Kimchi, also spelled gimchi or kimchee, refers to a traditional Korean fermented dish made of seasoned vegetables.
There are many, many variations, and every time I make kimchi, it’s a bit different. I like it that way.
Here’s how I made it, this week;
- 1 large head of cabbage
- the leaves and stems of 5 beets
- 4 cups water
- 1/4 cup uniodized salt
- 2 onions
- piece of fresh ginger, the size of 3 fingers
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 1/2 cup of chili paste
- 1 tablespoon of dried chili flakes
- 1/4 cup of oyster sauce
- (I would have added 2 carrots, but we had none)
- (radishes are a common ingredient, but I don’t like them)
Half, then quarter the cabbage and remove the core. Roughly chop the cabbage into 1 inch chunks. Cut the beet tops the same size.
Dump the leaves into a large bowl and pour the water and salt over the top. Mix with hands and let sit on the counter for 8 to 12 hours, stirring occasionally.
Drain, reserving a couple of cups of the brine.
Cut the onions into thin slices, grate the ginger, (I didn’t peel it), crush the garlic and add all the other ingredients. Add it to the drained cabbage and stir well. I use my hands, but wear plastic gloves because of the pepper paste.
Pack it all into a glass or ceramic jar, pushing the vegetables down firmly, so everything is submerged by the brine. It should rise as you push, but add some of the reserved brine if needed.
I use a ziplock bag half filled with water to hold the vegies under the brine.
Leave it on the counter and check it daily for anywhere from 4 to 8 days. To check, you’ll remove the bag of water and push the vegies down with clean hands to release any pockets of air or bubbles.
Taste it daily, as you check, it will transform from salty cabbage to the most amazing tangy hot combination of flavours you can’t even begin to imagine.
And did I mention that it’s good for you?
Kimchi (or kimchee) is loaded with vitamins A, B, and C, but its biggest benefit may be in its “healthy bacteria” called lactobacilli, found in fermented foods like kimchi and yogurt. This good bacteria helps with digestion, plus it seems to help stop and even prevent yeast infections, according to a recent study. And more good news: Some studies show fermented cabbage has compounds that may prevent the growth of cancer.
If you’d like to know more, click here for a great article.