Bok Choy Kimchi and Banana

Bok Choy Kimchi
I was quite stunned when I heard one Korean mom mentioned this everyday fruit.

I was at lunch with a bunch of Korean ladies for school related gathering and we were talking about making Kimchi with local vegetables in Malaysia.

I’ve known about making Kimchi with Bok Choy, the famous Chinese vegetable, but adding banana in Kimchi?…  that is simply outrageous.
I’ve been eating bananas all my life but the idea of connecting the banana with kimchi never – ever came across to my mind!
Some people are ingeniously creative when it comes to the food.

Well, if you think about it, banana will work great in Kimchi. It is naturally sweet so you don’t need to add sugar. Plus, it becomes sticky and slimy carb mass when mashed, that takes away extra step of making rice glue separately as a binding and fermenting component. Ha!

I was so thrilled that I had to grab some Bok Choy and a bunch of banana on the way home. And I did made a batch of Bok Choy Kimchi with my lifetime discovery.

The result?
Discovering the idea of adding banana to Kimchi in 2012 is as historic as Columbus’s discovery of the New World in 1492 .
Maybe I am exaggerating…

It is quite awesome.., both in taste and texture-wise. I was pleasantly surprised.


Grab some of these beautiful Bok Choy.
Cut in half or quarter lengthwise depends on their size.
Rinse them gently to remove dirt or anything impure. Only the pure in heart will inherit the kingdom of Kimchi…!
Place 1/3 of Bok Choy brothers in a large shallow bowl and sprinkle 1/3 of Korean coarse sea salt evenly over.

Repeat the layers. Let it sit for 20 minutes to wilt.
The turn around these Bok Choy brothers to the other side so that the top goes to bottom and the bottom goes to top facing them down.
Wait another 20 minutes.
Rinse them very GENTLY.  Drain them well in a colander.
Meanwhile, get these sidekicks ready to enter to a blender. Add the banana on the list.
Put everything except the fresh red chili and the dried chili flakes in a blender. Puree them smooth.

You can add the anchovy sauce and the shrimp sauce together at this step if you wish.
Add the chili pieces and pulse a few times to get chopped.
Mix in the dried Korean chili flakes along with anchovy sauce and shrimp sauce. The glorious filling is ready now.
GENTLY, VERY GENTLY spread the filling to Bok Choy. Add some sliced onions.
If you treat them too rough, they will yield somewhat grassy after taste. I don’t know if that make sense to you…
Add the 1/2 cup of water to the mixing bowl, swirl around and pour over the kimchi.

Enjoy this Bok Choy Kimchi on the same day you made. It taste best when freshly made. Then store the left over in an airtight container, ferment for 1 day in the room temperature, then keep in the refrigerator.

Who would have thought I would use bananas in my Kimchi?

I don’t think I will look at bananas in the same way I did from now on…

Go, bananas!

And you, too, my sweet Bok Choy brothers!

Bok Choy Kimchi

Bok Choy Kimchi


  • 1 1/3 lb (600g) Bok-choy, halved or quartered lengthwise
  • 1/3 cup Korean coarse sea salt
  • 1/2 large onion, sliced
  • 2 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds, optional
  • For the Kimchi filling:
  • 1/2 large onion, diced
  • 5-6 garlic cloves, diced
  • 1/4" slice ginger, diced
  • 1 medium banana
  • 6-7 red finger long fresh chili
  • 3 tablespoon Korean anchovy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Korean shrimp sauce, aka salted shrimp
  • 1/2 cup Korean chili flakes
  • 1/2 large onion, thinly sliced


  1. Rinse the Bok Choy to remove any dirt. Drain well.
  2. In a large shallow bowl spread 1/3 of Bok Choy and sprinkle 1/3 of sea salt evenly over. Repeat the layers and press gently on the top when finished. Cover and let it sit for 20 minutes.
  3. Turn the Bok Choy to the other side, top side goes to bottom and bottom side goes to top, and let it sit for another 20 minutes. Be careful not to toss too harshly. Be gentle with Bok Choy.
  4. Rinse the Bok Choy in the cold water and drain in the colander.
  5. For the Kimchi filling, put onion, garlic, ginger, banana, anchovy sauce, and shrimp sauce in a blender. Process until smooth. Add the fresh red chili and pulse 3 times so the chili slices still remains as chopped pieces. Place the mixture in a mixing bowl and add Korean chili flakes, mix well.
  6. In a large shallow mixing bowl combine Bok Choy and the sliced onion together. Spread the chili filling to each Bok Choy and onion very gently to coat all around.
  7. Sprinkle with sesame seeds on top if you wish.
  8. Serve in a same day you made or store in an airtight container and let it sit in the room temperature overnight, then store in the refrigerator after.
  9. Consume within 2 weeks if possible. This kind of kimchi taste better when freshly made.




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  1. 1


    Holly, this sounds really unbelievable! I will definitely try it next time. Thanks for sharing and good luck with the new blog!
    Best wishes from germany,

    • 4

      Holly says

      You are right. I just get so impressed with people with creative minds in foods. You are one of them!

    • 6

      Holly says

      Give it a try, Swan. It is quite easy to make and it tastes best when freshly made. Very crunch yet soft.

  2. 10


    Love this! How unique, simple and just plain genius! We’re going to feature this on our Facebook page and link here so people can see how you did it, and your lovely photography. If you wish, come LIKE us on Facebook for more recipes and tips on Asian green vegetables like baby bok choy, gai lan (Chinese broccoli), dau miu (pea shoots), yu choy, etc.

    –Your friendly farmers at Jade Asian Greens

  3. 11


    I’ve never heard of Banana Kimchi! And what’s great about this is it’s ready to eat right away – good for impatient sorts like me. Terrific recipe – really eye opening. Thanks.

  4. 12


    hi holly!

    i’ve been a silence reader to your blog for quite a while. i love korean food (thanks to korean drama) and i’ve been following how you make those kimchi. i’m from malaysia and i’m so so happy to have this “malaysian” version of kimchi. i will try it and i’ll let you know how it turns out .. 😀

    have a good day!

  5. 14

    Caroline says

    Wow, how interesting! I never even heard of bok choy kimchi and using a banana?! I can’t wait to try this, it looks delicious! My husband is Korean, I hope he will like it…

    • 15

      Holly says

      Hi Caroline, I hope your husband will like it. Serve with Doenjang Jjigae (soybean paste stew), if he likes Jjigae, that would be quite traditional meal.

  6. 16

    Lucy L says

    When I first read the title of this post, I thought eurgh, no way!
    Now I feel an urge to try this out for myself! Thanks Holly!

    • 17

      Holly says

      Lucy, I hope you to try this Bok Choy kimchi. It tastes quite nice and you don’t taste much of banana flavor at all.

  7. 21

    Julia says

    This is genius! :)
    I will have to try this myself soon. I am wondering though, you said the kimchi tastes best fresh, but have you observed anything unusual after it has fermented in regards to looks/taste/shelf life? I like using the natural sweetness of fresh fruit in my kimchi instead of adding sugar and sticky rice glue/sauce/paste (eek, such an awkward name for it!) is a must for me when I make kimchi, so this would be a perfect alternative.. But, I have noticed that some fruits don’t work as well (persimmons, for example, seem to affect the looks negatively), so I’m just wondering how well banana ferments.

    • 22

      Holly says

      Hi Julia, banana would be great alternative for sugar in kimchi making. However, if you prefer the ideally fermented flavor of kimchi, it is better to use rice glue (or use ordinary rice blended with water). I didn’t taste any strong banana flavor in my freshly made Bok-choy kimchi, which tasted really great for the first a few days, but once strongly fermented (after about a week), I am not sure if Bok-choy is the right choice for the ferment flavor. It is hard to say that is because of banana or bok-choy itself. I am going to try banana with nappa cabbage to see how the fermentation is like. If you ask me, Bok-choy is such a tender cabbage and it is better to finish while they retain their fresh flavor and the texture with a hint of fermentation, but not overly like nappa.

      • 23

        Julia says

        I see, thank you for the quick reply! I don’t usually have bok choy at home, but I will give the banana thing a try with some napa next time. :)

  8. 24


    Hi there…I am an Indian, just happened to be surfing blogs and came across yours. I must tell you, reading about all the delicious kimchi has made my belly i’ll have to run to the kitchen now..although m sure m not going to find kimchi there.. :)

    In between two kinds of kimchi I kept thinking, why not try this at home in India…It sounds interesting but plain challenge due to availability of the ingredients. I am not going to give up on this idea…

    will let you know about the Indianised version of this.. thanks for the beautiful post

    • 25

      Holly says

      Hi Akki

      I would love to hear about you adventure of cooking Korean food, especially with ingredients available in India. Please, Keep me posted.

  9. 26

    Rina says

    I came across your blog just to find about kimchi and i found this awesome recipe!
    For your information, I’m from Malaysia and yes, we do have lots of banana here.
    I normally love eating raw banana and sometime i use it in my cakes and etc.
    Maybe I can try this recipe! Thanks alot for this great great recipe!

  10. 27


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  11. 28


    Why don’t we not fritter away an excessive amount of time with the specifics. It’s obvious
    you’re coming up with a excellent point here.

  12. 31

    loveskimchibutdontknowhowtomakethem says

    Plz don’t tell me you live in Malaysia…
    But if you do plz tell me where you buy your ingredients(Korean salt,Korean chilli flakes ,Korean anchovy sauce and Korean shrimp sauce and of course Korean radish)
    I can’t find them anywhere…

  13. 34

    Ayame says

    This looks delicious~ I can’t wait to make it.
    I was wondering is there a substitute for the salted shrimp if I cannot find any in my area? Such as fish sauce?

  14. 36


    Hi Holly, please recommend – I have anchovy in a can (how much do I use) and I have shrimp paste on which it written that it needs to be cooked can not be consumed raw? Any suggestions how to do it & how much please & I will be on my way making it

    • 37


      Hi Helen

      I am not sure what anchovy in a can like. Is it covered in oil? Is so, it is not suitable to make kimchi with. Anchovy sauce in kimchi is from fermented anchovies. Is your shrimp paste is like a block of hard past or actual baby shrimps (either whole or chopped) in salted brine? If it is raw, in most cases you need to cook to consume. But for kimchi making, you can add as raw since it goes to ferment.
      Fro this recipe, you will need only 1 tablespoon if you use with anchovy sauce. However, if your anchovy sauce is not applicable, you cam make-up with shrimp sauce. Just add the same amount that the recipe is asking for the anchovy sauce.

      Please feel free to ask if you need more help.


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