Gundruk (Spicy Fermented Vegetables) Recipe

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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:

Acclaimed chef, author and TV presenter Peter Kuruvita shares over 100 vegetarian and vegan recipes that take us on a culinary journey of discovery through the subcontinent — from Bhutan, Nepal and Afghanistan to India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and his home country of Sri Lanka. All the dishes in this deeply personal collection, spiced with the flavours of Peter’s life and travels, reflect the diversity of the regions, their legendary hospitality, their energy and excitement, extraordinary landscapes and rich history. Peter explores a goldmine of plant-based flavours in recipes for street foods; pulses and legumes; salads; dairy-based dishes; curries, stir-fries and stews; rice; soups; chutneys; and sauces. This book is a reflection of the changing dialogue about what we eat, as the world embraces the idea of a meal where flesh is not the main event.

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.

Inspiration for edible alchemy.