Caveman Cuisine: Easy Kimchi

Inspired by a recipe that I saw on (and the ingredients on the back of some store-bought kimchi) I decided to take a crack at whipping up (fermenting up?) some of this traditional Korean staple.


1 head shredded green cabbage (traditionally, Napa cabbage is used, but I decided to simply use what I had)
Sea salt
Hot Chili flakes
Daikon radish (peeled)
1/2 white onion (chopped)
Several slices fresh or 1-2 tsp powdered ginger
3-5 cloves garlic (minced)
1 slice cantaloupe or any other melon (traditionally, a tsp of sugar is used, but I decided to add some fruit instead)
3-4 tbsp kimchi (I found some at a Publix Supermarket that was not pasteurized and still "alive")

Step 1: Make Salt-water

Boil a large pot of filtered water. Turn the heat off and add 1/2 cup of sea salt. Stir the mixture until the salt dissolves. Allow the salt-water to cool while you prepare the other ingredients.

Step 2: Cabbage

Chop your head of cabbage into quarters. Remove most of the stem and shred the rest. I like to use a knife, but there is no reason why you couldn't do this with a grater or mandolin.

Step 3: Salt Cabbage

Add the shredded cabbage to the salted water and use a plate or lid to force the cabbage (at least most of it) underwater. The cabbage will need to soak in the salt water for at least 2 hours.

Step 4: Chop, Chop, Chop, then Wait

Prepare all of your other ingredients (grate the radish, slice the onion, mince the garlic, dice the melon) and set them aside while the cabbage soaks

Step 5: Wash, Rinse, Repeat

Pour the salt water off and rinse the cabbage with cold water. Repeat the process one more time.

Step 6: Mix and Squish

Combine all ingredients (cabbage, veggies, spices, & pre-made kimche) and, using clean hands, scrunch the ingredients together. This very technical process releases vital enzymes from the veggies and facilitates fermentation.

Step 7: Pack and Sit

When your kimchi is ready to go, pack it into a clean jar (preferably one with a tightly fitting lid). Press the mixture down and add enough liquid from the mixing bowl to cover the kimchi. Put your jar of kimchi on the counter and leave it alone for about two days. You'll know that it is ready when bubbles begin to form (a sign of fermentation). At this point, put your kimchi in the fridge and make sure to use it up within two weeks, otherwise, it might get too fermented.

Caveman Kimchi Tip: A few days before you run out, use a portion of pre-made kimchi to kick-start your next batch.

Suggested Uses: Kimchi makes a great addition to scrambled eggs, Asian inspired soups and stews, and any other dish that could use a tangy kick.
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About Unknown

Tony is the host of the Paleo Magazine Radio podcast, author of "Paleo Grilling: A Modern Caveman's Guide to Cooking with Fire", and Cofounder of Powerful PT, an innovative information resource for Fitness Professionals. He has appeared on numerous local and national television and radio broadcasts and regularly hosts healthy cooking workshops and informational lectures. He is also a full-time Personal Trainer and Wellness Consultant who lives in Jacksonville Florida with his wife Jamie.
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  1. I've never heard of using old Kimchi to make new Kimchi. Why do you do this? Is it necessary?

  2. Using a bit of old kimchi might not be necessary, but just like a yogurt our sourdough bread starter, the various beneficial organisms can preserved from batch to batch.

    Everyone's local environment is different, so the particular bacteria, yeast, etc. will vary, but by using some pre-made kimchi I ensured that the "good" bugs had a head start.