suites our palate really well

For Indians – the process of making Kimchi is very similar to making Indian pickles – it includes the same 3 stages- brining, mixing in the additional spice paste & fermenting

Here is a kimchi recipe that I was inspired to make following some research, this recipe is inspired by Youtubers – MommyTang & The Kale Sandwich Show I’ve made some variations to suit my palate as you can play around with some of the ingredients to suit your taste buds – however some of the main ingredients will have to remain the same for an authentic flavour

Total time: 2.5 hours (including brining process) 

Fermentation: 48-36 hours (depending on the climate – ideally hot and humid weather means it ferments faster) 

Main Ingredients: 

  • 1 Napa Cabbage (approx 2.5 kgs)
  • handful of Gochugaru (Korean red pepper flakes) – no substitute for this!!
  • Approx. 55-60 grams of coarse sea salt
  • 8-10 cloves of garlic (small or medium-sized)
  • 8-10 grams of fresh ginger (washed and peeled)
  • 1 large onion
  • half an apple (sweet and juicy variety)
  • a handful (8-10 stems) of spring onion

Optional Ingredients: 

  • half a red bell pepper
  • 3-4 dried mushrooms (preferably any Asian variety)
  • 1 tablespoon of brown sugar
  • 1 Daikon (Japanese radish) or carrot
  • 1 cup of sushi rice
  • 1 sheet of seaweed

Utensils & equipment required: 

  • Food Processor/ blender
  • 1-2 large mixing bowls
  • a colander
  • plastic gloves (For mixing)
  • 2-3 bottles with screw top lids

Steps and Directions: 

Start by chopping the napa cabbage as indicated in the picture. The result is to get them into roughly bite sized squares(Muk pieces). The traditional chopping style includes just slicing into the bottom half of the cabbage and ripping it apart using your hands

Chop cabbage into half and then further into quarters as shown in the pictures. Then into Muk pieces (bite sized pieces).

Once done place them in a large bowl and wash them really well. approx. 2 or 3 times and drain well.

Now in the large mixing bowl, place a small layer of cabbage and sprinkle some salt and then place the next layer and sprinkle another layer of salt and continue this process until there is no more cabbage left.

Finally put your plastic gloves on and mix it all together well and set aside to brine. Leave it for 2 hours, during this time mix it every 30 minutes. While the cabbage is brining – if you are using mushrooms/ seaweed then its a good time to soak them now

During the last 30 minutes, prep the rest of the ingredients chop the spring onions into approx 1 inch pieces, chop onion & apple into halves. Then into a blender/ food processor add the garlic, ginger, onion, apple, mushrooms, seaweed, sushi rice (some water that they soaked in) and half a bell pepper if you are using one. blend into a paste and keep aside

Once the 2 hours of brining is complete the cabbage would have shrunk to half its original size and looking slightly limp then its time to rinse out the salt. Using the colander to rinse it 3 times. Remember you don’t have to rinse out all the salt, as some remaining salt will help the fermentation process.

Once washed drain well. Squeeze all the water out of the cabbage and ensure that there is no more water left at the bottom of the bowl. For most people that think kimchi is high on salt – guess what?! its not! as you rinse & drain most of it away!

Now into a mixing bowl add the well-drained cabbage, put your gloves back on and add a handful of Gochugaru (Korean red pepper flakes) and massage well into the cabbage. Next add the spice paste from the blender/ food processor and rub into the cabbage. spend 30 seconds massaging the cabbage, this will help the fermentation process.

Finally add the spring onions and mix one last time and fill put into the bottles. Remember to not fill the bottle right up to the top – leave some space – the cabbage will expand slightly as it ferments

Leave to ferment in a dark, warm place either on the kitchen counter or elsewhere for 48 hours or 36. Once you see bubbles appear on top of the kimchi – its ready!

Finally remember to unscrew lid every 24 hours to relieve pressure/gasses.:) Once fermented store in the fridge to stop or slow the fermenting process. Its best served cold as a side, condiment or just on its own.


Address: Dal-In Korean Resturant – 17 Boon Tat St, Singapore 069618 🙂 I will post a picture of the Kimchi once its ready post fermentation – stay tuned in 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s