• Eunji Han

Mama Han's Kimchi Recipe

My mom makes the best kimchi. I feel like everybody thinks their moms is but seriously hers is.

At her restaurant, customers come just to order her kimchi and will eat a whole bowl in one sitting. This actually perplexes my mom because in her wildest dreams she never thought Americans would fall in love with kimchi or any Korean food for that matter.

Growing up, she actually used to worry about how much I loved kimchi. She used to joke that I wouldn't be able to marry anyone that wasn't Korean because non-Koreans would never accept my love for kimchi.

This is also her recipe that she wrote down for me. There are zero measurements and every time I ask her for it, she can't seem to really articulate it, except you just know. Hence the inspiration for "sohn mat" which means "mom's hand taste."

After many failed attempts, I have perfected the actual measurements for you all.

This recipe is for a 64oz glass jar and uses 1 napa cabbage.


  • 1 large napa cabbage

  • 2 Tbsp granulated plain salt

Flour Mixture

  • 1 cup water

  • 2 Tbsp sweet rice flour

Kimchi Paste

  • 1 bunch of green onions (5-6 stalks)

  • 1 medium korean radish (or daikon if you can't find korean one)

  • ⅔ cup garlic, minced

  • 1 tsp of ginger, minced

  • 2 Tbsp Fish Sauce 

  • 1 Tbsp salted baby shrimp

  • 1/2 fuji apple or korean pear

  • ½ tsp Korean new sugar or white sugar

  • ½ cup Korean gochugaru red pepper powder


  1. Chop the nappa cabbage in half, down the middle. Also, chop the green onions and radish and set aside.

  2. Lightly rinse the cabbage and then salt the cabbage throughout the layers.

  3. Let it sit in a bowl for about 3 hours so the cabbage prunes up a bit and softens.

  4. While the cabbage is being salted, make the flour mixture which helps with the fermentation process of the kimchi.

  5. In a small pot, add 1 cup of water and 2 Tbsp of rice flour (you can use sweet or regular) and over medium-high heat mix until it bubbles. Reduce heat when it starts bubbling and keep mixing until it turns to light paste. Take off the heat and set aside to let it cool completely.

  6. In a food processor, grind garlic, ginger, and apple/pear.

  7. Take the mixture and add fish sauce, salted baby shrimp, sugar, and gochugaru. This is your kimchi paste.

  8. Wash and rinse the cabbage in cold water and let the excess water drain.

  9. In a large bowl, combine the cabbage, radish, and green onions. Rub the kimchi paste on the cabbage in between every leaf to ensure that it is fully seasoned.

  10. In a clean sterilized 64oz jar, roll the kimchi into tight balls and press into the jar. Try to push out any air bubbles. This recipe should fill the jar to the top.

  11. Seal the lid and let the kimchi sit out for at least 24 hours at room temperature. Then put it into the fridge for it to ripen. Should be ready to eat in 2 weeks and will last in the fridge for over a month.

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