Korean Kimchi Wraps


A few days before Christmas, David’s uncle invited the whole family for a pre-Christmas dinner. The thing is that he’s not a fan of Christmas food. At all. So instead of traditional food he prepared a homemade Korean BBQ – with a full table of fermented and pickled vegetables, rice noodles, sauces, fresh bell pepper, seared salmon and meat ready to be thrown on the small table grills. Everyone picked a little bit of this and a little bit of that onto their plate, and wrapped it up in thin lettuce leaves. It was without a doubt one of the most delicious and unusual Christmas dinner that we have experienced.

Since you just as well can make this dinner on a non-Christmas occasion, we decided to recreate a few of the recipes for you. We obviously don’t eat meat but wanted to add something more substantial and chewy to the wraps. So we seared mushrooms in shredded coconut, ginger and soy sauce. They turned out so very delicious, also on their own.

Korean wraps is a really fun thing to do for dinner. The flavors are kind of similar to a bibimbap, but much lighter. And you can fill them with a little bit of everything. Here we have added a marinated spinach salad, pickled spicy cucumber, fermented carrots, brown rice noodles and topped them with some gochujang sauce and fresh coriander. And not to forget, our homemade fermented Kimchi.


If you for some reason haven’t heard of Kimchi before, we recommend that you immediately add it to the list of things you need to try. It is a fermented spicy korean cabbage salad with a very intriguing and wonderful flavor – a kind of pleasantly sour and pungent taste. It is probably the most famous ingredient in the Korean kitchen. It is also one of David’s favorite things to eat – all categories. Apart from its flavor, it also has several health benefits.

We have been wanting to share a kimchi recipe with you for a long time. And decided to do it now as part of the Fabulous Fermentation Week. It’s an initiative started by two food blogging friends of ours, Sarah from My New Roots and Elenore from Earthsprout. The Fabulous Fermentation Week starts today and the idea is to put spotlight on and celebrate fermented food and all the health benefits that comes from it. Sarah and Eleonore are compiling a list of all other bloggers that shares a recipe during this week. And are also explaining the health benefits a bit more. So head over there to check it out.

It is not the first time we play around with fermentation, we have also had food, bread and drink recipes here on the blog, and we have have a fermented Kombucha cocktail recipe in our upcoming book. If you want to take your home fermentation to another level, this post is brilliant.

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Korean Lettuce Wraps

You can make these wraps tonight if you buy ready-made kimchi (available in most Asian stores) and leave out the pickled cucumber. If you choose to make the kimchi yourself (which we really recommend!), you need to make it at least 3-4 days before you plan to eat it – to give it time to ferment. So start with that. Prepare the cucumber salad 1 day in advance. All other ingredients can be prepared the same day.

Kimchi (recipe below)
Pickled Cucumber Salad (recipe below)
Sesame Marinated Baby Spinach (recipe below)
Coconut & Ginger Mushrooms (recipe below)

vermicelli, fine noodles made from brown rice, cooked according to the package

crispy lettuce leaves, rinsed and separated
gochujang sauce (buy in asian stores)
other fermented vegetables like carrots (in the picture), sauerkraut, fermented soy beans etc.
fresh cilantro / coriander

Assembling: Lay a salad leaf on your plate. Fill it with noodles, mushrooms, cucumber kimchi, fermented kimchi, spinach, fermented carrots, a dollop gochujang sauce and some fresh coriander. Use your fingers to carefully tuck it into a wrap or parcel. Take a big bite!


Fermented Kimchi

Day 1
2 lbs / 1 kg Napa cabbage
2 tbsp coarse sea salt

Day 2
60 ml / 4 tbsp rice vinegar
3 tbsp Korean chili flakes or powder (buy in asian stores)
2 tbsp unpastorized honey
2 tbsp grated fresh ginger
3 spring onions, sliced in bite-size pieces

Prepare the cabbage by removing the outer leafs, slice lengthwise half, then again in quarters. Remove the core and cut into 2 inch / 5 cm pieces. Place cabbage in a large non-reactive bowl, sprinkle with salt and toss well to combine. Place a smaller plate on top and a heavy bowl or books to weigh down. Set a side for 24 hours.

Rinse the cabbage well in cold water to remove the salt and squeeze out the excess water. Mix rice vinegar, chili, honey, ginger and spring onions in a large bowl. Then add the cabbage and toss well to combine, use your hands or a wooden spoon. When mixed, place in a glass jar or crock pot, close the lid and leave in room temperature for 2-3 days. Then place in the fridge for 4 days before you can eat it. If you don’t open the jar you can keep it in the fridge for weeks (probably months).

Pickled Cucumber Salad
Day 1
1 cucumber
1 tbsp coarse sea salt

Day 2
1 spring onion, thinly sliced
1 tsp garlic, minced
1 tbsp Korean chili flakes or powder (buy in asian stores)
1 tsp unpastorized honey
2 tsp rice vinegar

Wash the cucumber and cut lengthwise in half, then thinly slice. Place in a small non-reactive bowl, sprinkle with salt and toss well to combine. Place a smaller plate on top to weigh down (no need to place something heavy on top). Set a side for at least an hour.

Rinse the cucumber well in cold water to remove the salt. Now add onion, garlic, chili, honey and vinegar and toss well to combine, use your hands or a wooden spoon.When mixed, place in a glass jar, close the lid and place in the fridge for 1-2 days. Ready to eat.

Sesame Marinated Baby Spinach
200 g fresh baby spinach
1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp honey
1 tsp minced garlic
1 spring onion, very thinlysliced

Rinse the baby spinach and place in medium mixing bowl. Add all ingredients and toss well so every spinach leaf is coated. Leave to marinate for 15 minutes before serving.

Coconut & Ginger Mushrooms
2 tbsp coconut oil, ghee or olive oil
500 g (4 cups) mixed mushroom, we used shiitake, oyster and brown mushroom
3 tbsp grated fresh ginger
3 tbsp shredded coconut
2 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 lime, juice

Prepare the fresh mushrooms by simply wipe them off with a damp paper towel (do not wash them with water, as they will only absorb the liquid and get mushy when cooked). Slice the mushrooms in large bite-size pieces. In a large frying pan, heat oil or ghee, then add mushrooms.  Add the mushrooms, toss a couple times to coat them in oil. Add ginger, coconut and soy sauce. Cook for a couple minutes, and shake pan and leave to fry gently for 5-7 minutes. When the mushrooms have browned nicely, add a knob of coconut oil or ghee and the lime juice, and toss again so everything is mixed. Ready for serving.


  • Jara Bihler
    Hello! I'd love to make kimchi but I have got a question: Are you supposed to keep the lid of the jar closed during the fermentation process?
  • Beautiful, as always, you guys! I really have to make this, it looks and sounds absolutely delicious! Since I'm not allowed to eat really hot stuff: Is the kimchi very hot? Or should I use less chili flakes with this recipe? Thank you so much for all your inspiration! Ylva
  • Alex
    I love your blog but my Korean blood insists me to post a comment - First of all, the most important ingredient is missing in your kimchi recipe - garlic. We usually use fish sauce (or shrimp sauce) in kimchi as well but it can be removed, for instance as in North Korea where the climate is colder. However minced garlic is an essential part of authentic kimchi. Also I have never seen kimchi with vinegar - The sourness of kimchi is created by the fermatation process therefore there is no need of adding vinegar at all. If you want to boost the fermentation process you need to put kimchi in room temperature for longer time.
    • Andrew
      I have to agree with Alex. I lived in Seoul for a while and can whip up a few authentic Korean dishes myself. Kimchi ALWAYS has garlic. It's an essential ingredient and I believe very important to include. Not only does it add a specific flavor, but garlic is a natural antibiotic. It will keep a lot of the nasty bacteria from ruining the fermentation process.
  • Rosa
    I've been wanting to make this dish for months and tonight was finally THE NIGHT!! Wow, it was amazing :)) the coconut in the mushrooms is a wonderfull taste addition and the baby spinach is also soooo good. Well the whole dish is great and after eating nothing but happy feelings. Maybe it was the combination with the beautiful movie PINA we watched after diner (if you haven't seen it, please do). Well to conclude.. This wasn't the last time I'm going to make korean wraps!! Thank you guys <3
  • Bri
    My korean Mother-in-law uses one of these to store the kimchi in. http://www.amazon.com/Onyx-Stainless-Steel-Three-Airtight/dp/B002B0BQR8/ref=sr_1_2?s=home-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1391231982&sr=1-2&keywords=Stainless+Steel+Three+Clip+Airtight+Food+Bowl since traditional ceramic containers (onggi) are expensive to ship. She usually leaves the kimchi out for 3-4 days before storing it in the fridge, taking out the amount needed each time and resealing afterwards. It keeps for weeks and the more fermented, the better. Ditto to the vinegar-less kimchi.
  • Michele
    this looks delicious. I must concur with Angela's comment above, however -- as good as these recipes will taste, I do not think they can be called "kimchi". The distinguishing quality of kimchi is that they are long-fermenting preserved vegetables (and there are hundreds, not all spicy -- remember, hot peppers are new world -- and not all cabbage). Call these quick Korean pickles-- but I have never seen vinegar in kimchi...
  • Elsa
    I didn't have everything at home so I just prepared the spinach salad, ordered a margarita pizza ( it was Sunday night...) and used the salad as a topping. DELICIOUS!!!! And the post office just let me a paper because you book is waiting for me at the post office cannot wait to be tomorrow to go pick it up!
  • mela
    omg!i want cook it straight away! my friend and i will cook it when we meet next time! you made my day! my parents are in england for a few days, so i called them, that they have to bring your cook book over! sone tolli website! d'fotos inspiriere ein unglaublich und me wett am liebste ins bild itauche. me ka sogar dr gruch schmegge vo de rezäpt wenn me se am dureluege isch!
  • Sasha Black
    I have noticed...or i missing something that you don't put how many your dishes serve ???
  • Angela
    Hey there, great recipe! I'm surprised kimchi is getting such a good rep these days. I just want to give you a little tip though; don't put vinegar (or honey) in kimchi. Not even a drop. It will kill the good bacteria that's produced during fermentation and that would just defeat the whole purpose of eating fermented food!:-) Nobody in Korea puts vinegar in kimchi, just so you guys know. The buddhist monks use a couple of tablespoons of strong konbu stock to compensate for fish sauce. And it's very very important to use good quality Korean chili powder if you are making it vegetarian. Cheers! Happy cooking!
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  • maiastras
    It's great to see that Korean foods are catching on to the rest of the world! Since kimchi has a smell that can be unpleasant to the uninitiated, my mother used to stir-fry it when packing it for my lunch to minimize the odor. Another Korean wrap that I encourage you to try is using boiled pumpkin or courgette leaves instead of fresh lettuce. This tends to be a seasonal dish (served during summer), when the pumpkin leaves are not as hairy and tough. You just give each leaf a quick run-through in boiling water, but not for too long, because otherwise they'll be too soft. Then you take a little bit of brown rice, kimchi, pickles, a tiny bit of Korean soy bean paste and wrap it up in the pumpkin leaf. Bon appétit!
  • Eugene Seong
    Kimchi is a little bit spicy to me but I love kimchi. I've never tried Korean Lettuce Wraps and it looks really yammy. I ask my mom Korean Lettuce Wraps for lunch today.^^
  • This looks phenomenal! I love lettuce wraps AND kimchi will definitely try this out and added this to my reader as you have fab recipes! Kimmie
  • I've always been intimidated by the idea of making kimchee and now I'm going to try! Many thanks for the recipes and inspiration.
  • This looks wonderful! I love fermented veggies...I'm going to have to try this dish soon.
  • I LOVE this! Can't wait to try, I love kimchee!
  • Reading now your post and seeing the photos about Korean BBQ just reminds me to my last visit to Korea although it is already years ago. But thanks to your inspiration, now I really think about making Korean BBQ by myself.

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