Napa Cabbage Kimchi

Source: Sunset Magaine

Yield: 2 pints


  • 1 small head napa cabbage (2 lbs.)
  • 4 ounces daikon radish (center section)
  • 1/4 cup coarse sea salt
  • 1/4 Asian pear
  • 1/4 cup ground Korean chile (gochugaru)
  • 2 tablespoons minced yellow onion
  • 5 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Thai or Vietnamese fish sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 green onion, white and halved lengthwise, then entire onion cut into 1 1/2-inch lengths


Quarter cabbage lengthwise. Cut out and discard core at base of each quarter, then slice cabbage crosswise into 2 1/2-inch pieces. Put cabbage in a large bowl, cover with water, and let sit for a minute.
Drain cabbage and return to bowl. Add the daikon radish, sprinkle with salt, and toss with your hands to coat thoroughly.
Press down on vegetables to compact them; let sit at room temperature for 20 minutes. Stir to redistribute the salt and let vegetables sit uncovered at room temperature. 5 to 6 hours (no need to stir again).
Put vegetables in a large bowl of cold water and swish to rinse, then drain and repeat until it is as salty as to taste.
After the final draining, gently squeeze out most of the liquid and transfer vegetables to a large, clean, dry bowl. Peel, halve and core the Asian pear. Cut into 1/4-inch thick slices, then into 1-inch wide pieces (should be about 3/4 cup). Add pear to bowl with all remaining ingredients except the green onion. Mix thoroughly, then gently mix in the green onion.
Pack kimchi into two clean 1-pint jars, leaving 1 1/2 inches of headspace below the rim. Push vegetables down firmly into the jars so the liquid within the jars rises.
Seal jars with a tight-fitting lid and let sit on a rimmed baking sheet at room temperature, away from direct sunlight. Fermentation time varies, but at warm room temperature, it should take 2-3 days; if it’s cool, up to 1 week. Sample the kimchi regularly (it may fizz a little when the jar is opened, as sign of fermentation). Open jars over a sink in case they drip. When the kimchi is nicely tangy, it’s ready to eat. It will keep, refrigerated, for up to 3 months.