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If you’ve ever wanted to try making kimchi, but didn’t know where to start, we’ve got you covered. In this post, we’ll teach you how to make kimchi with this simple and customizable recipe.
The great thing about this particular kimchi recipe is that you can adapt it to include any vegetables you have on hand during any given season—making it one of the best recipes for preserving foods. Not only is it super simple, but it’s good for you too!
What is Kimchi?
Kimchi is a traditional Korean dish. It uses pickled and fermented vegetables in different combinations, but the most common ingredients are cabbage, carrots, ginger, chili peppers, salt, and fish sauce. Cabbage is the most common vegetable used to make kimchi, although carrots, radish, cucumber and scallions are also frequently used. Hundreds of recipes exist depending on the region or season in which they are produced, and it’s very easy to make it a vegan dish by omitting any fish sauce and keeping all the other ingredients plant-based.
Kimchi, a staple in Korean households, is gaining popularity in the kitchen. It’s easy to see why. With its complex flavor and multiple uses, kimchi appeals to the masses. The dish is made from vegetables, garlic and ginger, and offers a range of flavors—salty, sour, and spicy—allowing it to serve as a condiment, a dip, an ingredient, or as a side dish for any meal.
Is Kimchi Good for You?
When people wonder how to make kimchi, they also wonder if kimchi is good for them. The good news is that it is very good for you!
Kimchi is a fermented food that is full of beta-carotene and other antioxidant compounds that can help reduce the risk of serious health conditions such as stroke, cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. It’s also an excellent source of: Vitamin A. Vitamin C.
But what about your gut health?
Kimchi can help with that too! In fact, it’s one of the best foods you can eat for your gut health. The fermentation process used to make kimchi ensures a high content of beneficial bacteria, which restores the flora in your gut to its healthy balance. The vegetable’s high fiber content also helps ensure a healthy digestive flow, which is crucial for detoxing the body. Numerous studies have shown that fermented foods provide many health benefits such as anti-oxidant, anti-microbial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic and anti-atherosclerotic activity.
What Does Kimchi Taste Like?
Kimchi is a traditional Korean dish made from fermented vegetables. It’s most commonly known for its sour flavor, but it also has notes of spice and umami (a savory taste). Kimchi can be made with a variety of vegetables, as well as seasonings like salt and sugar, depending on personal preference. The longer kimchi ferments, the stronger its flavor becomes.
How to Make Kimchi
Let’s learn how to make kimchi and power up that good gut bacteria! Below is the simple recipe that allows you to adapt it to whatever vegetables you happen to have on hand in any given season. My favorites are cabbage, daikon radish, and shredded carrot, but it’s also fun to experiment with other combinations of vegetables.
- 2 tablespoons sea salt or pickling salt
- 3 cups water
- 2 pounds of sliced vegetables, (excluding potatoes)
- Three or four garlic cloves, peeled and diced
- A 1-inch piece of fresh ginger root, horseradish root or turmeric root, peeled and grated—or a combination—will do the trick.
- 2 or 4 hot chilies or chili powder to taste, depending on how spicy you want the dish to be.
- Mix salt into water until the salt is dissolved to make a brine.
- Put the vegetables in a quart-sized glass jar or ceramic pickle crock with a wide mouth. Pour brine over the ingredients, making sure they are completely submerged. Add water to a baggie, push it into the top of the jar or crock so that everything is covered by liquid, and cover it with a towel. Let it sit overnight.
- In the morning, you can pound roots and chilies into a spice paste using a mortar and pestle, or use a small spice grinder or food processor. Pour off the brine from the vegetables into a bowl. Then, thoroughly blend the spice paste with the vegetables.
- Return the brine to its jar. Make sure the kimchi is completely covered by weighting it down with a Ziploc bag filled with water and covering it with a towel. Let the kimchi sit in a warm place until it has fermented. Each day, check that the kimchi is completely submerged by removing any scum from the top of the container.
- After a few days, taste kimchi. Once it’s sour enough for your liking (it usually takes about a week), move it to the refrigerator to slow its fermentation. For more recipes for preserving food check out our Recipe Index
Adapted from the basic process outlined by Sandor Ellix Katz in his book Wild Fermentation.
Tip: I highly recommend purchasing a fermentation crock with weights like this one here if you plan on making fermented foods in the future.
How Long Will Kimchi Keep?
Like pickles or other fermented foods, Kimchi can be stored in the refrigerator for several months. The flavor and texture will continue to develop after that point and maybecome more pungent, but it is still safe to eat. The veggies may also lose some of their crispness the longer they sit. I hope you enjoyed learning how to make kimchi. Let me know in the comments what combinations of vegetables worked for you!
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