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Nabak Kimchi (Quick Water Kimchi) Recipe!

April 8, 2012

nabak kimchi

Ah, spring! Now that it’s spring – it’s been ridiculously warm in Indianapolis during the last several weeks – Nabak Kimchi is in order for Korean food lovers. If you ever have the chance to visit Korea, you’ll find that all restaurants – both fancy or not-so-fancy – will serve Nabak Kimchi, especially during the spring and early summer.

Again, I was watching my new favorite drama – Kimchi Family, and I just had to get up and make some kimchi! This kimchi is probably the quickest kimchi that you can make, and it only takes 2-3 days for it to be ready to eat!

Nabak Kimchi (Quick Water Kimchi) Recipe
(Serves 3-4 people for around 1-2 weeks)

2 cups of chopped bokchoy or napa cabbage (cut into square pieces)
1/2 cup of green onions, chopped into 2 inch pieces
1/2 Korean pear, chopped (cut into square pieces)
1/2 apple, chopped (square pieces)
1/4 carrot, chopped (square pieces, optional)
3 cloves of garlic, sliced
1/8 cup of course sea salt
1/8 cup of sugar
4 cups of water
2 Tablespoons of Korean pepper powder in a cheese cloth or tea strainer

1. Cut all the vegetable ingredients and mix with 1/8 cup of course sea salt and let it set for 40 minutes.
2. Put the ingredients and the water that seeps from the vegetables into the jar or container that you will be storing the kimchi in.
3. Dissolve the sugar into 4 cups of water and put it into the jar.
4. Put pepper powder in a cheese cloth or tea strainer and let the color seep out into the water. Do not let the grainy pepper powder get into the water!
5. It’s ready, super easy! Put it in the fridge.
6. You can start eating in 2-3 days. In 5-6 days, and it’ll really start tasting like the fully ready nabak kimchi. Please be sure to eat it up within a week or two, as it won’t taste as yummy after that time period!

nabak kimchi ingredients

Slice all the ingredients into square-like shapes like this!

nabak kimchi ingredients salted

Salt the ingredients for around 40 minutes.

nabak kimchi

Put the ingredients and seeped out water into a container and add the sugar-dissolved water. Put pepper powder in a cheese cloth or tea strainer and let the color seep out into the water.

nabak kimchi

You can also try a mesh strainer. Just be sure to not let the grainy pepper powder get into the water!

nabak kimchi

How easy was that? Super fast. And it’s all ready to be put into the fridge!

nabak kimchi

After 2-3 days, you can start eating it. After 5 days or so, it’ll really start tasting like fermented nabak kimchi. Enjoy. πŸ™‚

19 Comments leave one →
  1. Julie Checknita - Skinny Eats Tasty Treats permalink
    April 8, 2012 9:05 pm

    Yum! Thanks for the share. πŸ™‚

    • Sunnie permalink*
      April 8, 2012 10:13 pm

      Thanks for visiting Julie! πŸ˜‰

  2. linda sheehan permalink
    April 8, 2012 10:59 pm

    Can ordinary red pepper flakes be used,or do they have to be Korean style?Any particular brand you’d recommend?
    Thanks,I love your blog!

    • Sunnie permalink*
      April 9, 2012 7:11 am

      Hi Linda! Thanks for reading our blog, so glad to hear that you’re enjoying it! Yes, you will need to use Korean pepper powder for this recipe or the flavor will not be the same. All of the pepper powder brands you find at Korean grocery stores will work just fine – you will probably find some US based brands Assi Haitai, you might also find the more popular Korean brands like Pulmuwon. The US brands will be a bit cheaper but they work just as well!

      • linda sheehan permalink
        April 9, 2012 3:18 pm

        Thank you-I can’t wait to make it.There is a large Korean community where I live in Queens,NY.,so it it’s easy to get Korean products.Also,lots of Korean restaurants.Unfortunately.most of them are “Meat Palaces” !
        That’s why I like your blog so much.I like the spicy,satisfying taste of Korean food ,but don’t have to be a carnivore to enjoy it!

      • Sunnie permalink*
        April 9, 2012 5:35 pm

        Ah, that’s great. Yes, for some reason, the Korean cuisine in America has really focused on the BBQ aspect, but hopefully that will change in the future, focusing on the more macrobiotic foods that traditional Korean food is primarily based on! So glad you’re enjoying our blog, that makes us so happy. Thanks Linda!

  3. April 9, 2012 8:44 am

    My husband and I just made our first batch of kimchi a few days ago. We grow a ton of napa cabbage and bok choy in our garden. Thanks for another recipe. This looks wonderful:)

    • Sunnie permalink*
      April 9, 2012 8:54 am

      It is so wonderful that you grow napa and bok choy in your garden! How pretty your garden must be. πŸ™‚ I hope your first kimchi batch turns out to be a success. And yes, try the water kimchi sometime, it’s great for spring and summer!

  4. April 11, 2012 12:01 pm

    Your photos are mouth-wateringly beautiful. My aunt makes a version without any pepper flakes that is great for the warm summer months.

    Thanks for posting.

    • Sunnie permalink*
      April 11, 2012 2:35 pm

      Thanks for visiting, diydumpling! So glad you enjoyed our pictures. Yes, you can just skip the pepper flakes and make it a clear water kimchi – you’re right, it tastes particularly great during the summer months. It looks like you have a passion for kimchi yourself! All your posts are mouth-watering as well. I think I will have to make a kimchi-bean sprout bap dish sometime soon! =)

  5. May 10, 2012 11:04 am

    I love this kind of kimchi. Thank you for the recipe, Sunnie! πŸ™‚ I like it aesthetically, too, with the pink liquid and the thin squares of radish (according to the recipe I used before). One question about how to eat it–do you dip into it with your spoon, like a soup, or pick out the pieces with your chopsticks and leave the broth (noooo!)? I always feel weird just digging in with a spoon, especially when others are sharing at the same table.

    Which reminds me, could you please tell me about banchan etiquette? I always feel as though I’m eating more than my fair share, but when I’m with other people at a restaurant—whether they’re American or Korean—they never seem as interested in the banchan as I am, and they don’t eat as much. Tell me the truth, am I a banchan hog? πŸ˜‰

    • Sunnie permalink*
      May 10, 2012 11:55 am

      Hahaha… that is so funny, Lu! If you think of it that way, Bill and I would both be huge banchan hogs! πŸ˜‰ No, Korean eating culture would not really call us banchan hogs.

      In Korean cuisine, the host or restaurants who serve food are expected to offer more if you are out of banchan. You might need to ask for more, but that’s normal too. It’s considered very ungenerous for the host to say “no, you can’t have more banchan or you have to pay for it”. Even in the US, we’ve never had a Korean restaurant have any issue with bringing out more banchan!

      So you shouldn’t have to worry about eating too much banchan wherever you are eating at, if they are following the Korean philosophy of cooking, eating and sharing!

    • Bill permalink*
      May 12, 2012 8:28 am

      Oh, and Lu. Some Koreans eat with a spoon and some use chopsticks. But the broth is super yummy, so you’ve got to have some of that whether you use a spoon or not! In restaurants, they usually serve it in individual small bowls so people can just drink it if they want or use their spoons. So you can do that at home or ask for a little bowl to spoon some in at the start of the meal if no one else is using their spoon, and you feel uncomfortable!

      • May 14, 2012 11:48 am

        Thanks, Bill and Sunnie. πŸ™‚ The broth/juice is so tasty with rice, isn’t it?
        Now that you say it’s served in individual bowls, I wonder if I made a faux pas after all. It seems like at some restaurants around here, some of the banchan go with certain dishes, so they “belong” to the person who ordered that dish. When I went out with my friends a few weeks ago, there was only one bowl of nabak kimchi, and I went to town on it. I wonder if I was eating someone else’s side dish, and the person was too polite to tell me so.

        I just remembered that someone may be bringing Korean leftovers to work today—I’m keeping my fingers crossed for kimchi! Yummmm.

      • Sunnie permalink*
        May 14, 2012 8:13 pm

        Haha.. that is too funny. People love sharing food, no need to be shy, Lu!! πŸ˜‰ Hope you had kimchi for lunch!

  6. May 15, 2012 10:45 am

    noooo, *sob* it turned out there were no leftovers from the party. But that means that all the party guests, who included a lot of people with no experience of Korean food, loved everything, so that’s good!

  7. Jean permalink
    July 15, 2012 10:38 pm

    I’ve just made this today and look forward to try it. Assuming you eat this with chopsticks, I was wondering what you do with the leftover water? Just throw it away?

    • Sunnie permalink*
      July 15, 2012 10:43 pm

      Hi Jean!

      I hope it turns out well. Koreans sip the broth or have the broth with your spoon. When you serve it, you serve both the kimchi and the kimchi broth together, the broth is just as important as the kimchi itself.

      Make sure to finish it in a week or two! πŸ˜‰


  1. Just make it yourself: Cool kimchi | DIY Korean Food

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