Spicy Kohlrabi-Kale Kimchi

Reader Contribution by Tammy Kimbler
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Spicy Kohlrabi Kale Kimchi is delicious. Loaded with extra nutrition from kale and sweetness from kohlrabi, this kimchi has a great balance of spicy, tangy flavor. The key to great kimchi is two fold.

The first is using the right chilies. I tried kimchi with cayenne and was not happy. Cayenne didn’t have that sharp, clean, upfront heat that I like in good kimchi. I’ve had trouble finding Korean chilies, but then I tried Tien Tsin Chinese chilies, the same ones used in the classic Kung Pao dish. They have 60,000 heat units (cayenne has 40,000) and a great, clean, snapping bite that really make the recipe taste authentic.

The second key is a bit of sugar, which was a revelation to me. The sugar slightly mellows the kimchi while kicking the fermentation instantly into overdrive. Within days this kimchi will started to taste good and tangy.

Spicy Kohlrabi-Kale Kimchi Recipe


• 2 lbs kohlrabi
• 1 lb dinosaur or other tender kale
• 1/2 head napa cabbage
• 2 tbsp kosher salt
• 1/3 cup raw sugar
• 3 tbsp fish sauce
• 8 cloves garlic
• 1 bunch scallions
• 1-inch piece ginger
• 1/4 cup finely crushed Tien Tsin chili peppers, or 1/2 cup crushed red cayenne pepper


1. Peel kohlrabi and grate. Strip the leaves from the stems of the kale and finely shred the kale and cabbage. 

2. Combine kohlrabi, kale, cabbage, salt, sugar and fish sauce in a large bowl and let rest for 30 minutes.

3. Finely slice white and light green parts of scallions.

4. Peel ginger and finely mince ginger and garlic.

5. Add scallions, ginger, garlic and Tien Tsin chili peppers to the daikon and cabbage mixture, tossing to combine.

6. Pack mixture and juice into a 2 quart or 4 pint glass jars. It should just fit with some juice above the vegetables.

7. Cover with an airlock-enabled lid or a barely tight canning lid. Let sit at room temperature for 4 days, releasing the pressure daily if using the canning lid. Press the mixture down if it rises above the liquid line.

After 4 days, stir the mixture, pack it down, and top with the canning lid. Store in the refrigerator for at least a week before eating. Kimchi will easily last six months in the refrigerator.

Tammy Kimbler is the blogger of One tomato, two tomato. A cultivator at heart, Tammy’s passions lie with food, preservation, gardening and connecting to her local community through blogging and urban agriculture. She eats well and love to feed others as often as possible. She currently resides with her family in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Read all of Tammy’s MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.

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