Recipe by Seonkyong Longest via

Makes 8 servings


  • 2 cups water
  • ⅓ cup coarse sea salt
  • 2½ lb napa cabbage

For the Kimchi Paste

  • 3 green onions/scallions
  • 5 cloves garlic (1.2 oz, 35 g)
  • 4 Tbsp gochugaru (Korean pepper flakes) (coarse powder)
  • 2 Tbsp fish sauce (use umami seasoning sauce for vegan)
  • 2 Tbsp apricot jam (Author uses 2 heaping Tbsp; you can also use apple jam or maesilaek (Korean plum extract))
  • 1 Tbsp toasted white sesame seeds


To Make the Salted Napa Cabbage

  • Mix 2 cups water and ⅓ cup coarse sea salt until the salt has dissolved.
  • Cut 2½ lb napa cabbage into quarters. Then, cut off and discard the tough core at the stem end of the cabbage quarters.
  • Remove the small and tender yellow leaves from the center and transfer them to a large bowl. Then, cut each quarter into 1-inch (2.5-cm) pieces that are about 3 inches (7.5 cm) at their widest part. They don‘t need to be uniform in size; actually, uneven-sized pieces are better for the kimchi‘s texture.
  • Put the napa cabbage pieces into the large bowl. Pour the prepared salted water over the cabbage. Toss to mix well and press down on the cabbage as much as possible. Let it soak for 40 minutes.
  • Halfway through (after 20 minutes), toss so that the cabbage pieces at the top of the bowl are now at the bottom. We want all the cabbage to soak evenly in the salted water. Press down and soak for another 20 minutes.
  • After 40 minutes, you can see that the salted water has drawn out the liquid from the cabbage. Now, drain the salted cabbage.
  • Rinse under cold running water for about 1 minute to get rid of the excess salt (you may see some dirt since this is the first time you‘re rinsing the cabbage). Drain completely for about 5 minutes.

To Make the Kimchi Paste

  • Meanwhile, make the kimchi paste. Cut 3 green onions/scallions in half lengthwise, then cut into pieces about 1 inch (2.5 cm) long. Put them into a large bowl.
  • Mince or press 5 cloves garlic (I use my garlic press to crush them). Add the garlic, 4 Tbsp gochugaru (Korean pepper flakes), 2 Tbsp fish sauce, 2 Tbsp apricot jam, and 1 Tbsp toasted white sesame seeds.
  • Mix it all together and set it aside.

To Make the Fresh Kimchi

  • Mix the well-drained napa cabbage and the kimchi paste together with your hand (I wear a plastic glove). Mix with gentle pressure and squeeze the cabbage so that it absorbs the color and flavor of the kimchi paste very well. Transfer to a serving plate and serve immediately with an extra sprinkling of sesame seeds.

To Store:

  • Keep the fresh kimchi in airtight containers and store in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.