Quick Green Apple “Kimchi” – Recipe

Green Apple Kimchi
Green Apple Kimchi, shown here with Tofu Lettuce Wrap and Hatcho Miso Sauce

As I mentioned in the Tomato and Nectarine Salad, I’ve fallen in love with gochugaru (Korean chili powder). It is spicy, but not so spicy that you can’t use enough of it to also appreciate its fruity, tart notes. I like using it to make quick “kimchi”. I’m putting the “kimchi” in quotes because there is no fermentation at all. I’m not putting it in quotes because this is apple, not cabbage – Koreans make kimchi from all sorts of things besides those familiar leaves.

You can take this same blueprint and make a quick, spicy pickle out of just about anything – cucumbers, peaches, daikon. Use your imagination! You can even add a little bit of juice from fermented kimchi to get some of that lactic acid punch in there. Otherwise, I include a bit of rice vinegar.  These kinds of pickles make a great banchan for any Korean meal, or just eat it on rice (maybe with a fried egg), or on a sandwich, or … the possibilities are endless, because almost any dish is better with a bit of heat, fresh crunch, acid and salt.

In the photo, I’ve used the green apple kimchi on a lettuce wrap with pan-fried tofu and a sauce made from hatcho miso, soy sauce, rice vinegar, mirin, kochujang, sesame oil and ginger. Sorry, I didn’t write down any proportions for that – it was a quick improvisation because when I went to grab my ssamjang out of the refrigerator it was way past expiration date.

Quick Green Apple “Kimchi”
Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten Free and Kosher
Yields about 3 cups 

  • 2 green apples (any crisp variety)
  • 1/4 white onion, thinly sliced
  • 1″ piece of fresh ginger, grated
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 – 2 tablespoons gochugaru (Korean chili powder)
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  1. Cut the apples into 1/8″ thick slices, avoiding the core. You can leave the skin on. Cut the slices into 1/2″ wide strips. The easiest way to do this is on a mandoline – you can do the whole thing in one move with the wide julienne cutter. 
  2. Put all ingredients in a bowl and use your hands to toss it thoroughly, working the gochugaru into the apple. Taste and adjust seasoning to your preference.
  3. Reserve in refrigerator until ready to use. Use within a couple of hours or it can become too soggy.


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Posted by Michael Natkin on Wednesday, September 12th, 2012 in Gluten-Free or modifiable, Recipes, Vegan or Modifiable.

13 Responses to “Quick Green Apple “Kimchi” – Recipe”

  1. Reply
    September 12, 2012 at 6:40 am #

    Very interesting and very easy recipe. I have most of these ingredients in my pantry. Must bookmark this & try soon, especially now that apples are in season. Thanks for sharing, Michael!

  2. Reply
    September 12, 2012 at 9:33 am #

    I love all sorts of banchan and have made these little dishes with lots of different vegetables, but I’ve yet to try green apples – love that idea!

  3. Reply
    September 12, 2012 at 9:59 am #

    Michael, apple kimchi is marvelous! I love any kimchi, and I don’t think I tried any that I didn’t, including apple one. At some point I was working for a private company in Lynnwood with five Korean ladies in the office. I wish I asked them more questions, but I was busy trying all different food they shared for lunch.
    Michael, I have non-post related question, I hope you don’t mind. I am looking into tofu, and there is such a huge controversy around the soy products, and it’s effect on our bodies. What do you think of that? I am 95% vegetarian (I eat fish occasionally), but I still don’t use any soy products, including tofu. Although I do love tofu, even raw. Thanks for your feedback, Michael! 🙂

    • Reply
      September 12, 2012 at 2:00 pm #

      Hey Marina – well, I’m definitely no expert on health stuff. I figure tofu has been a major food in Asia for a thousand years, so it is probably fine, at least as part of a balanced diet containing a wide variety of real food. I’m more skeptical of highly processed soy protein isolate stuff; I try to keep my intake of those kinds of things pretty low.

      • Reply
        September 12, 2012 at 3:31 pm #

        Thanks Michael, I had a same thought about tofu as long as it’s made the old fashioned way.

  4. Reply
    September 13, 2012 at 6:42 am #

    This looks nice and simple. Although I am gonna replace the Korean Chilli powder with the Indian version. Hope it works as fine as this one.

    • Reply
      September 13, 2012 at 10:10 am #

      That will be different, but I’m sure it will be delicious!

  5. Reply
    October 25, 2012 at 3:42 am #

    Dont think I’ve ever had gochugaru, so that will be nice to try something new. Especially looking forward to tasting those spicy pickles!

  6. Reply
    January 28, 2013 at 5:14 pm #

    My family makes kimchi and I have pickled many items by putting vinegar in it, especially beets and cucumber slices.

    But I have not tried to do anything with apples. I will go light on the chili powder and try this out.
    Sounds interesting and as someone else said, simple.

  7. Reply
    March 1, 2013 at 12:35 am #

    Seems to be easy to prepare and it looks very tasty, thanks for the recipe.

  8. Reply
    November 21, 2013 at 2:01 am #

    I think in Korea it isn’t considered a kimchi unless fermented( i could be wrong), but usually we call it a muchim. The apple “kimchi” looks very good, in korea they do something similar with asian pears, and it is delicious. never thought to do it with apples, but I will now, thank you. The sweet salty and spicy combo is one of my favourite combinations. Thank you for posting, and I love your website.

    • Reply
      November 21, 2013 at 6:40 am #

      Cool, I hadn’t heard the word muchim before. Good to know!

  9. Reply
    March 30, 2015 at 11:56 pm #

    I taught at an elementary school in Korea that served this version of kimchi from time to time. I’ve been on the search for a recipe and came across your site. I’m really excited to try this out!

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