Make Your Own Kimchi!

Make Your Own Kimchi!

I recently met up with Hannah Chung who has her own business called Simply Seoul. If you’ve frequented Atlanta’s farmers markets you may have seen her selling her addictive steamed buns and jars of kimchi at Grant Park, Peachtree Road or on the shelves of Whole Foods. Hannah showed me the step-by-step process for making her kimchi, and during the lesson she shared some really cool things about her life.

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Here’s a bulleted list of some things you didn’t know about Hannah Chung of Simply Seoul:

  • She grew up cooking for herself because in her words, “my mom makes four things extremely well and everything else she cooks isn’t that good. So I started cooking really young because I didn’t like her food.”
  • She was a home cook her entire life, but wanted to see if she fit into the culinary path. She asked Anne Quatrano for an externship working two days a week in Bacchanalia’s kitchen. Quatrano’s response, “I don’t know why I’m doing this but I am going to put you on the line tomorrow night and see what you can do.”
  • She has worked in the kitchens of Bacchanalia, Miller Union, The Porter Bar, Holeman & Finch and New York’s Spotted Pig. (in case you didn’t know, several of those have won James Beard awards!)
    • While at the Porter she had free range of recipe creation. The Korean pork tacos on the menu are still from Hannah’s recipe.
  • She used to work at Whole Foods as a cheesemonger.
  • She prefers H-Mart because it is focused on Korean cuisine. Her favorite spot on Buford Highway is Yet Tuh.
  • In her own kitchen she enjoys cooking spicy tofu stew.
    • Hannah tries to eat vegetarian and gluten-free when possible.
  • She imports her red pepper flakes for this kimchi recipe from a farm out in California where they are ground fresh. They are very spicy compared to flakes you buy at the store.

And now… make your own kimchi!

View step-by-step photos on how  to make your own kimchi in the gallery here. 

Kimchi Recipe

courtesy of Hannah Chung of Simply Seoul 


  • 2 large size napa cabbages (about 8 pounds)
  • 1½ cups of coarse salt
  • ½ cup sweet rice flour*
  • 3 cups of water
  • 4 cups of hot pepper flakes*
  • 1 medium sized onion, quartered
  • 1 cup of fresh garlic, peeled
  • 1 inch piece of fresh ginger, sliced
  • 7 stalks of green onions, chopped in 2 inch pieces

*you can purchase sweet rice flour and hot pepper flakes at H Mart

Directions to make your own kimchi:

salting the kimchi helps to drain the water.

salting the kimchi helps to drain the water.

  1. Cut the cabbages in half, and then half each half.
  2. Core the cabbages and cut into four sections. Rinse your cabbages to make sure there is no dirt in between the layers.
  3. Add the cabbage to a bowl and salt. Toss to make sure the leaves are coated.
  4. Set the cabbage aside for 4 hours to allow the salt to soak up the water.
  5. After 4 hours you will notice the cabbage has shrunk in size. Rinse the cabbage with water.

Now move on to make the Kimchi paste:

The onion, garlic and ginger mixture turns bright red when you add the pepper flakes and sweet rice flour.

The onion, garlic and ginger mixture turns bright red when you add the pepper flakes and sweet rice flour.

1. Add quartered onions, sliced ginger and garlic cloves into a food processor. Puree to combine and put in a large bowl.
2. Put ½ cup of sweet rice flour in a separate bowl. Whisk in 3 cups of water.
3. Add the rice flour mixture into the onion, ginger and garlic mixture. Whisk to combine.
4. Pour in hot pepper flakes and whisk until incorporated.

 Mix it all together.

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1. Slice your green onions into 2 inch pieces and add to cabbage.
2. Use gloves to prevent staining or burning hands. Pour the red pepper mixture over the cabbage.
3. Mix all ingredients well with your hands. You now have kimchi.
3. Stuff the kimchi into glass jars. It should be tightly packed.
4. Store on the counter for two days, and then store in the refrigerator.

*Your kimchi will keep indefinitely, it just gets sour with age.

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  • Thomas Hanson on Mar 30, 2014 Reply

    Like the recipe but 2 cups red pepper flakes per cabbage seems like a lot. I’ll see how much I like it after it sets awhile.

  • Carla on Mar 12, 2014 Reply

    This looks amazing!!!!!! I’m definitely going to try making it. Gonna make it SPICY

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