Try this recipe for red cabbage kimchi, then check out our classic red cabbage, braised red cabbage and pickled red cabbage.

Want to make a classic version of this fermented cabbage? Follow our easy recipe for homemade kimchi, then check out our recipe for kimchi jeon (spicy kimchi pancakes).

Lacto-fermentation and gut health

Lacto-fermenting vegetables is bang-on-trend and an ancient way of preserving fresh food to last all year. The lacto bit refers to the lactic acid created during the ferment and the process of fermenting increases both nutrient and probiotic levels making these the healthiest pickles around. One of the best known ferments is this spicy kimchi, a fermented cabbage which is popular delicacy in Korea.

You can ferment using just brine (salted water) – the salt discourages bad bacteria and allows the conveniently salt-tolerant good ones to grow, or you can use a starter to encourage things along.

Try more recipes for a healthy gut.


  • 750g red cabbage, finely sliced (about 1 medium cabbage)
  • 50g fine table salt
  • 50g ginger, finely grated
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 8 tbsp filtered tap water or bottled spring water
  • 4 tbsp gochugaru (Korean red pepper powder)
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce, (omit for veggie kimchi)
  • 4 tbsp sesame seeds, toasted
  • 1 tbsp soft brown sugar
  • 1 tsp sea salt


  • STEP 1

    Add the red cabbage to a large mixing bowl and scatter over the salt. Use your hands to massage the salt firmly into the cabbage, bruising the flesh and pressing it all together. Cover loosely with a clean tea towel and leave for 2 hours to allow the salt to draw out the moisture. After 2 hours, tip into a colander, rinse well under cold running water and drain well.

  • STEP 2

    Rinse out the mixing bowl, and add the ginger, garlic, water, gochugaru, fish sauce, sesame seeds, sugar, sea salt and a grind of black pepper. Stir well until you have a pungent paste, add the rinsed cabbage back in and mix together thoroughly. Spoon into the jar, or jars, packing down well so it all fits snugly – the top should be submerged in liquid. Tear off a piece of clingfilm and press it tightly down onto the surface to keep out as much air as possible then cover tightly with the lid. Leave to ferment at room temperature for 3-7 days.

  • STEP 3

    Check the kimchi every day, pressing the cabbage back under the surface liquid and replacing the clingfilm layer with fresh. Start tasting after 3 days – it should be pleasantly sour – leave it for longer if necessary. Much depends on the temperature and your personal taste. Once you’re happy, store it in the fridge, where it will keep maturing nicely for a few months.

Check out more of our best red cabbage recipes

Chorizo Sausage Tray Bake Recipe with Quince and Red Cabbage


Janine Ratcliffe Portrait
Janine RatcliffeFood director

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