Radish and Cabbage Heart Kimchi (Nabak Kimchi)

Nabak-Kimchi, Radish and Cabbage Heart Kimchi


This soupy and refreshing kimchi used be a summer fare. Today it is year round. This delicate pale-pink kimchi is infused with fragrant ­Korean variety watercress and ginger. It is usually made and matures within a day and stays fresh for 1 week at the most. It is one of the most refined kimchi. As you will see in Part Two Cooking with Kimchi, this Nabak-Kimchi plays a key role in kimchi gazpacho.


    Makes 3 quarts

30 minutes to prepare and 1 day to mature



½ pound Korean radishes, peeled and cut into thin domino shapes

½ pound napa cabbage hearts, cut into thin dominoes shapes

1 tablespoon sea salt

2 green onions, white and pale green part only, cut into 1 ½-inch pieces

2 cloves garlic, peeled and slivered

¼ ounce ginger, peeled and slivered

1 tablespoon sil goch‘u (hot red pepper threads) or crushed red hot pepper flakes

1 tablespoon pine nuts

2 tablespoons sugar, plus additional if needed


1 tablespoon goch’u garu (hot red pepper powder), placed in a cheesecloth pouch




Trim a whole piece of cabbage and take off the outer leaves until tender hearts appear. Reserve the out leaves for other use. Wash the cabbage and radishes well and drain in a colander. In a large nonreactive mixing bowl, place the radishes and cabbage. Sprinkle with the sea salt. Toss and let stand for 30 minutes. In another nonreactive mixing bowl, combine the green onions, garlic, ginger, sil koch’u, pine nuts, watercress, and sugar. Mix all well. Add this to the radishes and cabbage in the first bowl and toss well. Transfer the mixture to a 3-quart wide mouthed jar with a screw-top lid. Add 4-cups water to both mixing bowls, wipe the sides clean with a spatula, and add the water to the jar. Taste and adjust the saltines. Add the pouch of koch’u karu to the jar. Close the jar lid tight and double wrap in plastic bags. Let set at room temperature for 1 to 2 days. Transfer to the refrigerator. Kimchi will stay fresh for 1 week at the most.


Serve well chilled in a small glass or ceramic dish as an attractive, individual side dish.


Vegetarian recipe: This is a vegetarian kimchi.