Wednesday, July 17, 2013

How to Make We Qi Fermented Pickles

A fun thing to do in the summer is to make your own fermented pickles.  These are the directions we attach whenever we give away a jar.

To give credit where credit is due, We Qi is very much like the Korean national pickle known as kimchi.  But We Qi (pronounced “Wee Chee”) is a process, not a product!  Most importantly, you shouldn’t make it all by yourself.  Make it with your partner, with family, with friends, and your Qi (“breath” or “energy”) will alchemically merge with the Qi of the ingredients, and create a remarkable living food: We Qi. 

Make some, eat some, give some away!  Join the We Qi Revolution!


            2 medium to large heads nappa cabbage
            2 daikon, peeled and cubed
            ½ cup sea salt
            5 - 10 cloves garlic
            10 green onions
            powdered red pepper or chopped fresh red peppers (adjust to your desired level of heat)
            juice from previous batch of We Qi (optional)
            2 large buckets
            big rock


  1. Set aside several large outer leaves of cabbage
  2. Chop up rest of cabbage, coarsely, and divide into two buckets for easy mixing
  3. Add half the salt to each bucket, mix well by hand
  4. If you have juice from your previous batch of We Qi, add it to the mix to hasten fermentation
  5. Combine into one bucket
  6. Cover with large whole cabbage leaves
  7. Place upside-down plate over the top
  8. Place large clean rock on top of plate
  9. Cover bucket with moist cloth, bungee-cord it closed so critters can’t get in
  10. Set aside in a cool place for three days, mixing occasionally
  11. Add crushed fresh garlic, coarsely chopped green onions, red pepper, daikon cubes
  12. Cover with moist cloth and set aside another three days – let it get good and bubbly
  13. Transfer to clean jars and keep in refrigerator until ready to enjoy
  14. Adjust for over-saltiness (if necessary) by adding more daikon; adjust for under-saltiness by adding salt
  15. Give away some jars along with these directions so that others can experience the Way of We Qi!


Add other vegetables, like carrots, kale, turnips, radish, etc., or other interesting things like kombu seaweed slices or watercress

Add fresh herbs like ashitaba leaves or gotu kola and let them ferment along with the cabbage.

If you are the adventurous type, add anchovy paste, fish stomachs, or other funky matter.

Instead of starting anew each time, just keep adding fresh vegetables, sea salt, garlic to your bucket of We Qi.

Om We Qi Yum!

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