Kim Chi is a fermented food that is so easy to make and allows you to be creative, meaning you don’t have to follow the recipe exactly. It is an amazing food that is beneficial for your microbiome that can help improve your gut flora. Your gut plays a role in making or regulating chemical messengers (hormones or neurotransmitters) which communicate directly to the brain via the vagus nerve. And if you do not have sufficient good bacteria in your gut due to imbalance of bad bacteria, well it should then be no surprise you are having difficulty sleeping for example as well as a host of other issues like anxiety and depression.

Here are 2 recipes to make Kim Chi. The first one is a vegetable kim chi along with a recipe to make a chili garlic paste for this kim chi. You don’t have to make the paste, you could just add some hot peppers instead. And following, I have a new favourite of mine, a fruit kim chi. I love the complex taste between the hot spices and the sweetness of the fruit. Very delicious.


How To Make Kim Chi

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3 Recipes: Chili Garlic Paste, Basic Brine and Kim Chi

Chili Garlic Paste/Sauce*

1 oz dried chili, stem cut off, roughly chopped

Hot water

8 cloves of garlic, coarsely chopped

2 tsps. raw unrefined cane sugar (I omit this)

1 tbsp fine unrefined sea salt

3 tbsp raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar

2 tbsp fish sauce (sometimes I use, sometimes I forget)

3 tbsp liquid reserved from hydrating the chili


Put chili in a bowl and cover with 1 cup of hot water.  Allow them rehydrate until soft – about 20 minutes.  Drain and reserve the liquid to thin the paste.

Place the hydrated chili, garlic, sugar (if using), salt, vinegar and fish sauce in a blender and puree into a chunky paste. (I use a hand blender).

Add the reserved liquid and puree until smooth.  (I actually use all the liquid and it turns the paste more into a sauce).

Place in a wide mouth jar, cover tightly and leave at room temperature for 3 days.

Transfer to refrigerator and leave for 3 days.

Best used within in 2 months but will last longer.  I have had the sauce in my refrigerator for 6 months without any problem.

(I double the recipe to have handy and ready for the next batch)

Basic Brine*

6 tbsp fine sea salt

8 cups of filtered water

Whisk together to dissolve the salt.

Use immediately or cover and place in refrigerator.

*recipes from Mastering Fermentation, Mary Karlin

Kim Chi**


1 Napa cabbage (savoy cabbage can be used if Napa not available)

5 baby bok choy (optional)

1/4 jicama (optional)

3 or 4 Jerusalem artichokes (Sunchokes) (and optional as well – you can add more)

3 small valentine radishes (any radish will do – classic is daikon)

5 carrots (more or less), peeled

6 green onions, chopped

3 inches of ginger, peeled and grated

10 garlic cloves (I love garlic so you definitely can use less…or more)

Sea salt – approx.. 2 tablespoons

¾ cup of chili garlic sauce

2 batches of brine (all depends, make 1 batch and decide if more is needed)

Approx. 8 large mason jars, thoroughly cleaned (I dunk them in boiling water for about 30 seconds)


Quarter the cabbage and sprinkle salt between the leaves.

Add baby bok choy and lightly sprinkle (if using).

They can be in the same bowl.

Set aside and leave for at least 3 hours.

When ready rinse off the salt in filtered water.

In the meantime, chop the vegetables in any way you like.  In a bowl add:

Carrots:   sliced or roughly cut or grated.  I prefer thinly sliced

If using Jerusalem artichokes and jicama – they can be sliced or grated

Radishes, sliced 

Green onions, chopped

Ginger, grated and thinly slice the garlic (or finely chopped).

Toss together and add the chili garlic sauce.

Add half of the brine.

Chop the cabbage and baby bok choy  into bite size pieces and add to mixture.

Pack the mixture in mason jars.

Add more brine so the mixture is submerged.

You can use a weight to hold the mixture down. I just open the jars daily and push it down.

Keep in a cool place for at least 3 days.  The actually recipe states to leave it for 3 days and then put into refrigerator.  Somewhere along the way I have been leaving them on the kitchen counter for up to 6 days with great results.  The kimchi is actually ready in 6 days.  It will continue to ferment and can last several months if not more.

** recipe adapted from Mastering Fermentation


Fruit Kimchi *

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¼ fresh pineapple **

2 plums, pitted **

2 pears, cored **

1 apple, cored

Small bunch of grapes **

(these are suggested fruit – you could try any fruit or combination that appeals to you)

½ cup of cashews (or any other nut)

2 tsp of sea salt

1 lemon, juiced

Small bunch of cilantro, chopped

1-2 fresh jalapeno peppers, finely chopped **

1-2 hot red chilies, fresh or dried **

1 leek or onion **

3-4 cloves of garlic finely chopped **

3 tbsp of grated ginger

** my variation

1 plum, 1 pear more pineapple

Used red seedless grapes

1 jalapeno, 2 dried hot chilies one red and one yellow

4 green onions

Thinly sliced about 6 cloves of garlic

Chop fruit into bite size pieces into a bowl.  Peel if you wish (certainly peel the pineapple – I did not peel anything else but thoroughly washed them).  Add nuts. Mix together. Add salt, lemon juice, spices and mix well.

Stuff mixture into clean jar.  Pack it tightly into the jar, pressing down until the brine rises.  If necessary, add a little water.  Weigh it down and ferment.

Check it every day and press down the kimchi below the brine.  I use a spoon but Sandor writes that you do it with your clean fingers.  He likes it because of the tactile feel and a chance to lick his fingers.  I prefer to lick the spoon.

Ferment in the kitchen or in a warm place.  You can taste it every day.  After about a week, when you feel it tastes ripe, move it to the refrigerator.  I put the fruit kimchi into the fridge after 5 days.  Or you could slow ferment in the more traditional way by adding more salt and placing it in a cool spot such as a hole in the ground or in the basement.

As the fruit kimchi ages, it will develop an increasingly alcoholic flavour.

*Recipe from Wild Fermentation by Sando Ellix Katz