Kimchi Scared Me Silly


If you are a fan of kimchi, give this recipe a try. It’s a flavorful condiment that I like to serve with Korean bulgogi and rice.

If you are a fan of kimchi, give this recipe a try. It's a flavorful condiment that I like to serve with Korean bulgogi and rice.

Every time I open Sally Fallon and Mary Enig’s book, Nourishing Traditions, I learn something. This week I have been studying up on lacto-fermentation which Sally dedicates an entire section of the book to. She points out that “in earlier times, people knew how to preserve vegetables for long periods without the use of freezers or canning machines.” The way they did this was through the process of lacto-fermentation. Here’s what Sally has to say about it:

“The proliferation of lactobacilli in fermented vegetables enhances their digestibility
and increases vitamin levels. These beneficial organisms produce numerous helpful
enzymes as well as antibiotic and anticarcinogenic substances. Their main by-product,
lactic acid, not only keeps vegetables and fruits in a state of perfect preservation but
also promotes the growth of healthy flora throughout the intestine.”

                                                                         Sally Fallon, Nourishing Traditions

Honestly, up until this week, fermenting anything in my kitchen was out of the question—unless it was by accident in the back of the fridge. So to tell me that I should mix some vegetables together in a glass jar, add some salt and let it sit on the counter for three days and then eat it. Hmmm, “no thanks!” But putting fear aside, I did it. I tried Sally’s recipe for Kimchi and it worked! I am alive, I am not suffering from gastric distress or food poisoning—I have tried it and am a convert.

If you are interested in adding more beneficial bacteria to your gut or just want to learn more about fermentation, buy Sally’s book or read up on it online. If you are a fan of kimchi, give this recipe a try. It’s a flavorful condiment that I like to serve with Korean bulgogi and rice.

One more thing. If you are a fan of the Noursihing Traditions book, check out The Nourishing Cook! Kim Knoch has taken on the challenge of cooking through all 773 of Sally’s recipes—think Julie and Julia. Whoa! I am impressed. She has been at it since December 2009. There are no photos in the Nourishing Traditions book so if you want to see what a finished product looks like, head on over to The Nourishing Cook.

Korean Sauerkraut (Kimchi)
A recipe from Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon with Mary G. Enig, Ph.D.

Gluten-Free | Casein-Free | Citrus-Free | Corn-Free | Dairy-Free | Egg-Free | Fish-Free | Peanut-Free
Potato-Free | Rice-Free | Soy-Free |  Tree Nut-Free | Shellfish-Free |
Wheat-Free | Grain-Free
Sweetener-Free | GFCF | Vegetarian | Vegan | Raw

Makes:  2 quarts
Prep Time:  15 minutes
Fermentation Time:  About 3 days


1 head NAPA CABBAGE cored and shredded
1 bunch GREEN ONIONS, chopped
1 cup CARROTS, grated
1/2 cup DAIKON RADISH, grated (optional)
1 tablespoon freshly grated GINGER
3 cloves GARLIC, peeled and minced
1/2 teaspoon dried CHILI FLAKES
1 tablespoon SEA SALT
4 tablespoons WHEY (if not available, use an additional 1 tablespoon SEA SALT — which I did. For more information on use of whey, consult the book) Do not use whey if you have a dairy allergy/intolerance.


Place vegetables, ginger, garlic, red chili flakes, sea salt and whey (or extra tablespoon sea salt) in a bowl and pound with a wooden pounder or a meat hammer to release juices. Place in a quart-sized, wide-mouth mason jar and press down firmly with a pounder or meat hammer until juices come to the top of the cabbage. The top of the vegetables should be at least 1 inch below the top of the jar. Cover tightly and keep at room temperature for about 3 days before transferring to cold storage.

The next time I make this recipe, I will add more chili pepper or some cayenne and/or paprika for added heat and richer colored red juice.

More Good Stuff


Kim @ Cook It Allergy Free October 17, 2010 - 4:23 pm

Lexie! This is great! I love this!! I have done a little fermenting of vegetables, but it takes some major convincing to get the kiddos to eat them because of the strong smells. I, however, love them.
Now, I just have to tell you that you and I are on such the same wavelength! I am writing about my love of Nourishing Traditions and how I was scared to make Bone Broths with chicken feet. But now, as gross as it sounds, I love it! LOL
You are on the ball, already getting your post up. 😉


I am totally with ya on this wave-length thing! It is so weird in this world of blogging to see so many inspired to try the same thing at the same time. NOW chicken feet are BEYOND me … can't wait for your post and a recorded video of you eating it, ha!!


Sara October 17, 2010 - 5:29 pm

I've been nervous to try the lacto-fermentation method too. The thing is that I love sauerkraut and it would be nice to actually make it myself without a sauerkraut maker (or a big 5 gallon bucket). Thanks for facing your fear and doing it! Maybe I'll face my fear next (as I am getting napa cabbage in my next produce delivery).


Hi there Sara! I agree about the sauerkraut. Another thing that's nice about this method is that you don't need to spend a whole day in the kitchen making copious quantities of the stuff. I hate it when I make a huge batch of something and then feel compelled to eat it all up! Sally's recipes are just right … a medium-sized batch … some to keep and some to give away. And you're done eating it up by the time you get tired of it 🙂 Hugs to ya!


Julie January 14, 2011 - 9:06 pm

I've made this recipe twice now, and I love it! It tastes great, and I feel so good after eating it. My husband was nervous to try veggies that had been sitting out for so long, but once he finally did he got hooked too. Thanks for posting such a wonderful recipe!!

Your Father February 7, 2011 - 5:12 am


Don't forget the fish sauce (or fresh oyster) and soybean/chili paste in your Kimchi Recipe. Also, let the daikon be sliced for an additional crunch. Mention that you can make this with Napa Cabbage, Daikon Radish, or English Cucumber as the main pickled ingredient.

I swear, every time I think of Kimchi I think of Maj. Frank Burns…."..they're planting mines..they're planting mines…."



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