You can add/delete/swap pepper types, add other veggies that ferment/pickle well. Think of it as a starting point to adjust to your local ingredients and taste preferences. Napa cabbage is most often used, but I've successfully used a regular head of green cabbage like you'd use for sauerkraut, but cut into larger pieces instead of shredding.

For brine, add 1 Tablespoon per quart of water (1/4 Tablespoon per cup). 1 pound of cabbage will be a little more than will fit in a 1/2 gallon Ball jar.


  • 1 pound cabbage into 2-3" pieces (reserve 1 leaf to top fermenter)
  • 2 serranos, cut in half lengthwise
  • 8 cloves of garlic, halved or quartered
  • 2-4 ounces of ginger, peeled and cut into matchstick-sized pieces
  • 6-8 scallions, cut into 2" pieces
  • 1 carrot, cut into 2"x1/8" pieces


  • 1/4 cup gochugaru (Korean chili flakes)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, grated
  • 2 ounces of ginger, grated
  • 1 teaspoon dark brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon water

Mix above together into a rough paste. Add a little more water if needed to get the paste to bind together.


  • In a large bowl, add a layer of cabbage, sprinkle a salt, and repeat until all cabbage is in the bowl
  • Press down on cabbage, let sit 15 minutes, press again, wait another 15 minutes
  • Stir cabbage around, press, let sit another 15-30 minutes
  • Take the paste made earlier, and mix together with the cabbage (I use rubber gloves, and do this by hand)
  • Add some cabbage to fermenting jar
  • Add some scallions, ginger, garlic and a serrano half
  • Repeat adding a layer of cabbage, pressing down on contents of the jar with a wooden spoon/spatula or a cocktail muddler, then more of the other ingredients, finishing with enough cabbage to fill fermenter, with around 4 inches of headspace. Cover with reserved cabbage leaf, cut down to size of fermenting jar, and add a fermenting weight if you have one.
  • Let sit an hour for cabbage to give off more moisture, and fill with water (or brine) to just cover the vegetables
  • Put fermenter lid (or loose fitting lid) on jar, and leave for a couple days. I put the jar on a plate, in case there's any fermenting overflow.
  • Every few days, check to make sure veggies are still covered and that there isn't any scum on the top.
  • If scum appears on top, spoon it off, and top off with water/brine
  • Leave on counter for 7-14 days, remove weight and covering leaf, and refrigerate.