If you are looking for a versatile new recipe that is healthy for you, kimchi just might be the answer. This traditional Korean dish is made up of fermented vegetables (namely cabbage) and spices. The fermentation process gives it a distinct spicy yet sour taste that many people absolutely love.
Kimchi is created through a process called lacto-fermentation. This means that good bacteria convert the sugars in the ingredients into lactic acid. This process not only serves to preserve the veggies, but it also improves the flavor and provides you with healthy probiotics. This process also suppresses harmful bacteria while stimulating the growth of beneficial bacteria.
How does kimchi benefit your health? It can help to prevent constipation, cleanse the intestines, boost the immune system, and prevent obesity. It comes with a whole lot of benefits and a whole lot of flavor!
Not everybody loves kimchi the first time they try it. Unfortunately, this often leads people to avoid trying it again despite all of the different ways it can be prepared and used. By mixing in different vegetables and spices, you can give your kimchi an entirely different flavor. Simply try the recipe below and, if you need to make a change, do so according to your preference!
Basic Homemade Kimchi Recipe
- 1 medium head Napa cabbage
- ¼ cup sea salt
- ½ cup water
- 1 tablespoon grated garlic (about 5 cloves)
- 1 teaspoon grated ginger
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 to 3 teaspoons seafood flavor, such as fish sauce
- 1 to 5 tablespoons Korean red pepper flakes, to taste
- 8 ounces Korean radish or daikon, peeled and cut into thin strips
- 4 scallions, trimmed and cut finely
- Slice the cabbage lengthwise into four equal pieces.
- Remove the cores then cut each quarter into fine strips 1 to 2 inches wide.
- Place the cabbage into a bowl and massage the salt into the cabbage until it begins to soften.
- Add the water and cover the bowl, letting it sit for 2 hours.
- Rinse the cabbage several times before placing in a colander and allow it to drain for 15 minutes.
- As your cabbage dries, combine the garlic, ginger, seafood flavor, and sugar in a small bowl and mix until it forms a paste. Once the paste is made, mix in your Korean red pepper flakes.
- After draining the cabbage, squeeze it with your hands to ensure that all water is removed then place it in a bowl.
- Add your radishes, scallions, and the spice paste then mix thoroughly by hand until all of the vegetables are fully coated.
- Place the kimchi in a jar, pressing it down so that it is packed tightly. Make sure to leave space at the top, at least 1 inch, then cover the jar.
- Allow the jar to ferment for up to 5 days. Some expansion may occur, so you may want to leave the jar in a bowl in case there is any overflow.
- Press the kimchi down in the jar daily and check the taste. Once it is to your liking, you can move the jar to the refrigerator. You can now eat the kimchi at any point, though many people prefer the flavor after letting it sit for another week.
This delicious recipe is great plain, eaten with rice, rolls, mixed in with eggs, as a topping on a burger, as a topping in a fish taco, or any number of other ways. Be sure to experiment and find both the recipe and application that suits you best.