Firefly Kitchen’s Signature Kimchi Recipe

A vegetarian alternative to traditional Korean kimchi, this award-winning recipe from Firefly Kitchen ads healthful flavor to any meal.

By Staff
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Firefly Kitchen’s take on the traditional Korean kimchi won four consecutive gold seal wins at the Good Food Awards. Photo by: Charity Burggraaf
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Raw-fermented vegetables like krauts and kimchis are celebrated by cultures around the world and have been integral to cuisines for thousands of years. This age-old food-preserving technique is reclaiming its rightful place in kitchens today, with new and innovative recipes adding signature zip to foods from home kitchens to fine restaurants. "Fresh & Fermented," by Julie O’Brian and Richard J. Climenhage, explores the health benefits of fermented foods, the science behind them and 85 versatile and flavorful recipes. Cover courtesy Sasquatch Books

By Julie O-Brian and Richard J. Climenhage
From “Fresh & Fermented”

Yield: 1 quart kimchi

Fermentation is an old-world tradition that has reemerged in culinary culture. Fresh ferments are packed with probiotics, which help maintain essential balance in the digestive tract, contain heaps of vitamin C and other healthy enzymes that boost the immune system, and they’re delicious! In Fresh and Fermented (Sasquatch Books, 2014), authors and founders of Firefly Kitchens Julie O’Brian and Richard J. Climenhage provide in-depth instructions on how to make traditionally fermented carrots, krauts, and kimchi, at home. This recipe for Latkes with Crème Fraiche Kraut Sauce is from Chapter 5: Morning Meals.
You can purchase this book from the GRIT store: Fresh & Fermented

In 2014, we received our fourth consecutive win at the Good Food Awards with a Gold Seal for Firefly Kimchi, which has always been our best-selling product. Traditional Korean kimchi is made with napa cabbage, daikon, carrots, and Korean peppers, along with a mixture of fish sauce or shrimp paste. Rather than competing with this beloved kimchi, we aimed to offer a pungent, healthy alternative with a similar flavor, omitting the fish sauce and shrimp paste so vegetarians could enjoy it as well. Our early recipe testers picked the green cabbage versions hands down over the napa cabbage batches.
Firefly Kimchi adds a warm ginger and garlic sparkle to whole grains, sautéed greens, or your favorite meats. Mix it into a stir-fry or eat it with eggs instead of ketchup or salsa. Whirl it with cream cheese, hummus, or sour cream to make a flavorful sauce or dip. The ways to enjoy this fantastically flavored food are endless.


• 1 head green cabbage (about 2 pounds)
• 1 tablespoon sea salt
• 3 tablespoons thinly sliced green onions, including the green tops
• 1 tablespoon coarsely ground Korean red pepper
• 2 teaspoons minced garlic
• 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger


1. Peel off any older, discolored outer leaves from the cabbage, reserving the leaves, and rinse the head. Quarter and core the cabbage, reserving the core. Slice the cabbage into 1/8- to 1⁄4-inch-wide strips. You should have about 12 cups of shredded cabbage.

2. Put the cabbage in a large bowl and sprinkle it with the salt. Use your hands to thoroughly work the salt into the cabbage. When the cabbage has shrunk to about half its original volume and has generated a briny, watery base, taste it and add more salt or water if necessary. Mix in the green onions, Korean red pepper, garlic, and ginger, making sure they’re evenly distributed throughout.

3. Pack the cabbage tightly into a quart jar until it’s about 2 inches below the rim, weighing it down with the reserved leaves and core. Make sure the brine completely covers the compressed cabbage by about 1 inch, and that it’s about 1 inch below the rim of the jar. Let the jar sit at room temperature, roughly 64 to 70 degrees F, topping the cabbage with more brine if needed. The kimchi should be ready to eat after 1 week (or let it ferment longer for a richer taste). Store it in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.

More From Fresh & Fermented:

Latkes with Crème Fraîche Kraut Sauce Recipe
Caraway Kraut Recipe: The Perfect Probiotic Side-Dish
Firefly Kitchen’s Kimcheese Dip Recipe

(c) 2014 by Julie O’Brien and Richard J. Climenhage. All rights reserved. Excerpted from Fresh & Fermented by permission of Sasquatch Books. Buy this book from our store: Fresh & Fermented.