The Ultimate Guide to Making the Best Vegan Kimchi

The Ultimate Guide to Making the Best Vegan Kimchi

Even though we sell jars of kimchi, we'd like to make kimjang (the process of making kimchi) and other fermentation accessible. Everyone deserves to practice this act of care and nurturing that can ground your senses to the moment. Making kimchi becomes more than just preparing a meal; it is mindful practice that fosters creativity, promotes health, and celebrates cultural and microbial diversity. The process encourages a deeper appreciation for the ingredients and their natural cycles and also our cohabiting microbes. While the process of making kimchi might seem daunting, it is a rewarding endeavour that allows you to experiment with different ingredients and techniques.

Equipment List:

  • 2L jar
  • Chopping board
  • Knife
  • Blender
  • Big bowl
  • Sieve


  • ½ Napa cabbage
  • Sea salt
  • A piece of dried kelp (seaweed) roughly the size of an adult hand
  • 4-5 dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 3-4cm carrot
  • 1-2 spring onions or half a leek
  • ½ white onion
  • 2/3-1 bulb garlic
  • 1-2cm ginger
  • 1-2 fresh big red chilies
  • 3-4cm mooli radish (daikon, white radish)
  • ½ apple, pear, or persimmon
  • 5 tablespoons vegan fish sauce (optional)
  • 4 tablespoons plum sauce or sugar (optional)
  • 7-10 tablespoons gochugaru (chili flakes - amount depending on your spice level)
  • 1 tablespoon rice (or rice powder)


  • Step 1: Combine the kelp and shiitake mushrooms in a pot with water to create a rich, umami-flavoured broth.
  • Step 2: Cook 1 tablespoon of rice or rice powder until it reaches a thick, porridge-like consistency.
  • Step 3: Chop the Napa cabbage and generously salt it. Let it sit for 30-40 minutes to draw out moisture.
  • Step 4: Julienne the carrots, spring onions, fresh red chilies, and mooli radish into thin strips.
  • Step 5: In a blender, combine the garlic, ginger, apple/pear/persimmon, vegan fish sauce, rice, onion, sugar/plum extract, and gochugaru. Blend until smooth to create the kimchi paste.
  • Step 6: Check if the cabbage bends, not snaps. Rinse the salted cabbage thoroughly and drain well to remove excess salt.
  • Step 7: In a large bowl, mix the cabbage, julienned vegetables, and kimchi paste together. Ensure everything is well-coated with the paste.
  • Step 8: Pack the mixture tightly into the jar, leaving some space at the top for expansion during fermentation. Label the jar with the date.
  • Step 9: Store the jar in a dark, dry place at room temperature for two days. Burp the jar (open the lid slightly to release gas) every day. After two days, move the jar to the refrigerator to slow down the fermentation process.


  • Salting: If you have time, use 3% of the cabbage's weight in salt and let it sit overnight. If you're in a hurry, use more salt but rinse it out well until it is salty like potato crisps.
  • Flavour: Kelp and shiitake mushrooms add a deep umami flavour to the kimchi.  Both ingredients are rich in glutamates, compounds responsible for the umami taste. You can use them again for soups or fried rice afterwards.
  • Seasonal Ingredients: Napa cabbage and mooli radish are sweeter at the beginning of winter, making it an ideal time to make kimchi.
  • Rice Paste: Adding rice paste thickens the kimchi paste and provides natural sweetness, aiding fermentation. You can replace it with potato starch or flour as well.
  • Versatility: You can use various vegetables like leeks, spring onions, brussels sprouts, or the tops of beetroots or other vegetables. Each vegetable brings its unique flavour and texture, contributing to the diversity of kimchi varieties. Note that the more fibrous the kimchi is the longer the shelf-life.


Whether you enjoy it in toasties, in soups, or on top of bowls or salads, homemade kimchi can elevate any and all of your favourite dishes. The versatility of kimchi allows for endless experimentation, so we invite all of you to explore and innovate with what is local and familiar to you. Happy fermenting!

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