Fermented food is all the rage these days. Fermented tea (kombucha), fermented pseudo non-dairy yogurt, Kefir, sauerkraut, cucumbers, and….kimchi.
For those who never watched M*A*S*H*, Kimchi is a (smelly) fermented pickled cabbage from Korea. And it has been known to be helpful for many things, except for fungal infection in your toes. Just kidding. But seriously, it’s been found to be great for practically any health related ailments.
What about Kimchi, besides the smell?
I wrote in my original post, “Kimchi is packed with vitamins A, B, and C and immune system-boosting phytochemicals. Its main ingredient, fermented cabbage, contains lactic acid, which helps with digestion and may weaken infections. But the biggest benefit may be from presence of lactobacilli in kimchi – healthy bacteria that helps with digestion, stops and even prevents yeast infections. Several years ago, Korean researchers found chickens infected with the avian flu recovered more quickly after being fed an extract of kimchi.”
In addition, Kimchi is low in calories, rich in dietary fiber, low in fat, and low in carb. Some believe that kimchi has kept obesity at bay in Korea (although, since American fast food joints have been popping up everywhere in Korea, there have been increased cases of obesity. Damn those Big Mac’s and KFC’s!). And what’s even better, when kimchi gets ‘old’ or over-ripen, it is used in everything from soups to pancakes. Every piece of kimchi is used up – nothing is wasted. My idea of a perfect gastronomic experience.
Read more about why kimchi is good for you on ecokaren.
But if you want just the recipe, here is my ‘secret’ recipe I’ll share with you. Hope you will be adventurous enough to take the challenge of making this good-for-you food that might smell funky but oh-so-good-for-you.
How to make Kimchi
2 Napa Cabbage
2 Ancient Sweet Red Peppers
6 medium sized cloves of garlic
1/2 large yellow onion
1 tablespoon grated ginger
2-3 tablespoon cold water
1 C chopped scallions (green onions)
1/2 C to 2/3 C – more or less – coarse salt – sea salt or kosher salt
Also need: a large glass jar to store kimchi, glass bowl to mix (or a large non-reactive bowl), blender or a food processor
1. Separate Napa Cabbage leaves and wash thoroughly to rid of all the dirt hidden within the leaves. Drain well, chop them in one inch widths and put them in a large glass, flat bottom, bowl or a pot. Sprinkle salt evenly…about 1 tsp of salt to a hand full of cabbage. Cover and store the cabbage in a cool place (not refrigerator) over night – or for at least 5 hours.
2. As pictured above, there will be a little bit of liquid formed in the bottom of the bowl when cabbage gets marinated in salt. Mix the cabbage mixture and taste. If it’s salty enough, then, you are ready to proceed but if it’s not, then, add more salt, one teaspoon at a time. If you add more salt, wait another a couple of hours, and then, taste again.
3. If you are happy how salty it is, then, you are ready to add the rest of the ingredients. Scallions are not pictured here but you will added them later when you are mixing.
4. Add garlic, onion, peppers, ginger and water to a food processor or a blender (don’t use the one you use to make margaritas, otherwise, your guests won’t like the garlic tasting margaritas after making kimchi in it) and puree. It’s OK to see little specks of pepper but you shouldn’t have chunks.
7. Take a large spoon and push down the cabbage until all are submerged in the liquid.
8. Store in room temperature ( 75 〫F) for a couple of days. And then, store it in the refrigerator for future consumption.
Some of the ‘secret’ ingredients used in kimchi include: fish sauce, shrimp extract, oysters, pine nuts, radish, cucumber, Asian pear, pepper threads, daikon, sugar and even MSG! But I simplified and included only the essential ingredients for this recipe. And it’s vegan and just as good as any of those “secret” handed- down-from-generation-to-generation-from-the-Han-dynasty kimchi recipe.