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 TheKitchn.com, written by Emily Han.

From TheKitchn.com, 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.

Kimchi

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.

By Published On: September 15th, 201883 Comments

About the Author: Chef Mimi

As a self-taught home cook, with many years in the culinary profession, I am passionate about all things food-related. Especially eating!

83 Comments

  1. Michelle September 15, 2018 at 7:30 AM - Reply

    Love kimchi. And the pancakes. I usually just use the mix you can buy at Asian groceries. One of the rare pre-packaged things we use in this house!

    • chef mimi September 15, 2018 at 7:38 AM - Reply

      I never knew of that product. But hey, if it’s good, why not?!!

  2. Healthy World Cuisine September 15, 2018 at 7:33 AM - Reply

    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.

    • chef mimi September 15, 2018 at 7:39 AM - Reply

      Thanks Bobbi! I would definitely take a while to go through a massively huge quantity of chile pepper flakes!

  3. Jodi September 15, 2018 at 7:40 AM - Reply

    They look delish! Fermented food is supposed to be good for our “gut health!” :)

    • chef mimi September 15, 2018 at 7:42 AM - Reply

      That’s what I hear. So, it’s a win-win I guess!

  4. sallybr September 15, 2018 at 7:56 AM - Reply

    pretty adventurous recipe! I like kimchi but don’t go crazy for it, but would very gladly enjoy a few of these gorgeous pancakes….

    • chef mimi September 15, 2018 at 11:53 AM - Reply

      That’s exactly why I wanted to make it myself. I now have a great respect for it, but not sure I’ll be making it again soon.

  5. Ron September 15, 2018 at 8:02 AM - Reply

    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.

    • chef mimi September 15, 2018 at 11:52 AM - Reply

      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.

  6. Jeff the Chef September 15, 2018 at 8:41 AM - Reply

    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.

    • chef mimi September 15, 2018 at 11:51 AM - Reply

      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!

  7. Linda Duffin September 15, 2018 at 9:08 AM - Reply

    Oh, I just made something like this for a client, haven’t seen it used anywhere yet! We fell for kimchi pancakes big time.

    • chef mimi September 15, 2018 at 11:50 AM - Reply

      And I’d never seen them or heard of them before I came across that Bon Appetit recipe! It makes me happy to know there are thousands of recipes still waiting for us to discover!

      • Linda Duffin September 15, 2018 at 12:10 PM

        I had some in Seoul some years ago but home-made are better!

  8. Solveig September 15, 2018 at 9:26 AM - Reply

    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!

    • chef mimi September 15, 2018 at 11:49 AM - Reply

      Very funny! Thank you for your comment.

  9. Tasty Eats Ronit Penso September 15, 2018 at 11:25 AM - Reply

    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! :)

    • chef mimi September 15, 2018 at 11:49 AM - Reply

      Hahahahaha! I had to cook a lot of bacon for my husband to mask the smell! Fortunately, it was a small batch. or small enough to go pretty quickly.

    • Tasty Eats Ronit Penso September 15, 2018 at 1:25 PM - Reply

      Throw away, of course! :)

  10. Kiki September 15, 2018 at 11:46 AM - Reply

    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!

    • chef mimi September 15, 2018 at 11:47 AM - Reply

      They were so so good – especially dunking them in the sauce!

  11. Gaz September 15, 2018 at 3:55 PM - Reply

    I really like the idea of those pancakes.

    • chef mimi September 15, 2018 at 9:04 PM - Reply

      They’re so so so good! Especially dipped…

  12. Chef Bill, Suppertime Blues September 15, 2018 at 4:39 PM - Reply

    I struggle to like kimchi. I keep trying though. My kids don’t understand how I can be in love with fermented foods, beverages, and sauerkraut and not like kimchi. For you, I would try again though, you make it look and sound good.

    • chef mimi September 15, 2018 at 9:04 PM - Reply

      That’s exactly how I felt, which is why I HAD to make it for myself!!!!

  13. Vicki Bensinger September 15, 2018 at 9:54 PM - Reply

    These look delicious and I love your step by step photos. I’m afraid if I made these I’d devour the entire batch.

    • chef mimi September 16, 2018 at 4:21 AM - Reply

      I understand! Fortunately the recipe only made 8 pancakes!

  14. kathryninthekitchen September 16, 2018 at 12:51 AM - Reply

    Mimi…what a lovely post… they look so delicious! 😊 👩‍🍳

    • chef mimi September 16, 2018 at 4:20 AM - Reply

      It was hard not to eat them all in one sitting!

  15. Adrianne - Sweet Caramel Sunday September 16, 2018 at 4:50 AM - Reply

    Well done Mimi! I love all of the photos along the way as they give a really good indication of the process. I had kimchi a few times when I lived in Japan, but very rarely back here in Australia. Good work and the pancakes look fab!!

    • chef mimi September 16, 2018 at 5:00 AM - Reply

      You lived in Japan – how exciting! Yes, the pancakes were incredible. Fortunately the recipe only made eight!!

  16. Gerlinde de Broekert (Sunnycovechef) September 16, 2018 at 7:43 AM - Reply

    I made Kimchi once and had to eat it by myself also. I know I would love those pancakes.

    • chef mimi September 16, 2018 at 8:11 AM - Reply

      I understand! The pancakes are really wonderful!

  17. FoodBlogger September 16, 2018 at 1:05 PM - Reply

    Omgggggggggggggggg sooooooooo nice but don’t think I will be able to make it 😂

    • chef mimi September 16, 2018 at 1:51 PM - Reply

      Why not?!!

      • FoodBlogger September 16, 2018 at 4:25 PM

        Too delicious

  18. Susan@savoringtimeinthekitchen September 16, 2018 at 4:35 PM - Reply

    I’ve been too afraid to try kimchi but made into these pancakes I’d be willing to try! They look delicious!

    • chef mimi September 17, 2018 at 10:21 AM - Reply

      It will never replace, say, ketchup as a condiment in my house, but it’s a fascinating food. The pancakes are incredible.

  19. Lisa @ cheergerm September 17, 2018 at 5:33 AM - Reply

    I have had something similar in Korean and Japanese restaurants, delicious! Have added these pancakes to my list of ‘to cook.’

    • chef mimi September 17, 2018 at 10:22 AM - Reply

      When we go for Chinese, like when we’re in NYC, we’re usually after dim sum. I guess we should be more adventurous!

  20. Liz @ spades, spatulas, and spoons September 17, 2018 at 5:49 AM - Reply

    I’v Had one of those jars in my pantry for a year. This looks amazing and easy, I will let you know how it turns out.

    • chef mimi September 17, 2018 at 10:20 AM - Reply

      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.

  21. David @ Spiced September 17, 2018 at 7:29 AM - Reply

    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!

    • chef mimi September 17, 2018 at 10:19 AM - Reply

      That’s exactly why I wanted to make it myself. The pancakes are crazy good.

  22. thatskinnychickcanbake September 17, 2018 at 7:32 AM - Reply

    I’ve just had a taste of kimchi out of curiosity, but need more than that to see if I really like it. BUT, I have a feeling I’d love your pancakes!

    • chef mimi September 17, 2018 at 10:18 AM - Reply

      That’s the consensus, and I’d have to agree! The pancakes win the prize!

  23. Our Growing Paynes September 17, 2018 at 2:40 PM - Reply

    What a fabulous tutorial on kimchi. The idea of the pancakes is great as well.

    • chef mimi September 17, 2018 at 10:27 PM - Reply

      Thank you so much! It was fun.

  24. Loretta September 17, 2018 at 2:50 PM - Reply

    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!

    • chef mimi September 17, 2018 at 10:27 PM - Reply

      Thanks. Yeah, exactly why I wanted to make it myself. Still not my favorite condiment, but boy are those pancakes fabuloso!

  25. hummingbirdthyme September 17, 2018 at 2:51 PM - Reply

    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.

    • chef mimi September 17, 2018 at 10:26 PM - Reply

      That’s a great idea. They’re really wonderful!

  26. Debra September 17, 2018 at 10:09 PM - Reply

    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. :-)

    • chef mimi September 17, 2018 at 10:25 PM - Reply

      That’s what I thought exactly!

  27. marcellinaincucina.com September 18, 2018 at 2:15 AM - Reply

    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!

    • chef mimi September 18, 2018 at 11:07 AM - Reply

      Yes you can! And they’re so easy and delicious!

  28. heather (delicious not gorgeous) September 18, 2018 at 11:34 PM - Reply

    yeah kimchi can be a bit of a acquired taste (; i used to be able to eat a whole costco sized jar alone in a week haha.

    • chef mimi September 19, 2018 at 9:11 AM - Reply

      That sounds like a lot! Have you ever made pancakes with it?

  29. Debbie Spivey September 19, 2018 at 7:50 AM - Reply

    Mimi!!! My mind is kinda blown now… My husband has decided that he LOVES kimchi and even has me trying it and liking it. He will adore the recipe. I’ve gotta try it!

    • chef mimi September 19, 2018 at 9:10 AM - Reply

      Oh fabulous. It’s really straight forward. But the pancakes…

  30. kitchenriffs September 19, 2018 at 9:43 AM - Reply

    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!

    • chef mimi September 19, 2018 at 11:01 AM - Reply

      Thanks, John. It really was easy.

  31. Culinary Flavors September 21, 2018 at 6:37 AM - Reply

    I have never tried kimchi or kimchi pancakes! I am always open to new flavors and these pancakes look awesome!

    • chef mimi September 21, 2018 at 2:06 PM - Reply

      I probably won’t make kimchi again, but the pancakes are incredible. And I’m discovering that kimchi can be purchased.

  32. FrugalHausfrau September 21, 2018 at 8:55 AM - Reply

    I didn’t love the kimchi I made, but I’m loving the look of those pancakes. I think I might have to give it another go! They really look good, Mimi!!

    • chef mimi September 21, 2018 at 9:46 AM - Reply

      The pancakes were fabulous – especially with the dipping sauce. Hope you get to try them!

  33. emmabarrett1508 September 21, 2018 at 11:50 AM - Reply

    These look amazing Mimi. Thanks for sharing. xx

    • chef mimi September 21, 2018 at 1:56 PM - Reply

      Thank you Emma!

  34. Abbe@This is How I Cook September 23, 2018 at 10:00 PM - Reply

    I have never been a fan of kimchi. My son though works in Korea and he loves it but tells me that there are so many varieties and they ll taste different. I have no doubt though that I would love it in pancakes…especially these!

    • chef mimi September 24, 2018 at 9:32 AM - Reply

      It’s funny cause you can taste the kimchi in the pancakes, but it’s somehow subdued…

  35. the Painted Apron September 24, 2018 at 4:58 PM - Reply

    Wow what a creative recipe! I’ve never had kimchi, I am sort of a food wimp :) but you make me want to try it!

    • chef mimi September 24, 2018 at 5:12 PM - Reply

      Hahahahaha! It’s unique, that’s for sure, but the pancakes were outrageously good!

  36. Lauren @ Lemon & Mocha September 27, 2018 at 10:29 AM - Reply

    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!

    • chef mimi September 27, 2018 at 4:15 PM - Reply

      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.

  37. sherry September 30, 2018 at 4:06 AM - Reply

    i’ve had kimchi a couple of times. don’t think i’m a huge fan tho i adore sauerkraut! cheers sherry

    • chef mimi September 30, 2018 at 9:29 AM - Reply

      I understand! Maybe we should try sauerkraut pancakes, cause with kimchi they were fantastic!

  38. olivesandfeta September 30, 2018 at 6:42 PM - Reply

    Love your pancakes and that kimchi I. Not brave enough to make but happy to observe from here 🙂

    • chef mimi October 1, 2018 at 7:23 AM - Reply

      I understand! That’s how I feel about all of the beautiful cakes I see on blogs!

  39. cookingwithauntjuju.com August 8, 2021 at 8:54 AM - Reply

    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

    • chef mimi August 8, 2021 at 10:51 AM - Reply

      The pancakes were incredible. I almost ate all of them!

      • cookingwithauntjuju.com August 8, 2021 at 12:05 PM

        I will have to compare your recipe to mine – I’m sure yours is much better because you made homemade kimchi!

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