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  • Writer's pictureHelen ModernPepper

KIMCHI: Vegan Kimchi AUTHENTIC Recipe [VEGAN Fish Sauce] Chaesik-Kimchi (채식김치 레시피) EASY SMALL BATCH

Updated: Jan 14

I am SO EXCITED to share this VEGAN Kimchi recipe (채식김치 레시피) with you! For those with strict dietary restrictions, suffer no more. You can now make authentic kimchi without using the fish sauce (멸치액젓) and fermented salt shrimp (새우젓) that are used in traditional kimchi recipe.

This SMALL BATCH VEGAN Kimchi recipe includes:

  • How To Make Vegan "Fish" Sauce (using sea kelp/Dashima/다시마 and dried seaweed/MiYeok/미역)

  • How To Make Vegan Fermented Salt Seaweed, as a substitution for fermented salt shrimp

  • Vegan Kimchi Paste & Kimchi Making

  • Vegan Instant Fresh Kimchi (Vegan Geotjeori: 채식 배추겉절이 김치 레시피)

For a detailed AUTHENTIC KIMCHI RECIPE Tutorial (from napa cabbage shopping tips to a complete EASY-TO-FOLLOW step-by-step kimchi-making instructions), please watch my Kimchi 101 video recipe and/or check out written recipe blog

Make sure to subscribe so we can make more Kimchi and Kimchi dishes together.

I would love to hear from you, so please do leave me comments, questions or simply say Hi...:-)

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Please take a photo of your Kimchi when you make it, posted it on your social media, and TAG @ModernPepper. I would love to see your Kimchi creation!

Also, leave me requests for future recipes for both traditional Korean cuisines and everyday meals with a Korean twist.

See you soon in my next video recipe...:-)

Thanks for watching!


Below You'll Find:

INGREDIENTS ( *ingredient substitutions)

🌿For My GreenThumb Friends (seeds to grow vegetables for kimchi & drying method for red peppers to make red pepper flakes)

Korean Red Pepper Flakes/GoChuGaRu/고춧가루 Shopping & Storage Tips

Common Kimchi Making Mistakes Of Ingredients


RECIPE INSTRUCTIONS (includes troubleshooting tips)

Kimchi Storage & Fermentation Tips


*Substitution Options

Vegan "Fish" Sauce (vegan version of anchovy fish sauce/멸치액젓)

(makes 1/2 cup)

4 Cup Water

1/4 oz Dried Seaweed/MiYoek/미역

1/4 oz Dried Seaweed Kelp/Dashima/다시마

2 Tbsp Soy Sauce/GanJang/간장

1 Tsp Fermented Soybean Paste/DoenJang/된장

Freshly Ground Black Pepper (small pinch/less than 1/8 tsp)

3 Garlic Cloves

1/4 White Onion (medium size onion)

Fermented Salt Seaweed (vegan version of fermented salt shrimp/새우젓)

Cooked dried seaweed (leaves only, discard stems), garlic, onion, and liquid from above.

3 Tbsp Coarse Salt (preferable Korean kimchi salt-brining salt)

Kimchi & Kimchi Paste

(This small-batch kimchi recipe is for up to 6 lbs of fresh napa cabbage(s). Adjust the amount of the ingredients according to the TOTAL WEIGHT of the cabbage(s) you are using)

Napa Cabbage (up to 6 lbs) *Regular white cabbage

Starch Gravy (pul 풀: glue): 2 Cup Water & 1/2 Cup White Flour (see below for recipe instruction)

1.5 Cups Korean Red Pepper Flakes/GoChuGaRu 고춧가루: Coarse Grind Only *See below under Korean Red Pepper Flakes/GoChuGaRu/고춧가루 Shopping & Storage Tips

1/3 Cup Water *Substitution option Dashima broth

1/4 Cup Vegan "Fish" Sauce

1 Tbsp Korean Plum Extract (Maesil 매실청) *Substitution option: honey

2 Tbsp Fermented Salt Brined Seaweed

1/2 Individual Packet Artificial Sweetener (1/2 gram) *Substitution option: Monk fruit sweetener, honey or brown sugar

Starch Gravy

(Options: White Flour, Sweet Rice Flour or Potato)

1/2 Cup White Flour (All Purpose)

2 Cups Water


4 to 5 Scallions/Green Onions (cut into 1 to 1.5 inches in length): If you are not adding the up-grade vegetables listed below, double the amount of scallions.

6 to 8 Garlic Cloves

Fresh Ginger (less than thumb size)

2.5 to 3 inches section of Korean radish (mu 무) peeled and cut into sticks, slightly thicker than a spaghetti noodle *Substitution option: 6 - 8 Round red radishes (remove the red/pink skin) or Japanese Daikon

1 Small Carrot (cut into the same size as the radish)

1/4 Medium Size Onion

1/4 Slice of Korean Pear (onion and pear similar in amount) *Substitution option: Bosc or sweet pear


4 to 6 Garlic Chives/Chinese Chives (BuChu 부추)

3 to 4 YeolMu (열무 Korean leafy radish leaves) *Substitution option: Use the leafy greens from the round pink/red radishes

Fresh & Crunchy Kimchi (Geot-Jeori 겉절이)

1/2 Cup Kimchi Paste

1/2 Tbsp Vegan "Fish" Sauce

1/2 Tsp Honey or Plum Extract

🌿For My GreenThumb Friends

Here are the seeds to grow your own vegetables for kimchi

(Click on the item to view)

Korean Radish/Mu/무 (you can also use the leafy greens as YeolMu)

🌶Drying & Processing Red Peppers:

Once the green peppers turn bright red on the plant, harvest them. Lay the red peppers under full sunlight, but with some breeze, preferably late mid to late afternoon. (Don't leave them out under scorching sunlight. Under extreme heat sun, it will "cook" and damage the peppers.). Every other hour, turn over the peppers. Once the sun goes away, bring the pepper indoors, and leave them in a cool part of the kitchen, unwrapped. And repeat the sun drying process, until the peppers are fully sun-dried. This will take days to complete, depending on sun exposure. Then split open the dried pepper and remove all the seeds. Using a food processor, pulse blend to coarse grind. Do not over blend as the heat of the blades can "burn/cook" the peppers. Double/triple wrap the coarse ground peppers, place in an airtight container and store in the freezer to preserve its freshness.

🥬Korean Red Pepper Flakes/GoChuGaRu/고춧가루 Shopping & Storage Tips

  • To make kimchi, only coarse-grind GoChuGaru is recommended.

  • If your budget allows, my recommendation is to buy Made In Korea GoChuGaRu. It does cost more than those manufactured in other countries. Personally, I justify spending extra on Made In Korea GoChuGaRu since I am saving so much $$$ when I make my own Kimchi. Store-bought kimchi is delicious, too, but costly when compared to the cost of making homemade kimchi. Also, many families go above and beyond to buy directly from pepper farmers from Korea.

  • Store any unused GoChuGaRu in the freezer to preserve its freshness (double/triple bag it or store in an airtight container).

  • If you can't find Korean red pepper flakes where you live, go to your local spice purveyor, show then to red pepper flakes from this video, and the link below. Hopefully, they can find you a similar match (with NO seeds and must be a coarse grind).

🥬Common Kimchi Making Mistakes😊

I wholeheartedly appreciate fans of kimchi for making homemade kimchi💛🧡💚. I could see how these common mistakes are made, especially for non-Koreans, that did not grow up with eating and being surrounded by Korean cuisine. Just listing these below as an FYI for those wishing to make traditional kimchi. BUT if using any of the ingredients below works for you, I say do what makes you and your homemade kimchi HAPPY😋. There is NO Kimchi-Police😂😭🤣

The following ingredients are NEVER used to make traditional kimchi:

  • GoChuJang/고추장 (Korean red pepper paste)

  • Vinegar/식초

  • Mirin/미린 (cooking wine)

  • SsamJang/쌈장 (condiment for Korean BBQ lettuce wraps)

The following substitutions will NOT work for making traditional kimchi:

  • paprika

  • cayenne pepper

  • Italian pepper flakes with seeds

  • Any Asian red pepper flakes

(These are affiliate links, which means, I get a small commission when you make a purchase using these links, AT NO EXTRA COST TO YOU. Thank you for your support!)

More Korean ingredients & kitchen gadgets at

Korean Red Pepper Flakes (GoChuGaRu 고추가루)

100% Premium Korean Origin Red Pepper Powder Chili Flakes From Famous Award-Winning Region of Yeong Yang Korea

100% Premium Korean Origin Dried Red Pepper Powder

Budget-Friendly Korean Red Pepper Flakes

(Mild or Very Spicy)

Dashima/Seaweed Kelp/다시마 CLICK HERE

Dashima/Seaweed Kelp/다시마 CLICK HERE

Dried Seaweed/MiYeok/미역 CLICK HERE

Dried Seaweed/MiYeok/미역 CLICK HRE

DoenJang/Soybean Paste/된장 CLICK HERE

Korean Soy Sauce/간장 CLICK HERE

Natural Premium Sea Salt for Kimchi Brining: the Jewel of Sinan Island by Chung-Jung-One

Pacific Ocean Gourmet Sea Salt - 5 lbs. Bulk Medium Coarse Grain by San Francisco Salt Co.

SaltWorks Pure Ocean Sea Salt, Extra Coarse Grain, 5 Pound

Immaculate Baking Organic All-Purpose Flour, 5 Pound

Mochiko (Sweet Rice Flour) - 16oz [Pack of 1]

Cheong Maesil Plum Extract - 420ml

Korean Beksul All-Purpose Plum Extract Syrup 매실청

Ha Bongg Jeong Maesil Plum Extract, 23.64 fl. oz.

100% Pure Raw & Unfiltered Honey - Kosher Certified

Truvia Natural Stevia Sweetener Packets

CJ Hetbahn Cooked White Rice, Gluten-Free, Vegan

Crazy Korean Cooking Premium Kimchi, Sauerkraut Fermentation and Storage Container with Inner Vacuum Lid (1.3 Gal (5.2L))

Premium Kimchi, Sauerkraut Container Probiotic Fermentation with Inner Vacuum Lid (Earthenware Green, 1.9 gal/ 7.4L)

Stainless Steel 101oz(3L)Rectangular Seal Kimchi Food Leakproof Airtight Storage Container

Stainless Steel Food Storage Containers 304 New Clips - Leak-Proof, Airtight, Smell-Proof - Perfect For Camping Trips, Lunches, Leftovers, Soups, Salads & More (Set of 3)

Mamison Quality Kitchen Rubber Gloves (2 Pack) (M)

Digital Food Scale CLICK HERE

Digital Food Scale CLICK HERE

VitaMix 5200 Blender Professional Grade (64 oz Container)

VitaMix Certified Refurbished (2 Speed Blender)

All-Clad 4204 with loop Stainless Steel Tri-Ply Bonded Dishwasher Safe Sauce Pan with Loop Helper Handle and Lid Cookware, 4-Quart

OXO Good Grips 11-Inch Better Silicone Balloon Whisk

Handmade Jujube Tree Wooden Korean dinnerware combinations Utensil, Spoons and Chopsticks

Wusthof Classic 8-Inch Chef's Knife

Wüsthof Twelve Piece Block Set

Wusthof Classic 7-piece Slim Knife Block Set

John Boos Maple Wood End Grain Reversible Butcher Block Cutting Board, 20"x 15" x 2.25 Inches


Vegan "Fish" Sauce

In a small pot, add all the ingredients listed above (except the soy sauce and soybean paste). Keep the stove heat to high until the liquid starts boiling. Then lower the stove heat to LOW, place the lid on the pot. Let this simmer on LOW heat for 30 minutes.

Place a fine-mesh strainer on a large bowl, and pour all the contents of the pot. Gently press down on the ingredients to strain the excess liquid. Pout the strained liquid back in the pot. Add the soy sauce and soybean paste to the liquid. On HIGH stove heat, let the liquid reduce to 1/2 cup. This reduction will happen quickly (depending on your stove heat power, 5 to 8 minutes or so). So keep an eye on the pot. Do not guesstimate the 1/2 cup liquid in the pot. Use a measuring cup and do a pour test of the liquid in the pot. Continue reducing the liquid until it is at 1/2 cup. This 1/2 cup reduction is important in ensuring that our vegan "fish" sauce is as potent in taste as the regular fish sauce. Transfer the "fish" sauce in an airtight glass container and bring to room temperature. Then store it in the refrigerator and let it ferment for at least one week. Four weeks of fermentation will yield a deeper taste.

Fermented Salt Brined Seaweed

From the fine-mesh strainer above, remove the seaweed kelp/dashima and stems of the seaweed/miyeok and discard (or you can save these and add it to your kimchi stew or doenjang stew). Using your kitchen scissors, chop up all the ingredients into small pieces. Add the coarse salt (3 tbsp) and mix well. Transfer to an airtight glass container and bring to room temperature. Then store it in the refrigerator and let it ferment for at least one week. Four weeks of fermentation will yield a deeper taste.

FYI - Both the vegan "fish" sauce and salt brined seaweed will taste very salty so that they are comparable to the traditional fish sauce and salt brined shrimp.

For cutting and salt brining the fresh napa cabbage leaves, please watch my Kimchi 101 video and/or check out Kimchi 101 written recipe:

Salt-Brining your cabbage leaves is the most critical part of making yummy kimchi.

To make the Instant Fresh Kimchi/GeotJori/겉절이: Before brining, save the inner core of the napa cabbage leaves that are yellow-in-color/about 4" and shorter.


Mix 1/2 cup of flour to 1 cup of water. Whisk well. In a small pot, bring 1 cup of water to boil, then lower to heat to medium-low. Add the flour-water mixture and whisk for 1 to 2 minutes or until it thickens. Transfer the gravy to a mixing bowl and let it cool down to room temperature. For a thicker Kimchi juice consistency, you can use Sweet Rice Flour. You can also use Whole Wheat Flour, but your Kimchi paste will come out a bit deeper in a brownish color, instead of bright red when using White Flour. And using White Flour with yield you a liquidy Kimchi juice. Alternatively, you can use potato gravy (cook a whole potato with water until it is completely dissolved into a gravy consistency liquid). OR you can also use potato flour. It is also very important to cool down the hot starch gravy before using it to make your Kimchi paste. Using hot starch gravy will "cook" the red pepper flakes and turn the color brownish-red.


In a blender, add the garlic, onion, pear, ginger, 1 Tbsp Fermented Salt Seaweed, and 1 ladle of the starch-gravy (cooled to room temperature) and pulse to roughly blend.

Pour the blender liquid along with the rest of the starch-gravy to a large mixing bowl. Then all vegetables and Kimchi Paste ingredients (+ 1 Tbsp Fermented Salt Seaweed) and mix well. Be gentle and mix in a circular motion, as shown in the video. Have a test taste by wrapping a small leaf with a little of the kimchi paste. At this point, everything should taste flaming hot from the rawness of the garlic, onions, ginger, and red pepper flakes. All this flaming rawness will subside as the Kimchi ferments. Right now, you should taste for its saltiness. Is it too bland or too salty? If you prefer a saltier taste, add more of the Vegan "Fish" Sauce and Fermented Salt Seaweed. Mix well and taste again. It should not taste sweet. Kimchi is not meant to taste sweet, especially at this point. The sweetness will come naturally as the Kimchi ferments and releases all the natural juices from its cabbage and other vegetables.

For Sliced Kimchi, add the drained cabbage leaves and mix well, gently moving in a circular motion. Important to let the rinsed cabbage leaves drain naturally in a colander (do not squeeze or press to drain the water) for at least 30 minutes (reshuffle the leaves halfway).

For Whole/Quartered Kimchi, let the rinsed quartered cabbage drain (with the root end facing up) naturally in a colander for at least 30 minutes, as shown in Kimchi 101 video listed above. Starting with the last leaf in the back, add a small amount (as shown in the video) of the Kimchi paste to the thickest part of the leaf/right by the root. Repeat the process until each layer of the leaves is dressed in this Kimchi paste. Pick up the cabbage and gently coat the exterior with more Kimchi paste. Then fold over the leafy part of the cabbage toward the inner core. Take the last leaf from the back and gently wrap the leafy foldover, as shown in the video.

🥬Fresh Kimchi (Geot-jeori 겉절이)

(Save 1/2 cup of the Kimchi paste to make Fresh Kimchi. Before brining, save the inner core of the napa cabbage leaves that are yellow-in-color/about 4" and shorter.) This crunchy fresh Kimchi is for immediate consumption. In my family, having geot-jeori was the reward you would get at the end of making Kimchi. It is slightly saltier and sweet in taste compared to your regular Kimchi. Mix the ingredients listed above under the Fresh Kimchi (Geot-jeori 겉절이) ingredient section. Mix well and enjoy it. If there are any wide leaves, cut them down the middle of the core of the leaves. This is best enjoyed if consumed right away or within 2 to 3 days max. )


(Make sure to leave 1" space to the rim, if using a tight container. This extra space is for the kimchi and kimchi liquids to expand, and not spill over the container.)

4.5 Liter Kimchi Container was used in today's video:

Sliced Kimchi: In an airtight glass or plastic ware /Kimchi container (some of these Kimchi containers listed above come with vacuum seal option), add the mixed Kimchi, and gently pack it down. Then add a layer of saran wrap on top and again GENTLY press it down. This gentle press down is to eliminate any air pockets in the container. The purpose of the plastic wrap is to ensure that the moisture is contained.

Whole Kimchi: Same process as above. Make to use a wide container so that you can lay down the cabbage with the inner core facing up. Best if you can stack in two layers. Add extra Kimchi paste in between the cabbages.


(Especially, during the summer months or if your kitchen is generally "hot" in temperature, cut the kitchen-counter-resting period to half.)

For both Sliced and Whole Kimchi, let Kimchi containers rest on your kitchen counter for 10 to 12 hours, away from the heat and sun. Then place the containers in the refrigerator. If you are in a rush and really want to speed up the fermentation process, leave the Kimchi container out on the kitchen counter for 24 hours and then into the refrigerator after.

Letting your Kimchi sit in the kitchen for days really isn't recommended. The fermentation will peak too quickly, and then you risk the Kimchi tasting bitter and saltier. If you are pressed for time, let the kimchi sit on your kitchen counter for 48 hours maximum, then store it in the refrigerator. In about a week or so, your kimchi should be at its peak ripeness.

If you see the liquid separation during the kitchen-counter-resting period, gently press down on the kimchi to reincorporate the kimchi liquid. This liquid separation is normal, so not to worry. As the kimchi ferments, all the liquids will ferment together, resulting in delicious and highly addictive kimchi juice that you can gulp spoonfuls of, and cook with...:-)

"The Waiting-Period"

How tangy or fresh-tasting you prefer your kimchi is very personal. Personally, I wait for at least 3 to 4 days (after stored in the refrigerator) before I start consuming the Kimchi. Every week, the taste of your Kimchi will change. Usually, I love how Kimchi tastes on day 4 for that "fresh-tasting" taste. My favorite taste period is anywhere between weeks 2 and 3, where the Kimchi tastes sweet, and juicy with just the right about of saltiness. I usually eat my Kimchi, as is, until week 5 or 6. And after that, I recycle the Kimchi to make loads of delicious Kimchi dishes. This is mainly the reason why Korean make extra Kimchi, to budget for extra-fermented Kimchi so it can be turned into so many Kimchi dishes. The classics are Kimchi Fried Rice, Kimchi Mandu/Dumplings and of course Kimchi Stew...YUM! Getting so hungry thinking about these dishes.

To give your fermenting kimchi extra TLC, every two weeks, restack/rotate your Kimchi, so the bottom portion is moved up to the top and vice versa. (DO NOT PRESS DOWN ON THE KIMCHI...🙅🏻‍♀️🙅🏻‍♀️🙅🏻‍♀️) Always keep your Kimchi covered with a sheet of saran wrap inside the kimchi container. It is like a blanket to keep the moisture as closely contained as possible.

Slowly fermenting your Kimchi and keeping it at a cool and controlled temperature is ideal. You may already know but there is such thing as Kimchi Refrigerators. Yup, just like wine refrigerators, Koreans have Kimchi refrigerators. These are the modern refrigeration replacement of how Kimchi used to stored in clay pot/onngi buried in the ground. My grandmother used to store Kimchi in huge onngi pots buried on the shaded part of the yard and it is a lot of work to clean it. I remember my uncles cleaning the onngi pot for her and it would turn out to be a half day's worth of work.

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How To Make EASY Kimchi

Video & Written AUTHENTIC Kimchi Recipe; EASY-To-Follow Kimchi Recipe with CLEAR INSTRUCTIONS. Includes Kimchi Fermentation & Storage TIPS; Debunking misinformed Kimchi making myths. Napa Cabbage Kimchi, Korean Traditional Kimchi, 배추김치 레시피, 막김치, 포기김치, 김장김치, 통배추김치, 김치 만들기, 김치 담그는법, 영어로 キムチのレシピ, Korean Kimchi, Korean Food

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