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【Recipe】Japanese Sour Napa Cabbage. ( Lacto Fermentation)

Updated: Apr 24, 2020

2020. Jan. 9

This recipe is one of the Japanese winter pickles, which is Lacto fermented like sauerkraut. It will taste a bit sour but fresh and crunchy on the white part.

The red chillis are not for making the taste hot but for making the fermentation stable.

Please consider that the temperature is between 0-10 ℃ in the Japanese winter. A container should be double to triple in size of the Napa cabbage.


Napa cabbage 1

Salt 3% of the Napa cabbage

Kombu (Kelp)

Dried Red chilli 1-2


A container, a weight and a knife.


1. Cut Napa cabbage into 4 parts.

(Put a knife at the root part (①) and cut through 1/3 way down to the leaves then tear it in half by pulling the root part left and right with your hands(②). Then do the same for another block. It's hard to describe....)

* Don't cut off the bottom of the Napa cabbage! It needs to be connected.

2. Wash the Napa cabbages carefully and remove some of the outer leaves. Put the Napa cabbages in the sun to dry for half a day.

( If the outer leaves are clean, keep them for use as a cover of the pickle. )

3. Weigh all the Napa cabbages and calculate how much amount of salt you need.

4. Sprinkle a bit of the salt at the bottom of the container. Take one of the Napa cabbages into the container and rub some of the salt gently between leaves. Especially for the thick part.

5. After finishing all of the Napa cabbages, put all in the container tightly like you don't see much spaces between the Nappa. Put the dried Kombu and the red chilli. It's good to sprinkle the salt at the top if you have some left. (If you have some outer part of the Napa cabbages from 2. put it on the top.)


6. Find a weight which is the double weight of the Napa cabbages and put it on the top. Let it sit at a cold place.

7. You will see moisture fill up the container. Please mind that the moisture covers the top of the Napa cabbages in 2 days. Otherwise, you may see some mold.

8. When you see the moisture gets a bit cloudy from transparent, it's a good sign. You can decide when to start eating depends on its sourness.

*If you worry about getting mold, you also can use a clean plastic bag and tie at the top.


○ Raising the moisture to the top of the Napa cabbages in 2 days!

○ The Napa cabbages shouldn't touch the air to ferment safely.

○ Let it sit in a cold place. ( Lower than 10℃)

○ The cloudiness of the moisture is a good sign

○ Lactic bacillus makes the Napa cabbage sour.



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