I've read about kimchi, which is a traditional Korean food made from vegetables. I'm not sure I can find Napa cabbage here in Hungary though - can I make it with regular vegetables?

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    I use a mixture of Hungarian paprika and cayenne for my kim chi. Typically I'll also use napa cabbage and bok choy, but kim chi is similar enough to hot sauerkrautthat I expect regular cabbage would work too. Commented May 29, 2013 at 15:21

2 Answers 2


To answer your specific scenario, kimchi has myriad variations using any number of vegetables, from perilla leaves to Korean radishes to napa cabbage. There are forms of kimchi that involve no chilies (white kimchi), some involve a lot of water and bear little resemblance to the typical napa cabbage one (mul kimchi). The main constraints for Korean-ness of kimchi will be that you've fermented it (for all of the types that I can think of, anyway), and that it doesn't stray too far from familiar Korean flavor profiles (rules that you can break if you've got a deep enough foundation in Korean culinary traditions).

Napa cabbage isn't particularly hard to find in Europe, however, so I'm not sure why it would need to be substituted. For whatever reason, it was called "Chinese cabbage" in Germany; I'd be surprised if you couldn't find it. If I wanted to make the typical cabbage kimchi, the hardest thing would have been finding the right kind of chili powder, which I was able to obtain without too much trouble when I was a 20 year old student there many years ago. Then, the typical small bits of raw oysters or other kinds of fish or dried shrimp can reasonably be substituted with locally available ingredients (and some regions in Korea don't always use those ingredients anyway).

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    Napa cabbage is called "Chinese cabbage" in Hungary too - I just didn't know it's English name. =) Commented May 29, 2013 at 0:03
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    @ZoltánSchmidt I think "Napa Cabbage" is the American name. The English name is "Chinese Cabbage". At least that what they say in England and Australia. As far as I can tell, the German name is Chinakohl. I don't know the Hungarian. Commented Oct 8, 2013 at 14:10
  • @AdrianRatnapala In Hungarian, it means the same as in English. Commented Oct 8, 2013 at 15:35

I made it without nappa. This is my recipe which turned out pretty good!!

Kimchi cabbage: Cabbage, salt, water 1. Rinse cabbage 2.Cut into strips 3.Rise again and put salt 4.Store in cool area. Wait 5-8hours Sauce: Celery, onion, garlic powder, garlic paste, ginger powder, chili powder, Hoi sin sauce Soy sauce, worchesteshire, stir fry sauce,sugar. 1.Chop Celery(carrots) and onion 2.Mix Garlic, ginger and Chili powder, add water till paste. 3.Mix veggies and paste, add garlic paste(I had found my store bought one.) 4.Add sugar 5.Add liquids and mix. 6.Add sesame seeds(and chilli flakes) Then Mix.

After 8 hours: 1. Rinse cabbage then add a bit of salt. 2. Mix paste with cabbage(make more paste if needed) 3. Enjoy :)

Try white rice with Kimchi.

When mixing things I estimated how much to put since I only had a bit of cabbage, put however much you'd like!

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    A puréed apple makes a tasty substitute for the sugar. I've also used mango and cherry purée: all good. You need something with sugar in it, but it doesn't have to be sugar. Commented Jun 1, 2017 at 23:32
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    You can go overboard with the sugar though. I always cook some mochiko flour with a little sugar and use that as my sauce-base. One time I added a pureed apple on top of that because I saw so many other people do something similar, and it ended up super sour! I ended up only being able to use it a little bit in cooked dishes as result. I realise you said as a substitute, but I wanted to emphasize it.
    – kitukwfyer
    Commented Jun 2, 2017 at 1:28

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