Kimchi and Kimchi Pancakes


I’ve had kimchi twice in my life, and neither time did it strike a chord, so to speak. I mean, it’s stinky. However, the smell is also addicting. It’s multi-layered, with fish and fiery spice, garlic and ginger.

Kimchi, a spicy pickled cabbage that is considered a staple of Korean cuisine, is basically used like a condiment. I’ve learned that Korean families always have a vat of it going in their homes.

I’ve also learned that there are a multitude of recipes for kimchi, but I’m going with a quick kimchi recipe on, written by Emily Han.

From, Kimchi is made by lacto-fermentation, the same process that creates sauerkraut. In the first stage, the cabbage is soaked in a salty brine that kills off harmful bacteria. In the second stage, the remaining Lactobacillus bacteria (the good guys!) convert sugars into lactic acid, which preserves the vegetables and gives them that wonderful, tangy flavor.

So I wanted to see if my I liked kimchi more, but mostly I wanted to use the fermentation crock that my daughters had gifted me again; I recently used it for Escabeche.

If you want to understand the difference between pickling and fermenting, this is a great read.


2 pound head Napa cabbage
1/4 cup salt
1 tablespoon grated garlic
1 teaspoon grated ginger
1 teaspoon sugar
3-4 tablespoons seafood flavor (I used 3 tablespoons fish sauce, 1/2 tablespoon shrimp paste)
1-5 tablespoons gochugaru, Korean red pepper flakes
8 ounces Daikon, peeled, cut into matchsticks
4 green onions, trimmed, cut into 1” pieces

Slice the cabbage lengthwise into quarters and remove the cores. Cut each quarter crosswise into 2” wide strips.

Place the cabbage and salt in a large bowl. Using your hands, massage the salt into the cabbage until it starts to soften a bit, then add water to cover the cabbage.

Put a plate on top and weigh it down with something heavy, like a jar. Let stand for 1 – 2 hours.

Rinse the cabbage under cold water 3 times and drain in a colander for 15 – 20 minutes. Rinse and dry the bowl you used for salting, and set aside.

Meanwhile, combine the garlic, ginger, sugar, and seafood flavor in a small bowl and mix to form a smooth paste. Mix in the gochugaru; this author recommended about 3 1/2 tablespoons.

Gently squeeze any remaining water from the cabbage and return it to the bowl along with the radish, scallions, and seasoning paste.

Mix thoroughly, working the paste into the vegetables until they are thoroughly coated. Disposable gloves are highly recommended for this step.

Pack the kimchi into a jar, (I used the fermentation crock), pressing down on it until the brine rises to cover the vegetables. Leave at least 1 inch of headspace if you’re using a jar. Seal the jar/crock with a lid.

Let the jar stand at room temperature for 1 – 5 days. You may see bubbles inside. If using a jar, brine may seep out of the lid; place a bowl or plate under the jar to help catch overflow.

Check the kimchi once a day, pressing down on the vegetables with a clean finger or spoon to eep them submerged under the brine. This also releases gases produced during fermentation.

Taste a little at this point. When the kimchi tastes ripe enough for your liking, transfer the jar to the refrigerator. It’s best after another week or two in the refrigerator, but can be eaten right away.

I couldn’t wait to make the following recipe using my kimchi.

Kimchi Pancakes
From Bon Appetit

1 large egg
1 tablespoon kimchi brine from jar
1/4 cup soy sauce, divided
3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon white flour
1 1/2 cups kimchi
4 scallions
4 tablespoons neutral oil, divided
3 tablespoons rice vinegar

Crack 1 egg into a medium bowl. Add 1 Tbsp. kimchi brine, 1 Tbsp. soy sauce, and ¼ cup water and whisk to combine.

Whisk in all of the flour.

Coarsely chop 1½ cups kimchi, add to bowl, and stir to combine. Thinly slice 4 scallions on a diagonal. Add half to batter; reserve remaining scallions for serving.

Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high. Drop ¼-cupfulls of batter onto opposite sides of skillet (pancakes should be about 4″ in diameter, so you’ll probably only be able to cook 2 at a time).

Cook pancakes until golden brown on first side, 2–3 minutes, then flip and cook until browned on second side, 2–3 minutes longer. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool. Repeat process in batches with remaining batter and oil; you should have 8 pancakes.

Combine 3 Tbsp. vinegar and remaining 3 Tbsp. soy sauce in a small bowl.

Transfer pancakes to a platter. Top with reserved scallions and serve with dipping sauce alongside.

I honestly couldn’t stop eating these pancakes. Look at the beautiful kimchi in the batter.

They were fabulous as is as well as dunked in the sauce.

Next time I will double the pancake ingredients so there are more in which to indulge.

They’re best crispy right out of the skillet, bet you can also re-crisp them in a hot pan before serving the leftover pancakes.

83 thoughts on “Kimchi and Kimchi Pancakes

  1. You were very ambitious making your own kimchi from scratch. Looks super delicious. We actually love it but just a little tiny bit at a time with certain dishes. Those fermented foods are quite good for you so finding a delicious way to incorporate them in a pancake was brilliant. We have a Korean market just down the street from us so that is very convenient and when they sell you dried chili it only comes in one size- MASSIVE HUGE… LOL . Wishing you a super weekend.

  2. After your escabeche post, I went searching here for a Mortier Pilon Fermentation Jar so I could use to make my kimchi. Found one, but it’s back ordered until November. But, when I get it, I’m going to try your kimchi recipe. I’ve never used shrimp paste/fish sauce in my version. Sounds like it will work well. Kimchi pancakes! Caution, they’re addictive. I like dunk mine in Sriracha mayo mixed with chives. Nice post Mimi.

    • Oh yeah. That sounds really good, too. I was the only one who ate the pancakes, and fortunately the recipe only made 8, if my memory serves me.Definitely addictive.

  3. Arg! Kimchi is my nemesis! There’s a burger joint near me that serves kimchi fries, and if you go in on a typical early afternoon, you’ll see that it’s incredibly popular with Chicago police on their lunch hour – and they LOVE the kimchi fries. I cannot bear the smell! That’s saying a lot for me – I mean, I love food, and I love all sorts of pungent aromas associated with exotic cooking, but there’s something about kimchi that strikes fear in my heart.

    • I completely understand – although the fries sound fun. In fact, way better than poutine, which is something I refuse to try. I must be too American to just want ketchup with my fries!

  4. Sounds so Yummy! Délicieux all the way! :) But! from now, I must avoid reading your mouth-watering recipe ideas, in the afternoon (3 or 4pm), because makes me hungry!! again, “pas bien!” ;-) … see you:) Merci Mimi!

  5. I love kimchi pancakes, but reserve my love to when visiting Korean restaurants. Something about the smell is too much for me to have at home. I even had to through away a jar of bought kimchi for that reason. You are a brave woman! :)

  6. I had shop bought kimchi once, and miraculously it did not contain fish sauce. So I searched the web and found a recipe, only to lose the link. Your post encourages me to search for it again.
    Your pancakes look really delicious!

    • I guess I didn’t realize that kimchi is sold in jars! Which is silly, but I know that everybody makes their own home made batches.

  7. I must admit that I’m not the biggest fan of kimchi, either, Mimi. But then again, I’ve never tried making it myself. And I’ve never tried using it to make pancakes. I’m willing to give it another shot as I know so many people love it…and they can’t all be wrong! :-) I’m intrigued!

  8. How very brave of you Mimi, wow! I’ve read that fermented foods are really good for one’s health and for inflammation too. I did buy a bottle once, but didn’t quite get through the entire thing. Perhaps home made would be a heck of a lot better……and those pancakes? I’d love some right about now with a glass of vino :) Well done!

  9. I have to say, I “appreciate” kimchi. I don’t love it on its own, but as a condiment with Korean food, it’s delicious. I imagine though, that kimchi pancakes take that stuff to a whole new level! Thanks for the recipe, I may try it with the jar of kimchi in my fridge, that I can’t seem to use.

  10. This is a fascinating recipe! Kimchi is very popular where I live, but I’ve never been too fond of it. Yet, this particular recipe is at least intriguing to me. I will definitely give it a try if for not other reason than I think it’s really unique. :-)

  11. Thanks Mimi! I had bought a jar of kimchi and didn’t know what to do with it…actually I was a bit frightened, lol! I can do pancakes, though!

  12. I almost never make my own kimchi — but this recipe looks easy, and quick (well, quick for kimchi!). These pancakes are inspired — neat idea. Thanks!

  13. I’ve never had kimchi, but these pancakes look so good! One of my roommates in college used to keep a HUGE jar of kimchi in the fridge and I think it was the ‘stinky’ quality that you mentioned that kept me from trying it haha!

    • I know. It is stinky! It’s interesting, to say the least. Not horrible. But in the pancakes, well, I ate all eight of them! Just not in one sitting. Two.

  14. Funny – I did not comment on your recipe so I must have missed it? Only 2 years ago too. I have seen it now and gives me encouragement to make a small batch. I will wait until after my class Aug. 19th. Way back I did ferment my own sauerkraut which the men in my family loved. Thanks for the extra info – looks delicious

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