Gundruk (Spicy Fermented Vegetables) Recipe


This is Nepal’s kimchi, made with the vegetables from the summer harvest and kept as a staple through the colder months. It is also sometimes made into a curry, but this pickle makes a great accompaniment to dhal and rice and adds a tang to your meals. You can also serve it alongside some steamed rice or pilaf, and Masala dahi.

This is also an excellent pickle to put on a burger. Try Paneer, grilled eggplant (aubergine) and Gundruk on your next vegie burger.

Region: Nepal
Makes: 1 x 1 litre (35 fl oz/4 cup) jar
Preparation: 20 minutes + 6 days fermenting
Difficulty: Easy


  • 500 g (1 lb 2 oz) Chinese cabbage (wong bok)
  • 500 g (1 lb 2 oz) daikon (white radish)
  • 200 g (7 oz) carrot
  • 4 tablespoons coarse salt
  • 4 spring onions (scallions), cut into 5 cm (2 inch) lengths
  • 1 tablespoon roughly chopped garlic
  • 1 tablespoon thinly sliced fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon chilli flakes
  • 1 tablespoon mild Kashmiri chilli powder
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon sichuan peppercorns
  • 1/4 teaspoon asafoetida
  • 2 tablespoons sugar


  1. Cut the cabbage into 5 cm (2 inch) squares, and the daikon and carrot into thin slices about 5 cm (2 inches) long. Place them in a large mixing bowl, add 3 tablespoons of the salt and mix thoroughly. Cover and leave to sit in a warm place for at least 6 hours.
  2. Drain the vegetables into a colander and rinse well, then return them to the mixing bowl. Add the remaining ingredients, including the remaining 1 tablespoon of salt, along with 250 ml (9 fl oz/1 cup) water. Toss well to combine the vegetables with all the spices.
  3. Transfer the mixture to a large sterilised jar, gradually pressing down on each layer as it is spooned in, to make it all fit; the mixture will break down with time.
  4. Place a piece of muslin (cheesecloth) on top of the jar and secure it in place with a rubber band. In the first few days, keep the jar in a bowl, as some of the liquid from the vegetables will overflow.
  5. After 3 days, seal the jar tightly and leave to ferment in a warm place for at least 3 days.
  6. Once the vegetables are fermented enough for your taste, store the jar in the fridge. This pickle will keep for up to 4 weeks.

Also from Lands of the Curry Leaf:

Reprinted with permission from Lands of the Curry Leaf: A Vegetarian Food Journey from Sri Lanka to Nepal by Peter Kuruvita and published by Murdoch Books, 2019.

Published on Oct 3, 2019


Inspiration for edible alchemy.