Learn how to make your own vegan kimchi with this famous vegan napa kimchi recipe from Montreal producer Tout cru!
Is Kimchi Vegan?
That depends! Although kimchi is made from fresh vegetables, it is not always vegan or vegetarian!
Traditional kimchi usually contains fish sauce and often shrimp or other seafood. These ingredients provide an “umami” flavour, which gives kimchi its savoury taste.
However, there are vegan ingredients that will also provide umami flavours. It is therefore very easy to make vegan kimchi that is just as tasty (if not tastier) than traditional kimchi.
Note: Kimchi is produced by lactic acid fermentation. This fermentation is completely vegan and has nothing to do with milk! We are talking about lactic acid bacteria here, not animal products.
How to Replace Fish Sauce in Kimchi?
It is easy to make kimchi vegan!
Fish sauce, shrimp, and seafood can simply be eliminated from the recipe. However, it is advisable to replace them with umami-rich ingredients!
- Soy sauce
- Vegetable broth
- Dried mushrooms
These ingredients add a lot of depth to the kimchi and boost its flavour.
Here, we use wakame and kombu seaweed to add the umami touch to this vegan kimchi recipe, without using fish sauce (so no animal products). This kimchi also has the advantage of being allergen-free.
Vegan Napa Kimchi Recipe
- 750 g napa cabbage
- 50 g carrots
- 50 g daikon radish
- 40 g garlic
- 30 g ginger
- 30 g gochugaru chili flakes
- 20 g fine sea salt (We recommend fine grey sea salt from Maison Orphée, with a pleasant mineral taste and a powdery texture that makes it easier to incorporate)
- 10 g wakame and kombu seaweed (We recommend wild hand-picked seaweed from Gaspésie, Quebec by sea farmer Varech Phare Est)
- Cut the napa cabbage into small pieces about 2.5cm (1 inch) wide.
- Cut the carrots and daikon into very thin julienne strips (ideally with a mandolin, or with a chef's knife).
- Puree the garlic and ginger in a food processor. Add a little water if you wish to make it smoother.
- Cut the seaweed finely.
- In a large bowl, mix all the vegetables with the salt, chili, and seaweed.
- Gently massage the ingredients for 1 to 2 minutes, or until vegetables are well soaked.
- Fill the jar, packing carefully as you go to remove any air pockets. Leave some space at the top of the jar (about 2.5cm/1 inch).
- Pro tip: We don’t massage the vegetables excessively. We treat vegetables with respect and kindness! We believe that for kimchi, you just need to incorporate the ingredients properly to get good results.
- Place a ViscoDisc insert over the vegetables
- Let them ferment at room temperature for 5 days.
- Start tasting after 3 to 4 days. Store in the fridge to stop fermentation.
At Tout Cru! we like to ferment it for 5 days at 26°C and then refrigerate it until it is ready to be sold, 6 to 8 months later.
However, at home, we also like to eat our kimchi after only 2 days of fermentation. It still tastes fresh and slightly fermented, but already has the benefits of lactic acid bacteria.
About Tout cru!
Founded in 2015 in the Montreal area (Quebec), Tout Cru! is the creator of a line of tasty lacto-fermented products made from locally grown and organic vegetables. Tout Cru! produces kimchi, sauerkraut, radishes, pickles, hot sauces, etc. Their products can be found in more than 100 points of sale in Quebec.