Ginseng Kimchi Recipe


Many Koreans strongly believe in the salubrious powers of the ginseng root. It has been used for thousands of years and is said to help against numerous symptoms and ailments. Above all it is said to boost your energy-levels, and wild, ancient specimens are sold for large sums of money. The root almost looks like a human with legs, arms and a head. You can buy ginseng from health-food stores and some Asian food stores.

Ingredients and equipment:

  • One jar, approx. 2 liters (about 1/2 gallon)
  • about 20 (300 g) thin fresh ginseng roots
  • 100 g coarse sea salt (1/3 cup)

Kimchi paste:

  • 50 g cooked short-grain rice (about 2 tbsp)
  • 1/2 cucumber
  • 200 g gochugaru, Korean chilli powder (about 2 cups)
  • 100 g finely chopped leek (1 small leek)
  • 2 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp finely grated ginger
  • 100 g shredded fresh daikon (mooli) (about 1 cup)
  • 50 g Chinese leaf, the white part (1/2 cup, Napa cabbage)
  • 1/4 Savoy cabbage
  • 100 ml fish sauce (1/3 cup)
  • 2 tbsp salt
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar


  1. Cut the ginseng roots into sticks and salt carefully without damaging the bristles.
  2. Cover the boiled rice with about 200 ml of water. Simmer until the water is cloudy and somewhat thickened. Sieve and leave the rice water to cool.
  3. Slice the cucumber into sticks. Mix 100 ml (1/3 cup) of the rice water together with the cucumber sticks and the other ingredients for the kimchi paste.
  4. Gently stir the ginseng sticks into the kimchi paste. No need to check the seasoning for this.
  5. Place everything in a jar or other container with a tight fitting lid. Put it in the fridge.

The kimchi is ready to eat after approx. 10 days and will keep fresh for at least 2 months.

Reprinted with permission from Kimchi: Essential Recipes of the Korean Kitchen by Byung-Hi Lim and Byung-Soon Lim, published by Pavilion Books.

Published on Apr 23, 2019
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Inspiration for edible alchemy.