Spicy Asian Fermented Cabbage and Daikon

This fermented cabbage is simple to make, and it packs a good dose of the hearty, spicy, umami flavors of kimchi.

Serves: 12Hands-on: 30 minutesDifficulty: Medium

Serves: 12


  • 1 head (2 lbs.) Napa cabbage, quartered, cored and sliced crosswise into ½" strips
  • 1 whole cabbage leaf, thoroughly washed
  • 1 Tbsp. kosher salt
  • ½ lb. daikon radish, peeled and sliced into 1½" matchsticks
  • 1 Tbsp. crushed red pepper
  • 1 tsp. fresh grated ginger
  • ¼ tsp. cayenne
  • ⅛ tsp. hot smoked paprika
  • ¼ tsp. garlic powder
  • 1½ tsp. soy sauce


  • Clean 2 canning or pickling jars (1 quart) thoroughly, making sure to rinse all soap residue. (Wide mouth jars work best.) Set aside to dry.
  • Using very clean hands, mix cabbage and salt in a large bowl. Massage, squeeze, and knead to release natural juices in the cabbage, about 5 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly with your hands.
  • Pack the cabbage mixture tightly into one jar, using the second jar only if needed. Leave at least 1" of space at top. Pour in enough of the juices from the mixing bowl to cover cabbage well.
  • Place part of the whole cabbage leaf in the jar, covering the top of the mixture. Using a clean, small jelly jar or similar-sized object as a weight, press down on the cabbage to release juices until they rise above the cabbage. Cover with a clean cloth or several layers of cheese cloth secured with twine.
  • Set aside in a cool room out of direct light. Over the first 24 hours, check periodically and press the weight down. If after 24 hours, the liquid does not fully cover the cabbage, add a salt water solution (½ teaspoon salt for each ½ cup water). Check daily, removing any white scum that appears at the top of the jar.
  • After 3 days, start tasting the cabbage. Once the desired intensity of flavor is reached, put a lid on the jar and refrigerate for up to 6 months.