Kimchi is a lightly pickled, fermented cabbage condiment from Korea. You can buy it from delis and specialist shops, but it is not difficult to make. Authentic Korean Kimchi takes 4 days to ferment and it can be made up to a week ahead. Gochujang is used in Kimichi it is a Korean fiery chilli paste, which is available online.Fermented foods are rich in enzymes but most prized for their abundance in probiotics – good bacteria.Health benefits of kimchi include improved cardiovascular health and digestive system. The wealth of antioxidants in kimchi exercise healing effects in the medical conditions like cancer, diabetes, obesity, atopic dermatitis and gastric ulcers. The flavonoids and probiotics-rich kimchi helps to combat aging, maintain healthy levels of cholesterol and strengthen the immune system.
While the majority of kimchi is left to ferment for months and possibly years, this recipe is a notable exception as it can be eaten right away. It’s briefly dipped in salt and sometimes drizzled with sesame oil at the end of cooking. People who prefer a milder, fresher kimchi will enjoy this unfermented yet flavoursome dish.
- 1 medium-large wombok (Chinese cabbage), sliced into long strips, (or try pointed or white cabbage)
- 75g of pink radishes or 1 white radish(daikon) sliced
- 2-3 spring onions
- 4 garlic cloves
- ½ cup Korean chilli powder (kochugaru) or 2 red fresh chillies
- thump sized piece of fresh ginger( about 40g)1 large carrot, chopped or grated
- 1 tbsp Korean salted shrimp (saewoo gert)( leave this out if you don’t have this)
- 2 tbsp fish sauce ( make sure it is free from chemical preservatives, which will inhibit a proper ferment. You can also try tamari or just more sea salt
- Sterilise a jar with a lid, either by adding hot water for 10minutes or by popping it through the dish washer.
- Quarter cabbage lengthwise, then cut crosswise into 2-to 3-inch pieces and remove the core( or shred in food processor). Place carrot, cabbage and radish into a large glass or ceramic bowl and pour over enough brine to cover. I find 750ml water mixed with 3tbsp sea salt does the trick. Cover the top of the vegetables with a smaller plate and weigh it down with a heavy bowl on top. Leave to stand for 5 hours or overnight and then drain the veg, reserving the brine water.
- Use the small bowl of the food processor to pulse a coarse, rather than smooth paste from the rest of the ingredients. Mix this paste in with the drained vegetables, using 2 spoons to thoroughly coat them( wear gloves to avoid the chilli burn)
- Enjoy some kimchi straight away if you like, otherwise pack all the kimchi tightly into the sterilised jar pressing down on it until the brine rises to cover the vegetables. Take the reserved outer cabbage leaves roll them up and use to wedge the kimchi down beneath the brine leaving at least 2-3cm of headspace. Seal the sterilised jar or cover tightly with some muslin cloth using an elastic band.
- Leave the jar to stand at room temp for 1-5 days to ferment. You may see bubbles inside the jar and brine may seep out of the lid- place the bowl or plate under the jar to help catch the overflow
- Check the kimchi after the first day or two( in cold weather it will take longer) and watch it like a hawk in hot weather and taste it. If you like the flavour you can start eating it straight way- Transfer to the fridge to slow the fermentation. Once you have fermented it to your liking it can store in the fridge for up to a month