Kimchi

Kimchi is spicy, fermented cabbage flavoured with garlic, ginger, and chillies which I learnt to love in Seoul. It is tasty with so many things like Tofu Scramble, Brown Rice, and Buddha Bowls. And it is very healthy because of gut bacteria (probiotics) that boost the immune system, reduce inflammation, and aid digestion. Kimchi is credited with helping most Koreans avoid obesity by its ability to satisfy even while being low in calorie and fat. It also contains Vitamins A, C, and Potassium. It has to be stored in the fridge because it is alive.

fermented-square

Ingredients:

  • 1 (650-850 g) Napa / Chinese Cabbage
  • 1 TBSP salt
  • 1 bunch scallions (green onions), chopped
  • 4-6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 TBSP fresh ginger, minced
  • 1-2 TBSP Gochugaru (Korean chilli flakes)
  • 1-2 large carrots, julienne (optional)
  • 1 TSP white miso paste for fish taste (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Remove the bottom core from the washed and well drained cabbage, quarter and place it (with carrots) in a large bowl.
  2. Add the salt and massage into the leaves until it starts to soften and wilt. It will release water from the cabbage (osmose) and be enough to cover it. Let it soak for 4 h at room temperature.
  3. Wash off all the salt with cold water. Drain, wash, and drain again.
  4. Put the cabbage into a bowl and add the remaining ingredients. Massage while wearing gloves as the chilli can irritate your hands.
  5. Put it into a sterilised jar and cover with a very thin towel and rubber band to allow air to escape. Leave space at the top for more juice to release.
  6. Let it sit in a dark place at room temperature to ferment for at least two days (48-72 hours). The longer it ferments the stronger it becomes in flavour. If you like the taste, seal the jar and transfer in the fridge for at least three days. Kimchi keeps for months if not years if the cabbage is submerged in the brine.

Get creative:

  • This way of fermentation can also be applied to other foods (beets, zucchini, bell pepper).
  • Use other spices (e.g. cumin seeds, curry).
  • Add maple syrup or coconut blossom sugar for a sweet and sour taste.

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