Recipe: Quick-fix Kimchi, from a Trail of Crumbs

by Kim Sunee

“Korean cuisine–hearty, rustic and beautiful–shines as the unsung hero of Asian cooking. I make this express version of cabbage kimchi–sometimes adding or substituting for the cabbage sliced cucumbers, zucchini or bean sprouts–whenever I long for a spicy hit of Korea.”
– Kim Sunee, author

Serves 2-4


  • 1 small head Napa cabbage, cored and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup sea salt
  • 1 (4-inch) piece fresh ginger, minced or grated
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 3-4 tablespoons hot red chili paste (or Sriracha or sambal oelek)
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon sesame or walnut oil
  • 1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 3-4 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 small head escarole (or frisée or Romaine), chopped

Prep: 25 minutes
Total: 1 hour 15 minutes, plus 2 hours refrigeration


  • Colander
  • Grater
  • Salad
  • Spinner
  • Whisk
  • large bowl
  • glass jar (or bowl)


1. Remove outer leaves of cabbage, quarter lengthwise, core bottoms, and cut across into 1-inch pieces. Place in a colander in the sink and sprinkle with salt. Let sit 45-60 minutes.

2. Rinse and dry cabbage thoroughly, preferably using a salad spinner (otherwise the kimchi will be watery).

3. Whisk together ginger and next 8 ingredients in a large bowl. Add cabbage and escarole, and toss to combine.

4. Pack kimchi in a clean glass jar or bowl. Cover and refrigerate 2 hours and up to 2 weeks. Serve with steamed rice, grilled meat, on sandwiches or stirred into soups.

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Copyright 2008, Kim Sunee. Reprinted with permission from A Trail of Crumbs: Hunger, Love and the Search for Home by Kim Sunee (Hachette Book Group USA, Jan. 2008)