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Easy Korean Kimchi Keto Recipe

Korean Kimchi Keto


When creating our sweet and spicy Korean Kimchi Keto recipe we kept it simple to allow for substitute ingredients that everyone could find.

Kimchi is rich in Vitamin A and C, excellent for gut health, weight-loss and improves your bowel function for an overall immune system boost.

Kimchi for Keto Diet

keto kimchi paste

The first time we had ever tried Kimichi was from our neighbour who was telling us about intermittent fasting and gut health.

Since being on the keto diet Mrs CBB has dropped near 100lbs and wanted to improve her gut health and cellular repair.

Cellular repair: When fasted, your cells initiate cellular repair processes.

This includes autophagy, where cells digest and remove old and dysfunctional proteins that build up inside cells- Intermittent fasting 101

To get to a point of autophagy where she was cleaning out old damaged cells to make room for newly regenerated cells she needed to incorporate extended fasts.

This means she fasts about 3-5 days once a month, sometimes twice.

The rest of the week she follows OMAD which is One Meal A Day.

The keto way of living really takes on many forms but this is where she is at.

Why Make Kimchi?

keto kimchi

Mrs CBB was suffering from a sore tummy, increased gas and overall not feeling her best.

On the advice of our neighbour, he suggested we buy kimchi to help with gut health but we decided to make our own, keto style.

Store-Bought Kimchi Prices vs. Homemade Kimchi Prices

We found Kimichi at the grocery store but you will pay big bucks $9.99 for a small pot of it so don’t waste your time buying it, make it.

This Kimchi keto recipe will make a 2-litre jar of fresh homemade fermented cabbage that you can store indefinitely. 

When factoring in the costs for the ingredients one 2L  jar will cost you roughly $8.

It puts that small pot of kimchi to shame at the grocery store let me tell you.

The only catch to make kimchi is waiting for it to ferment which can take 1 to 5 days depending on how sour you like it.

We like our kimchi to taste sour like sauerkraut so we keep it on the counter fermenting for 5 days.

The longer kimchi sits out at room temperature the stronger the flavours will become and tarter but the texture is very crispy.

History of Kimchi

keto kimchi jar

Kimchi is a staple in Korean cuisine, is a famous traditional side dish of salted and fermented vegetables, such as napa cabbage and Korean radish, made with a widely varying selection of seasonings including gochugaru (chili powder), scallions, garlic, ginger, and jeotgal (salted seafood), etc.

There are hundreds of varieties of kimchi made with different vegetables as the main ingredients.

Traditionally, kimchi was stored in-ground in large earthenware to prevent the kimchi from being frozen during the winter months.

It was the primary way of storing vegetables throughout the seasons.

In the summer the in-ground storage kept the kimchi cool enough to slow down the fermentation process.

In contemporary times, kimchi refrigerators are more commonly used to store kimchi.

Napa Cabbage

napa cabbage

What is Napa Cabbage?

The word Napa used in Nappa Cabbage is a Japanese word that refers to the leaves of any vegetable.

You can find napa cabbage is most Canadian grocery stores and almost all Asian supermarkets.

Napa cabbage is typically sold per pound and typically will cost us about $4 for each one we buy.

Other Names for Napa Cabbage Around The World

Nappa Cabbage

Napa Cabbage also refers to, “White Vegetable” where the leaves are lime green and white leaf veins.

  • The Korean name for napa cabbage, baechu.
  • The Japanese name for napa cabbage, hakusai
  • The Chinese name for napa cabbage, báicài 

Napa or nappa cabbage (Brassica rapa subsp. pekinensis or Brassica rapa Pekinensis Group) is a type of Chinese cabbage originating near the Beijing region of China, and is widely used in East Asian cuisine.

Since the 20th century, it has also become a widespread crop in Europe, the Americas and Australia.

In much of the world, this is the vegetable referred to as “Chinese cabbage”. In Australia it is referred to as “wombok”. – Wikipedia

Daikon Radish 101

daikon radish

We struggled to find Daikon Radish is many Canadian grocery stores but we have a few inside tips for you.

Food Basic and Metro always have Daikon Radish in stock so if you have one of these grocery stores head there.

You will also find Daikon Radish at almost all Asian and some Indian grocery stores.

Can you substitute red radishes for daikon radish in kimchi?

You can add red radishes as extras however they are very spicy.

Personally, I’d add the daikon and mix in some radish if you want to add them to the mixture.

The small independent Asian stores will be your best bet to stock up on all of your keto kimchi ingredients. 

We also find that since they buy these products in bulk that you’ll find some of the best prices in the independent shops over the grocery store.

What is Daikon Radish?

Honestly, we had no idea what we were in for when we needed Daikon Radish as we had not tasted it before. 

Daikon (大根, literally ‘big root’), Raphanus sativus L. var. longipinnatus Bailey, also known by many other names depending on context, is a mild-flavored winter radish usually characterized by fast-growing leaves and a long, white, napiform root. Originally native to Southeast or continental East Asia, daikon is harvested and consumed throughout the region, as well as in South Asia.

It is now available internationally. – Wikipedia

Other names for Daikon Radish to be aware of when grocery shopping around the world are;

  • White Radish
  • Winter Radish
  • Oriental Radish
  • Long White Radish
  • Luobo, Chinese White Radish
  • Mooli
  • Japanese Radish or True Daikon
  • Lobak or lo pak
  • Chai Tow or Chai Tau
  • Icicle Radish

What does Daikon Radish taste like?

Daikon radish is super crunchy and not nearly as spicy as a red radish. 

I find Daikon radish easy to eat, satisfying that crunch and perfect for pickling or fermenting in kimchi recipes.

Keto Kimchi vs. Korean Kimchi

Kimchi Recipe

It was important to us when creating a Kimchi keto recipe that we kept it as traditional as possible but with fewer carbs.

One of the ingredients we did opt to eliminate is the rice flour even though many people will say the carbs are little from it. 

Honestly, in comparison to the Kimchi, our Korean neighbour let us try we felt that we weren’t missing much with our recipe.

I think if you grew up with kimchi that perhaps you will notice the missing rice flour but it’s up to you if you want to make a traditional slurry for your kimchi recipe.

We chose to eliminate that step for our kimchi keto style version and substituted traditional Asian pear or apple for erythritol or a keto-friendly sugar.

This still allows for sweetness and for the fermentation process to begin so some form of sugar is essential.

Korean Chili

Korean Kimchi Sauce

One ingredient that we had to search for was Korean gochugaru (chilli powder) which we ended up finding in two places, Amazon Canada and a local Chinese supermarket.

Pricing for the gochugaru is cheapest when you can find it locally as opposed to sourcing it online for home delivery. 

Gochugaru is one of the key spice ingredients in traditional kimchi so try to find this if you can but if not substitute it with crushed chilli flakes. 

You may also find traditional kimchi has julienned carrots but since they are not keto we did not add it to our recipe.

If you are looking to keep your Kimchi keto recipe inexpensive try to buy everything from a local Asian supermarket.

Finally, we love fresh limes so you will find that we used lime juice in our kimchi keto recipe which gives the fermented flavour a delicious twist.

I’ve also added in 2 tablespoons of Diet Coke Zero with Stevia to the kimchi to kick-start the fermenting process but this is optional.

Ways To Use Kimchi

kimchi cauliflower rice
Keto Cauliflower Rice with homemade kimchi and fried halloumi cheese

Now that we keep a huge jar of our Kimchi keto recipe in the refrigerator we add it to many of our recipes.

Most often we eat kimchi as a crunchy side-dish but we also like to add it to scrambled eggs.

We like to add kimchi to:

How To Make Easy Keto Kimchi

keto kimchi

Preparing the Napa Cabbage

Making Kimchi is a bit of a process so I will add it below in sections.

The first thing you will want to do is cut your napa cabbage lengthwise and then into quarters.

From there take out the core on each quarter of the cabbage and discard it.

Fill a clean sink with cold water and rub 1/2 cup of kosher or flaked sea salt in between all of the leaves.

Don’t be shy with the sea salt even if you think it’s way too much, don’t worry it won’t taste salty.

Lay the cabbage in the sink of cold water or in a large bowl and turn it every hour for about 3 hours or until the white flesh can bend without snapping.

Some people like to chop the Nappa cabbage first into small bits for this process but I do it afterward.

The choice is yours.

Rinse the cabbage under cold water.

Pour the napa cabbage in a strainer to dry the leaves but keep back 2 cups of brine for the fermenting process.

As the leaves become dry I slice the Nappa cabbage into long strips but you can do this before brining or after.

I add the julienned daikon radish with the cabbage at this point in the process waiting for the kimchi paste.

Preparing The Kimchi Spices

Kimchi Spice Ingredients

In a food processor add your garlic cloves, erythritol, spring onions (whites only), ginger, Korean chilli flakes, lime juice, cold water, fish sauce, and soy seasoning.

You will want to mix it until it’s the consistency of a pancake batter so it will be thin but as a paste and that’s what you want.

Wear Gloves To Mix Your Kimchi

For the process of rubbing the spices into the sliced cabbage leaves, I suggest wearing gloves otherwise your hands will stain.

I put the cabbage, daikon radish and spring onion greens into a large Tupperware container lined with a bag to eliminate staining.

Pour the paste over the cabbage leaves and daikon radish and rub it all over until everything is coated.

*You can use a large bowl.

Packing the Kimchi

Homemade Keto Kimchi packed in a 2 litre jar

I packed the kimchi tightly into a 2-litre glass jar and added a bit of the brine to make sure the cabbage was submerged.

Put a bowl or plate under the jar and make sure the lid is on tight as it will bubble as it ferments.

You will know it is fermenting once the bubbles appear which takes about 1 or 2 days on the counter.

If you aren’t seeing any bubbles at this point you may want to add a bit more of the sweetener but it should be fine.

Every so often I open the jar and use a wooden spoon to push the kimchi down and add more brine if necessary.

Most often I don’t as it ferments the water from the cabbage is released.

After 3 days your kimchi keto recipe is done and you can eat it any way you like.

We store our kimchi in the refrigerator for up to 6 months always making sure the kimchi is submerged in juices. 

Easy Korean Kimchi Keto Recipe (Sugar-Free)
Recipe Type: Keto
Cuisine: Korean
Author: Mr CBB
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 20
This Kimichi Keto Recipe is simple to make but time-consuming however the beautiful end results will be worth the effort and can last up to 6 months in your refrigerator.
  • 1 large Nappa Cabbage
  • 1 cup Kosher or flaked sea salt
  • water to cover the cabbage
  • 1 cup julienned daikon radish
  • Kimchi Paste
  • 10 cloves of garlic
  • 8 spring onions (whites chopped for paste, save the greens)
  • 4 tbsps of fish sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum (optional)
  • 1 tbsp erythritol
  • 4 tbsps soy seasoning or soy sauce
  • 4 tbsps grated fresh ginger
  • 1/2 cup of Korean chilli powder (add as much or little as you’d like as it is spicy)
  • 1 tablespoon cold water
  • Juice of one fresh green lime
  1. Slice your Napa cabbage into quarters and remove the core.
  2. Fill a clean sink or large bowl with cold water and remove the leaves and massage salt all over each leave liberally then submerge in water for up to 4 hours. When the cabbage can bend without breaking the white flesh it is done.
  3. Pour the cabbage into a strainer to drain and hold back 1 to 2 cups of brine.
  4. Once dry you can slice your cabbage into strips or leave whole for the kimchi recipe.
  5. Add the julienned daikon radish with your cabbage into a large stainless bowl or Tupperware container.
  6. Making the Kimichi Paste
  7. While the cabbage is soaking add all of the kimchi paste ingredients into a food processor and mix until it is a paste.
  8. Pour the paste over the sliced cabbage and mix using gloves or rub into whole leaves so they are covered in paste.
  9. Fill a 2 or 3-litre jar with the completed kimchi and pack it as tight as you can adding extra brine to submerge the cabbage for the fermenting process.
  10. Leave the jar tightly closed on the counter for 3-5 days depending on how sour you like your kimchi.
  11. Every so often opens the jar and press the cabbage down using chopsticks or a wooden spoon.
  12. Keep the jar sitting on something that can catch any over-spill if it comes out from the jar when you open it or as it ferments.
  13. Store in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.

Making a Kimchi keto recipe may seem like a long process and it is but the end result is worth the work and savings to your budget.

Discussion: What was the best tasting kimchi you’ve ever had? Leave me a comment below as I enjoy your feedback.

Keto Kimchi Nutritional Info: 2 net carb per 1/2 cup

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