Salt-Brined Cabbage Tsukemono

Four ways to serve cabbage tsukemono - add the umami to your meals!

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Cabbage tsukemono is really easy to make. It’s a delicious way to add a burst of umami to your meals. See the section above for serving suggestions.


  • 1 head of napa cabbage (about 1.25 lbs)
  • 2 tsp salt (non-iodized)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, sliced
  • 1 tsp dried chili flakes
  • 1 tsp wakame (dried seaweed)

For Serving:

  • 1 tsp sesame seed oil


  1. Chop the cabbage in 4 or 8 pieces length-wise. Leave the core in the center to hold the leaves in place.
  2. Place the cabbage in a bowl and sprinkle with the salt. Rub the salt into the cabbage until it starts to soften.
  3. Add in the garlic, chili, and wakame. Toss everything by hand, then pack the cabbage into a glass container for fermenting. This can either be a bowl, serving dish, or jar. The only trick is that you need to be able to apply heavy weight to press the liquid out of the cabbage. See the section above for details on my DIY setup.
  4. It can take up to 24 hours for enough liquid to be pressed from the cabbage to completely submerge it. But don’t worry, it should release plenty of liquid, so you won’t need to add extra water.
  5. Place the cabbage in a closet to ferment for at least 2 weeks and up to 2 months.
  6. Serve with a drizzle of sesame seed oil.


  • Feel free to leave out the chili flakes or wakame. The best part about making your own pickles is you get to flavor them however you want!
  • Don’t worry if you don’t have enough liquid to submerge the cabbage right after pressing. Check it after 24 to 48 hours and it should be submerged. If it’s not, then increase the weight of your press.