I am so excited to show you how to make vegetarian or vegan kimchi today. It’s from my new cookbook! How long have you been waiting for this recipe? Or maybe you made your own adaptation of my traditional kimchi recipe or my easy kimchi recipe? When people asked me how to make vegetarian kimchi in comments I always suggested to use soy sauce but I wasn’t totally satisfied with my own answer because soy sauce alone couldn’t replace the deep savoriness of fish sauce or salty fermented shrimp that I use in my kimchi.
So I developed this recipe for my cookbook, the secret is in the vegetarian stock I created. It works perfectly. It gives the kimchi a delicious savoriness. Even if you are not a vegetarian you should try this for a change, you will be surprised how delicious it is. Even though I’m not a vegetarian, I love to make vegetarian kimchi because I never miss much of the taste from my traditional kimchi made with fish sauce and fermented shrimp.
It’s also a small portion of kimchi! You need only 1 head of napa cabbage (3 pounds), and then you can modify this recipe to adapt to how much you want to make. Enjoy the recipe! Let me know how your kimchi turns out!
Makes about 4 pounds
- 3 pounds napa cabbage
- 9 tablespoons kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons chapssalgaru (glutinous rice flour, aka sweet rice flour)
- 1⅓ cup vegetable stock
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon sugar
- 9 garlic cloves
- 1 teaspoon peeled ginger
- 1 medium onion, cut into chunks
- 1 cup gochu-garu (Korean hot pepper flakes)
- 6 ounces Korean radish, cut into matchsticks (about 1 cup), or daikon
- 3 ounces buchu (Asian chives, aka garlic chives), chopped (optional)
- 6 green onions, sliced diagonally
- 2 ounces carrot matchsticks (about ¼ cup)
Salt the cabbage:
- Cut the cabbage lengthwise into quarters. Cut away the core of each quarter.
- Cut the leaves crosswise into 1-to-1½ inch bite size pieces. Transfer to a large bowl.
- Toss with 6 tablespoons of the salt and 1 cup water.
- Let stand for 2 hours, tossing the cabbage every 30 minutes to salt evenly.
Make the kimchi paste:
- Combine the glutinous rice flour and 1 cup of the vegetable stock in a small saucepan and place over medium high heat.
- Stir until the mixture begins to bubble, 2 to 3 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon of the sugar and stir until the mixture is slightly translucent, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool thoroughly.
- Put the cooled porridge, the remaining ⅓ cup vegetable stock, the remaining 3 tablespoons salt, the remaining 1 teaspoon sugar, garlic, ginger, and onion in a food processor and process to a puree.
- Transfer the puree to a medium bowl.
- Add the gochu-garu (hot pepper flakes) and mix it well. Set aside.
Wash the salted cabbage:
- Rinse the cabbage 3 to 4 times with cold running water to remove any dirt and excess salt. Drain well.
Mix it all together and make kimchi:
- Well dry a large bowl with kitchen cloth.
- Add the cabbage, radish matchsticks, green onion, chives (if used), and carrot. Add the kimchi paste and mix all together by hand (wear disposable gloves if you like).
- Transfer to an airtight container or glass jars. Press down the on the kimchi so it’s well packed and no air can get inside, then put the lid on the container.
Ferment the kimchi:
- You can serve the kimchi right away, sprinkled with sesame seeds. Or you can let the kimchi ferment. It takes about 2 weeks to ferment in the refrigerator; for faster fermenting, leave it at room temperature for 1 to 2 days, depending on the warmth of your kitchen, until the kimchi smells and tastes sour.
- Once the kimchi is fermented, store in the refrigerator until it runs out. After 2 weeks, the kimchi will have fermented nicely, and it will continue to ferment and become more sour as time goes one. It never goes bad and you can enjoy it at every stage.
- Whenever you take some kimchi out of the container, be sure to press down on the remaining kimchi with a spoon to prevent it from being exposed to air.