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Winter Hobak (Pumpkin) Kimchi

Pumpkin is given the kimchi treatment with gochugaru, garlic, ginger, and green onions in a shiitake mushroom brine. It takes on a soft, sweet persimmon-like texture and flavour. A delightful way to enjoy pumpkin raw!

Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Korean
Author: Sabrina @ Straits Road Kitchen
To Prepare the Pumpkin and Cabbage
  • 454 g (1 lb) winter squash, such as kabocha, muscat, or butternut (weight after peeling and slicing)
  • 480 g (2 cups) 3% brine (15 g Himalayan salt + 480 ml warm water)
  • 100 g (2/3 cup) Napa cabbage or red cabbage, plus one large leaf to use as a weight
  • 2 g Himalayan salt or sea salt
Kimchi Seasoning
  • 8 g (4 tsp) gochugaru (Korean red chilli flakes)
  • 3 g (1 clove or 2/3 tsp) garlic, grated
  • 1.5 g (1/3 tsp) ginger, grated
  • 6 g (1 stalk) green onion
  • 12 g (4 tsp) pumpkin seeds or pine nuts
2% Shiitake Mushroom Brine
  • 3.5 g (2 tbsp) dried shiitake
  • 120 g (1/2 cup) hot water
  • 2.5 g (1/2 tsp) Himalayan salt or sea salt
Prepare the Pumpkin and Cabbage
  1. Peel and cut the pumpkin into 3 mm (1/8 inch) thick slices, then into 3 x 5 cm (1.2 x 2 inch) pieces.

  2. In a large bowl, soak the pumpkin pieces in 3% brine for at least 45 minutes.

  3. Drain the brine and allow the pumpkin to dry in the colander. To speed up the process, you can also pat dry the pumpkin with kitchen towels.

  4. Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, toss the cabbage with 2% salt. Set aside for 20 minutes.

  5. Rinse off excess salt from the cabbage, then set a colander above a bowl and allow the remaining water to drain into the bowl. Set aside the water that drains off the cabbage.

Prepare the Kimchi Seasoning and Hobak Kimchi
  1. In a small bowl, combine the gochugaru, garlic, and ginger.

  2. In a large bowl, combine the pumpkin, cabbage, kimchi seasoning, and mix very well until the seasoning is evenly distributed. Fold-in the green onion and pumpkin seeds. Do not over mix after adding the onion as it tends to get slimy.

  3. Place the mixture into a sterilized glass jar. Pack the contents down tightly to remove any air pockets as you go.

Prepare 2% Shiitake Mushroom Brine
  1. In a small bowl, soak the dried shiitake mushroom in hot water and for 30 minutes.

  2. After 30 minutes, remove the mushroom and squeeze to release the juice. You can save and use the mushroom in other recipes. Add salt into the mushroom liquid and stir to dissolve.

  3. To the drained cabbage liquid, add 80 ml (1/3 cup) of shiitake mushroom brine. Pour this mixture over the ferment until one-third to half of the contents are covered.

  4. Cover and press down the ferment with the reserved cabbage leaf. Seal the jar tightly.

Ferment the Hobak Kimchi
  1. Ferment at room temperature away from direct heat and light for 2-3 days. Taste the kimchi after 2 days to determine if the flavour and sourness are to your liking. If it is not sour enough, reseal the jar and let it ferment for another day or two, then taste again.

  2. When you are satisfied with your kimchi, store the jar in the refrigerator and let it age slowly. It is best between 1-3 weeks of ageing.