Quick Kimchi

The recipe in this article is based on The Ultimate Kimchi Recipe, but it substitutes some of the ingredients to save preparation time. It has a somewhat different taste, but its fun to prepare and only takes a minute.

Originally published 1998

Time Saving Ingredients

The first trick to making super-quick kimchi is to start with sauerkraut as a base. That takes care of the cabbage and vinegar. Start with organic sauerkraut, if you can find it, so you get the maximum nutritional benefit.

Since sauerkraut contains a fair amount of sugar, you won’t be needing an apple or an orange, either. However, here you are making a definite sacrifice for the sake of speed — the vinegar will be pasteurized, and you’ll be missing the vitamin C, minerals, phytochemicals, and fiber present in the organic foods. (To see the importance of these ingredients, see What Makes Kimchi So Healthy?) But unless you are lucky enough to find an unsugared sauerkraut, it will be simply too sweet to add fruit.

The next time-saver is to get one of those packages of shredded carrots from the grocery store. The carrots won’t be organic, unless you get really lucky, but it will be fast. You’ll use about a 1/3 of a package to a jar of sauerkraut.

The third time saver is to skip the broccoli and cucumber. That saves slicing and dicing time, and makes the recipe closer to a traditional Korean dish, which usually only has one or two main ingredients. (You’ll still add the scallions, though — they’re have too much health impact to leave out.)

Finally, get to a Korean food store and get one of those plastic tins of crushed garlic from the frozen foods section. Again, you’ll be missing the benefits of organic garlic, but its ready when you need it, without any of the peeling or crushing preparation steps.

Other Ingredients

The other ingredients you should have on hand are the same ones you would use for any variety of kimchi:

  • Scallions
  • Korean chili powder (coarse)
  • Sesame seeds
  • Unrefined sesame oil
  • Kosher salt (or sea salt)
  • Lemon

Once again, make sure the sesame oil is both organic and unrefined. To see why, see Oils and EFAs.


The first step is to drain the sauerkraut, pouring the vinegar into a separate bowl. You’ll use some of it for the chilli paste, but not all. The next step is to add salt to the sauerkraut. It will take a bit more than usual. The goal is balance out the super-sweet taste and tame it down to something less intense.

Next, add sesame oil and sesame seeds to the sauerkraut. Again, it will take a fair amount to balance out the vinegar taste. Add enough oil to lightly coat all of the sauerkraut, and about a handful of sesame seeds to a jar of sauerkraut. Add a bit at a time and taste as you go, until the flavors are balanced. (If you go overboard, you can always add back some of the vinegar you saved.)

Now fold in the carrots. Cut the ends off the scallions, slice the white parts down the center to unlock their flavors, and then cut the scallions into short strips with a diagonal cut. You want to add enough to be noticed, but not enough to overpower the mixture. Add to taste.

Put a small handful of the chili powder in a separate mixing bowl, and add nearly an equal amount of crushed garlic. Use the juice of one-half lemon and some of the saved vinegar to make a paste, and massage it into the sauerkraut. Its kimchi! Keep it in the sauerkraut jar and store it in the refrigerator. Have it on toast, with rice, or as a side dish. Enjoy!

Copyright © 1998-2017, TreeLight PenWorks

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