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23 Mar 2022

Judy Joo’s cabbage kimchi

Judy Joo’s cabbage kimchi
Cabbage Kimchi
After five years of working on Wall Street, Judy embarked on a stellar career, publishing two cookbooks, making many TV appearances and opening restaurants Jinjuu and Seoul Bird. See her on the Main Stage, Sunday 17 July.

Serves 8

Takes 1 hour, plus 6-8 hours fermenting time


  • 2 litres warm water
  • 230g coarse sea salt 
  • 1 large Korean cabbage, or several heads Chinese cabbage (2.2kg-2.7kg total), bottoms trimmed, wilted and tough outer leaves discarded, rinsed well 
  • 2 small onions 
  • 12 dried shiitake mushrooms 
  • 10 large dried anchovies, head and guts removed 
  • 6 spring onions, roughly chopped 
  • 64 garlic cloves, 8 crushed and the rest left whole 
  • 1 piece of dried kelp (around 25cm) 
  • 250g gochugaru (Korean chilli flakes) 
  • 14 tbsp fish sauce 
  • 10 tbsp salted shrimp paste, rinsed
  • 4 tbsp sugar 
  • knob of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped (around 18cm) 
  • 3 carrots, julienned 
  • 12 spring onions, cut into 5cm pieces 
  • 200g Korean white radish or mooli, peeled and julienned 


  1. Stir together the warm water and 115g of salt in a large bowl, until the salt has dissolved. Let the salted water cool. 
  2. Meanwhile, partially cut the cabbage(s) in half lengthways, starting from the root and cutting about halfway to the top. 
  3. Using your hands, pull the cabbage(s) apart to split in half completely. Repeat so that each half is halved in the same way, which keeps the leaves intact and whole. 
  4. Loosen the leaves of each wedge so that they are easy to spread. Sprinkle the remaining 115g salt over and between all the leaves, salting the core area more heavily. Put the cabbage into a large bowl, cut side up. Pour the cooled, salted water over the cabbage, then pour enough cold water into the bowl to cover the cabbage; don’t overfill the bowl as some of the liquid will be drawn out of the cabbage. Weigh down the cabbage with a plate so the wedges are completely immersed. Leave at room temperature for 6-8 hours, flipping the wedges halfway through.
  5. Rinse the wedges well under cold running water and squeeze out any excess moisture. Put the wedges, cut-side down, in a colander and leave to drain for at least 30 mins. 
  6. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine the onions, mushrooms, anchovies, spring onions, 8 crushed garlic cloves and the kelp, and bring to the boil over a high heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer for 20 mins. Strain the liquid, discarding the solids and leave the stock to cool completely. 
  7. Once the stock has cooled, combine the remaining garlic cloves, gochugaru, fish sauce, salted shrimp, sugar and ginger, and process in a food processor until smooth. Add enough of the stock to make a smooth paste, about 475ml. 
  8. Discard any remaining stock. Transfer the spice paste to a large bowl and stir in the carrots, spring onions and radish. 
  9. Rub the spice paste all over the cabbage wedges and between each leaf. Pull the outermost leaf of each wedge tightly over the rest of the wedge, forming a tidy parcel. Pack the wedges into one or more glass or non-reactive containers with a tight lid. Press a piece of cling film directly on the surface of the kimchi, then cover. 
  10. The kimchi can be eaten at this young stage or after it sits at room temperature and starts to get sour and ‘bubble’, about 2-3 days. 
  11. Store the kimchi in the fridge, where it will continue to ferment. I like to age mine for at least two weeks. 
  12. Cut the kimchi before serving.  

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