You ought to give nabak kimchi a shot if you are looking for a new and intriguing method of preparing kimchi. Nabak-kimchi is a water kimchi that is both mild and sweet, making it an excellent choice for the springtime. In addition to having a pleasing orange hue, it also contains a wide range of veggies that contrast with one another. It is a good complement to any type of Korean cuisine. It’s time to make some.

What is Nabak Kimchi?
Nabak kimchi (나박 김치) is a variant of Korean water kimchi (Mul kimchi, 물김치). Water kimchi is created with salted radish and cabbage, which are then blended with water and other seasoning components such as pear, onion, garlic, and Korean chili flakes. Nabak kimchi, unlike conventional kimchi, does not require fish sauce, making it ideal for vegetarians and vegans.


The name “nabak” refers to the technique of slicing radish into a thin, square shape. Koreans refer to this approach as “nabak-sseolgi” (나박썰기). The name derives from the sound made when slicing the radish: “nabak-nabak (나박-나박)”.Nabak kimchi has a refreshing flavor with a hint of salinity. As it rests and ferments, the acidic flavor begins to emerge.

It complements most Korean dishes, but it pairs particularly well with baked or roasted sweet potatoes, rice cake soup, and hearty Korean fare. As a result, it is frequently offered as one of the meals on the Charye table (an ancestral rite), as well as on Korean New Year’s Day.

How long does NABAK KIMCHI last?
After making nabak kimchi, let it sit at room temperature for 4 to 6 hours. Then, keep it in the refrigerator. (You could leave it out longer, but it may ferment too quickly for your preference.) You can start eating the kimchi the following day.


Nabak kimchi, like other kimchi, will gently ferment in the refrigerator until it turns sour. Some say it should be eaten within 3 to 4 days, however in my experience, you can eat it within 3 weeks of cooking it. Of course, this will be determined by how long you left the kimchi out initially, as well as the overall storage circumstances. After this point, the kimchi will become quite sour and the radish will soften, indicating that it is not in its best condition.

Nabak kimchi is frequently served alongside a bowl of rice and other Korean sides. It provides a pleasant, refreshing, and zesty taste.

When you serve nabak kimchi, top it with thinly sliced cucumber, nashi pears, or apples. This will give the kimchi brine a lovely, natural sweet flavor and a crunchy texture.


  • 450g / 15.9 ounce radish (Korean or daikon), peeled, cut into 1 inch (2.5 cm) squares with 1/8 inch (0.3 cm) thickness
  • 345g / 12.2 ounces napa cabbage, use inner part of yellow leaves only (remove green leaves) and cut into smaller pieces (1 inch squares)
  • 2 Tbsp cooking salt, medium sized crystals
  • 110g / 3.9 ounces carrot, peeled and thinly sliced (1/8 inch (0.3 cm) thickness)
  • 40g / 1.4 ounces green onions, cut in 2 inch (5 cm) length
  • 35g / 1.2 ounces red chili, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 2 Tbsp glutinous rice flour
  • 1.5 cup water
  • 400g / 14.1 ounces nashi pear, blended (with a stick blender or vegetable chopper) or finely grated
  • 95g / 3.3 ounces onion, blended (with a stick blender or vegetable chopper) or finely grated
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 Tbsp minced ginger
  • 2 Tbsp Korean chili powder (gochugaru)
  • 8 cups water
  • 1 Tbsp cooking salt, medium sized crystals
  • cucumber, thinly sliced
  • nashi pear, peeled, thinly sliced


1. Prepare a large kimchi container (4.8 litre/ 1.26 gallon) and add the prepared radish and napa cabbage. Add the salt (2 Tbsp) and mix well. Cover and leave it at room temperature for 30 minutes.

2. While waiting, prepare the glutinous rice paste. Mix the glutinous rice flour with the water in a saucepan and cook over medium heat for 5-8 minutes until it thickens. Once the glutinous rice paste is ready, transfer it to a medium-sized bowl and cool it down. Add the pear, onion, minced garlic, minced ginger, and Korean chili powder. Stir well.

3. Place a strainer over the kimchi container from step 1 and cover that with a large cotton cloth. Pour the kimchi seasoning from step 2. Wrap the cotton cloth and squeeze it, making sure to strain only the liquid.

4. Add 8 cups of water and 1 tablespoon of salt to the container. Add the prepared carrots, green onions, and chilies, and stir. Close the lid and leave it out at room temperature for 4 to 6 hours. Then store it in the fridge. You can start serving from the next day. Serve it chilled and give it a good stir before scooping.

FAQs about Nabak Kimchi (Water Kimchi)

1. What is nabak kimchi?

Nabak kimchi is a type of water-based kimchi that is traditionally made with sliced radishes, napa cabbage, carrots, and green onions, soaked in a clear, mildly seasoned brine. It is known for its refreshing taste and is typically enjoyed as a side dish.

2. How is nabak kimchi different from other types of kimchi?

Unlike the more common spicy kimchi, nabak kimchi is not fermented with a heavy chili pepper paste. Instead, it is made with a light, clear brine that is less spicy and less pungent, making it a milder alternative to traditional kimchi. The emphasis is on a fresh, crisp taste.

3. What ingredients are typically used in nabak kimchi?

The main ingredients include:

  • Radishes
  • Napa cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Green onions
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Korean pear (optional for sweetness)
  • Red chili pepper flakes or Korean red pepper powder (gochugaru) for mild heat
  • Salt
  • Sugar
  • Water

4. How do you make nabak kimchi?

Here is a simple overview of the process:

  1. Prepare the vegetables: Slice radishes, napa cabbage, carrots, and green onions into thin, uniform pieces.
  2. Salt the vegetables: Sprinkle salt over the vegetables and let them sit for about 30 minutes to draw out excess moisture.
  3. Make the brine: Combine water with garlic, ginger, a bit of sugar, and salt to create a light brine. Optionally, add a small amount of gochugaru for mild heat.
  4. Combine and store: Rinse the salted vegetables to remove excess salt, then place them in a container. Pour the brine over the vegetables, ensuring they are fully submerged.
  5. Ferment: Allow the kimchi to sit at room temperature for 1-2 days to begin the fermentation process, then store it in the refrigerator. It will continue to ferment slowly and develop flavor over time.

5. How long does nabak kimchi last?

When stored properly in the refrigerator, nabak kimchi can last for several weeks. It is best consumed within 2-3 weeks for optimal freshness and taste.

6. Can nabak kimchi be eaten immediately after preparation?

Yes, nabak kimchi can be eaten right after it is made, though it will taste more like a fresh vegetable salad. For a slightly tangy and fermented flavor, it is recommended to let it sit for at least a day or two.

7. What are the health benefits of nabak kimchi?

Nabak kimchi, like other types of kimchi, is rich in vitamins, minerals, and probiotics, which are beneficial for digestive health. Its lighter seasoning makes it a lower-calorie, low-sodium option compared to spicier kimchi varieties.

8. Can I adjust the spice level in nabak kimchi?

Absolutely! Nabak kimchi is typically milder, but you can adjust the amount of gochugaru (Korean red pepper flakes) to suit your taste. For a completely non-spicy version, you can omit the pepper flakes altogether.



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