How often are you granted permission to make something, then forget about it in your refrigerator for a couple of months?

We often had a jar of my mom’s homemade kimchi in the refrigerator when I was growing up. I’m willing to bet that wasn’t the case in a lot of the households in our part of rural Wyoming. I remember loving it, even as a child. It’s easy to make–so long as you don’t mind not being able to eat it for awhile. 

It’s tangy and spicy and the perfect mate for a bowl of steaming rice. But if the thought of rice with cabbage, no matter how zesty, doesn’t excite you all that much, you could try kimchi and rice with grilled steak skirt that you’ve marinated in 1/4 cup of soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of sugar, 1 tablespoon of fish sauce, 1 tablespoon of minced ginger, and 2 cloves of minced garlic. Suddenly, your duet is a group.

If you want to keep the kimchi super simple, don’t bother adding the sugar and fish paste listed below. And this kimchi won’t be the same shade of bright red that you’ll find in the stores because I don’t add paprika. I prefer the color of the cabbage sprinkled with chili peppers, but that’s just me.



3 – 4 pounds Napa cabbage, cut into 1-1/2″ pieces and washed

3 tablespoons salt

3 tablespoons chili paste

3-4 cloves garlic, finely minced

1 teaspoon sugar (optional)

1 tablespoon fish sauce (optional)


1. Place the chopped, washed cabbage in a large bowl. Cover with a plate that touches the cabbage and weigh it down. Leave at least 8 hours.

2. Wash and drain the cabbage, removing as much moisture as possible.

3. Mix the cabbage, chili paste, and garlic in a bowl.

4. Place the cabbage mixture into a bowl with a lid or a jar. Stir occasionally.

5. Kimchi keeps in the refrigerator for months.


1 Comment

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One response to “Kimchi

  1. Sundee

    Cool! Thanks for this. I love kim chi. I always thought of it as an exclusively Korean dish. Did your mom get it from the Koreans or is it a Vietnamese tradition, as well?

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