Kimchi is an acquired taste. There isn’t much like it in Western diets and it’s like marmite you either love it or hate it.
Kimchi is a popular Korean side dish and can be served with all manner of different dishes. From rice to noodles or even on its own. It has a strong scent and a spicy sour flavour. For this version I’ve tweaked the recipe to make it Vegan!
I like Kimchi best when I serve it with a large pile of spicy, fried rice. It even makes a great breakfast option when you serve it on toasted sourdough with mashed avocado.
What is kimchi?
Kimchi is a staple of Korean cuisine, it is a side dish made of salted and fermented vegetables, usually cabbage and daikon radish, and can be made with a variety of seasonings.
What is Kimchi made of?
Kimchi is commonly made from cabbage, daikon radish, garlic, red pepper and salt. The cabbage is soaked in salted water for 1-2 hours.
Is Kimchi good or bad for you?
Kimchi is a healthy food in moderation, the high amount of salt means you should watch your quantities. The lactic acid bacteria helps aid digestion and can boost immunity.
What does kimchi taste like?
Kimchi is a sour, spicy, and umami flavoured dish. The flavour is affected by the vegetables used and the length of the fermentation process.
Do you eat kimchi hot or cold?
You can eat kimchi hot or cold. Cold is best as a snack, straight from the jar or added to a salad, I usually heat it up when serving it with hot dishes.
Can you use ordinary cabbage like savoy?
No, ordinary cabbage doesn’t make good kimchi.
Can I use gochujang (red pepper paste) instead of the red pepper powder?
No you need to use the powder as stated for the best results.
Can I use table salt?
No. The additives in table salt can affect fermentation negatively.
How to make Kimchi
FOR THE CABBAGE:
- 2 pounds of chinese cabbage bok choy or napa cabbage, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1/4 cup sea salt or kosher salt
- 1 tbsp grated garlic
- 1 tsp grated peeled fresh ginger
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 3 tablespoons water
- 1 to 5 tablespoons Korean red pepper flakes
- 8 ounces Daikon radish peeled and cut into matchsticks
- 4 medium spring onions or scallions cut into 1-inch pieces
- Cut each cabbage into four and then into strips. Discard the stems.
- Add the cabbage to a wide bowl and sprinkle on the salt. With your hands, spread the salt throughout the sliced cabbage. Stop when the cabbage softens. Cover the cabbage with water. Place a plate on top of the cabbage and then place a couple of tins on top of the plate to weigh it down. Let sit for 1-2 hours.
- Put the cabbage into a colander and run the cabbage under the cold water tap. Repeat twice more. Leave the colander in the sink to fully drain for 15-20 minutes. Now, let's make the sauce.
- In a separate bowl add the garlic, ginger, sugar and water, stir until it resembles a paste. Add the red pepper powder, for milder palettes use just 1 tbsp if you like it spicier, use up to 5.
- Once cabbage has fully drained, add it to the paste. If there's still a little water, squeeze with your hands or pat dry on kitchen towel. Next, add the radish and spring onions.
- Mix the paste into the cabbage mix until the cabbage is coated. This is easiest done with your hands.
- Pack the kimchi into a large jar. Use the end of a rolling pin to press down the kimchi and allow the liquid to rise to the top. You should have space in the jar for the fermentation process to take place.
- Seal the jar.
- For the fermentation process, let the jar stand at room temperature, for 1 to 5 days.
- You'll need to check the kimchi daily to get it to taste how you want it. Open the jar and taste a little! When the kimchi tastes how you want it, move the jar to your refrigerator. Consume when ever you want.