Kimchi: The Perfect Blend of Cabbage and Sauces

kimchi recipe
Image credits: Portuguese Gravity via Unsplash

It’s time to introduce you to a Korean super food none other than Kimchi. Phenomenally rolled with cabbage and other excellent vegetables, Kimchi is definitely worth your try. The ripe flavor of fermented Napa cabbage blended perfectly with fish sauce and more makes it one of the top dishes in the world.

Origin

Coming straight from the three kingdoms’ era (started in 1st century BC and ended in the 7th century AD); Kimchi is something upon which Koreans live. Back in the time, Korean families believed in long-time food preservation methods for monitoring the regular food supply. That’s the reason why when Koreans encountered the first cabbage, people out there opted for fermentation. Soon after, America exported its first stock of pepper, which gave an incredible touch to the birth of Kimchi. Basically, it’s a magnificent food creation of cabbage, garlic, ginger, hot red chili, vegetables, while flavored fish sauce, and often seafood.

No one could deny the fact that Koreans can’t imagine their food style without Kimchi. It does not matter if it’s plated with fried rice or without any supporting dish as Kimchi has a different fan base, not just in Korea but in the whole world. There’s also a unique fact about Kimchi- Korean employees receive a Kimchi Bonus in the autumn season, which acts as financial support to arrange their Kimchi stock for winters. More than that, even in the present fast-paced world, most Korean families prefer to prepare their own raw Kimchi in the traditional style.

All in all, Kimchi is the soul food for Koreans. The best part about this popular dish is that it signifies the roots of Korean culture. Today, when the whole planet is turning experimental about the multiple food cuisines, Koreans are still extremely particular and proud to have Kimchi as their staple food.

How to make Kimchi?

Now, here comes the most exciting part. Well, the fun fact about the Kimchi recipe is that there is no one-stop way to make it. However, it’s one of the most experimental dishes that you can ever come across. Still, it’s an easy-to-make recipe even for beginners. So, if you are the one who is going to give the first-ever try on the Kimchi recipe, then first learn that it’s something open for both non-vegetarian and vegetarian options.

So foremost, decide what kind of Kimchi you would love to give a try on. In the below section, you will find both vegan and non-vegan Kimchi recipes.

How to make non-vegetarian Kimchi?

Here is your authentic Kimchi recipe that is truly easy to start with. Yes, it’s authentic for a reason since the basic notes of Kimchi involve fish sauce and more. So, to begin with, take one large-sized Napa cabbage, cut it into cube-sized pieces. Now, sprinkle the salt thoroughly by using a large bowl and try to mix it properly with your hands. Later rinse the cabbage and leave it for 15 to 20 minutes for the draining process. Here comes the turn of making the spice paste. Add the garlic, sugar ginger, along with the fish sauce, shrimp paste, or water, and keep stringing to convert it into a smooth paste. Put a pinch of gochugaru (Korean chilli powder), using one tablespoon for mild taste and max 5 tablespoons for spicy. Now, before you proceed to combine the vegetable with the paste, make sure that the cabbage is completely dry and cover it by adding radish plus scallions.

Now, cover Kimchi in a jar and leave at least 1 inch of space at the top. Up next, place it for fermentation at a cool room temperature for 1 to 6 days. Lastly, do not forget to check it daily, it will bubble out once it’s ready. As soon as it becomes all set, you can either eat it instantly or after 1 to 2 weeks because the real ripe taste of Kimchi generates after refrigeration only.

How to make vegan Kimchi?

You need not repeat any separate process for preparing vegan Kimchi but the only thing you need to remember is soy sauce. Yes, in the place of fish sauce you can use soy sauce for following an easy Kimchi recipe.

Not just that but to expand the area of experiments you can go through variations of Kimchi like the traditional Kimchi recipe and simple Kimchi recipe.

Ingredients used in this Kimchi recipe

Still, confused about how to make Kimchi? Well, this ingredient list will serve as a major help.

  • Napa Cabbage (Baechu)
  • 1/4 cup of iodine-free sea salt or kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon garlic (5 to 6 cloves)
  • 1 teaspoon grated pieces of ginger
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of salted shrimp paste or fish sauce
  • 9 ounces of Korean radish
  • 5 scallions, medium (trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces)
  • Distilled or filtered water
  • Korean red pepper flakes (gochugaru)

Steps to follow for Kimchi recipe

Make sure to follow all these steps for making a palatable Kimchi.

  • Chop the Napa cabbage into cubes.
  • Put the chopped Napa cabbage in a bowl and sprinkle with 1/3 cup of sea salt.
  • Soak cabbage in the filtered water for the next 8 hours.
  • Make sure to cover the Napa cabbage with a lead to keep it submerged in the water.
  • Now, proceed to drain it perfectly.

Making the paste

  • Prepare a fine paste with garlic, Gochujang (Korean chili flakes), fish sauce (miso), ginger, shallot, and sugar.
  • The fish sauce contributes to the deep flavor of the dish, but if you want to keep it vegan, you can replace the fish sauce with soy sauce or kelp powder.
  • Peel and cut the radish into straight pieces and don’t miss cutting the scallions.
  • Mix the drained cabbage with the ready paste properly. You can feel free to use your hands in this process while wearing the gloves; else it won’t blend properly.
  • Now add chili flakes as per your taste.
  • Take a deep jar and put everything into it while leaving at least 1 inch of the gap in the upper part for the flavorful liquid that will be released in the coming days.
  • Do not forget to cover it with a cabbage leaf since it will keep the ingredients submerged.
  • Now, you can keep it for fermentation for the next 5 to 6 days but remember to check it on a regular basis for ending up with the best flavor of the Kimchi recipe.
  • Try to refrigerate it for 1 to 2 weeks after the fermentation process gets finished.

Nutritional proportion

One cup of Kimchi offers-

Calories- 23

Protein- 1 gram

Fat- 1 gram

Carbs- 4 grams

Tips

  • Pick medium head Napa cabbage for maintaining the feel of the Kimchi recipe.
  • Authentic Kimchi recipe involves Gochujang and Miso.
  • You can turn it into a completely vegan option too. In the end, it’s up to you.
  • Stay particular while cutting the cabbage.
  • While you put the cabbage into the salt, cover it properly.
  • The secret of the best Kimchi recipe lies in how well it was drained.
  • Take a jar with the broader lid.
  • Leave a gap of 1 to 2 inches to allow the Kimchi to bubble up properly.
  • Do not skip the part of placing a cabbage leaf at the top of ingredients while putting Kimchi for the fermentation.
  • You can eat Kimchi after 5 to 6 days of fermentation but it tastes best after being refrigerated for at least a couple of weeks.
  • You can refrigerate Kimchi for around 5 to 6 months but keep it in clean containers.

Note

This recipe will help you make the ultimate Kimchi right at your home. Make sure to follow each step and use ingredients in the right proportions. Also, do not forget to make this Kimchi recipe by following the helpful tips mentioned above.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long should Kimchi ferment?

The fermentation of Kimchi is a slow process, it takes around 5 to 6 days for the best fermentation.

Should Kimchi be salty?

Yes, Kimchi needs to be really salty.

What are the health benefits of Kimchi?

Kimchi is the best source of all required nutrients and good bacteria so it offers plenty of health benefits.

Can I open Kimchi while it’s fermenting?

Yes, you can open it to make a check on the procedure.

How much Kimchi should you eat daily?

It depends on your diet but you can consume around 100 grams of Kimchi per day for tracking the health benefits.