About The Recipe
Native to Korea, Kimchi is a popular fermented cabbage condiment that delivers a powerful flavor punch in every mouthful. The term “kimchi” has been derived from the Korean word shimchae which means “salting of vegetables.” It is a staple food item enjoyed (practically daily) in most Korean households and, owing to its delicious flavor and texture, a growing favorite in many non-Korean households too. It can be savored on it’s own or as a side to oomph up Asian rice, soups or noodle dishes. There are some three hundred varieties of kimchi, but the most common kimchi variation is baechu kimchi or napa cabbage kimchi to you and me.
Kimchi offers an abundance of beneficial microbes that the modern diet fails to provide. The probiotic properties in kimchi help to keep your gastrointestinal tract properly balanced. It is rich in gut-boosting lactobacilli bacteria, a powerful antioxidative and immune stimulant. In fact every ingredient that goes into producing this delicious side plays a role in keeping your body in tip-top shape.
- Cabbage offers detoxification qualities and helps the body in getting rid of the wastes and toxins.
- High in dietary fiber, low in fat.
- A good source of vitamins A, B, and C.
- Provides powerful antioxidants to protect the body from the harmful effects of oxygen free radicals.
- Ingredients such as ginger, garlic, and chili help in fighting infections especially cold and flu symptoms.
According to the Journal of Medical Food, the lactic acid bacteria formed during the fermentation of kimchi may also help your body break down pesticides. All it takes is a tablespoon or two a day to start reaping the benefits. Enjoy it with your breakfast eggs or use it to liven up poached fish or steamed veggies.
Let’s Get started
If you’ve ever tasted Kimchi you know what all the hullabaloo is about! This simply seasoned and nutritious side dish also happens to be simply delish. Kimchi can also be made with radishes, mustard greens, scallions, or cucumbers. Traditionally, the choice of vegetables and seasonings used for kimchi depended on regional tastes and seasonal availability. For instance, kimchi from the north of Korea is mild and vegetarian friendly avoiding any inclusion of seafood. The southern variations tend to be pungent and saltier, incorporating fermented anchovies or shrimps.
What You Need
- 1 Medium head (2 pounds) napa cabbage
- 1/4 Cup unrefined sea salt
- Distilled, or filtered water
- 1 Tbsp grated garlic, approx. 5 to 6 cloves
- 1 Tsp grated ginger
- 1 Tsp sugar
- 3 Tbsp seafood flavor or water (optional)
- 1 to 5 Tbsp gochugaru, Korean red pepper flakes
- 8 Ounces Korean radish or daikon, peeled and cut into matchsticks
- 4 scallions, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
- Easy Fermenter Lids (not required)
- Fermenting Weights (not required)
- Cut the cabbage lengthwise into quarters and remove the cores. Cut each quarter crosswise into 2-inch-wide strips.
- Place the cabbage and salt in a large bowl. Mix thoroughly together then add water to cover the cabbage. Put a plate on top and weigh it down with something heavy, so keep the cabbage submerged under the water. Let stand for 1 to 2 hours.
- Rinse the cabbage under cold water and drain.
- Next, combine grated garlic, ginger, sugar, gochugaru and seafood flavor if using (or 3 tablespoons water) in a small bowl and mix to form a smooth paste.
- In a bowl, wearing gloves use your hands to mix together the cabbage with the radish, scallions, and seasoning paste.
- Spoon mixture into a pre-sterilized, wide mouth mason glass jar. Leave at least 1 inch of headspace.
- Cover the jar with the Easy Fermenter Lid and place the Fermentation Weights in the jar to ensure perfect fermentation results.
- Store in a cool, dark place (room temperature 60-70°F is preferred,) for 1 to 2 weeks.
- Once jar has been opened, move to cold storage. The flavor will continue to develop as the kimchi ages.
Tip** For vegetarian kimchi, use 3/4 teaspoon kelp powder mixed with 3 tablespoons water, or simply 3 tablespoons of water.
Enjoy your kimchi anytime of day and not just with Asian style foods. It’s yummy in burgers, wraps or even with an ordinary grilled cheese sambo. It’s super healthy too, so go ahead and enjoy guilt-free!
Variations To The Ferment
Put your mark on this mouthwatering ferment and personalize it to suit your tastes. Keep it plain and simple with just cabbage, garlic, ginger and a smidgen of pepper flakes or ramp up the seasoning if you like it fiery. There are already 300 variations to the recipe, one more couldn’t hurt :)
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