Kimchi for the innocent, the timid and the neurotic

Adapted from the Yummy Kimchi recipe suggested to me by Allison Moon and the recipe in “Brain Maker” by Dr. David Perlmutter. Altered to be more digestible to people who can’t tolerate FODMAP foods (like me) by removing all onions, leeks, scallions, garlic and the like. If you’re on a very strict FODMAP-avoidant diet, do not use the jicama either. (If you don’t know what that means, you probably don’t have to worry about it.)


1 napa cabbage quartered and then cut into chunks or strips as you like
1/4 c. plus 1 tbsp fine pure sea salt

1 large crisp apple, Asian pear or bosc pear
2 tbsp fresh ginger root
1 tbsp anchovy paste (sounds gross, is awesome)
1 tablespoon Korean chili powder (or more, or none depending on your taste; I used smoked paprika, this may or may not be your thing — see notes below)

2 stalks of celery
1/2 to a full daikon radish, peeled and cut into quarters lengthwise, then 1/2-inch-thick chunks
1 large carrot
1/3 to 1/2 jicama (optional)

Ingredient notes:

Although the recipe called for Korean chili powder, I didn’t have any and I don’t like chili anyway, so I used smoked paprika. If you go this route make sure that a) you really love smoke flavors and b) you go light on the smoked paprika — a little less than a tablespoon is probably ideal.

Garlic? The original recipe called for 2 tbsp garlic and 1 tbsp ginger, if you prefer garlic, you can go that route. I left out the garlic and doubled the ginger. It was tasty.

Celery: The original recipe called for leeks, feel free to use those if you want, but the celery is quite nice too.

Jicama: The recipe called for chicory root, which I didn’t have, so I put this is as another great prebiotic; I’m sure you could use either but the jicama was great so I recommend it. Again for highly-sensitive FODMAP people, do not use this. You can try using bok choy instead if you like bok choy.

What to do:

Put the cut up napa cabbage and salt in a big bowl. Cover with warm distilled water. Mix the cabbage, salt and water with your hands. Let sit uncovered for 4-8 hours (or overnight). Then drain and rinse.

Combine the chili/paprika with the pear/apple, ginger, salt, anchovy paste and optional garlic in a food processor or blender sort of thing. Add 1 cup warm distilled water and puree until smooth. (If you don’t have an appliance like this, just cut stuff up small and mix it well.)

Toss the cut up celery, daikon, carrot, jicama, and cabbage together. Add the spice paste you made in the food processor. If you used chili, wear rubber gloves so you don’t burn your fingers. Mix together until everything is nicely coated.

Pack everything tightly into a big glass canning jar (or two) or a ceramic sauerkraut crock if you have one (because of course everyone has one of those sitting around). Mash everything down into the jar with your fingers, your fist (if you’re using a half-gallon jar or larger) or a potato masher. Leave 1-2 inches between the veggies and the top of the jar. Your liquid from the puree and the veggies themselves might cover the veggies if you’re lucky. If not, put in distilled water until they’re covered.

Put a bit of cool water into a plastic bag, eliminate the extra air, seal the bag and put it on top of the veggies. This will hold them under the water. Put the lid on the jar and seal it tightly.

Put the jar(s) in a cool, dark place for three days. Check once a day to make sure the liquid level is over the veggies. If it isn’t, add distilled water. At the three day mark, taste it and see if you want the flavor to be stronger. Let it sit a bit longer if you want a stronger flavor. When you’re ready, put it in the fridge. It’ll keep fermenting in the fridge, but much more slowly. Eat & enjoy!