Believe it or not, this is one of my most popular “pins” on Pinterest! People are curious about fermented foods because it’s not something most people consume on a daily basis. However, regularly consuming fermented foods can help combat bad bacteria which can strengthen your immune system, your digestive health and your metabolism! The bacteria from fermented food has shown to reduce an autoimmune response in your body.
If you want to try fermented food (your body will thank you) and you like an extra kick, then Kimchi should be on your list of foods to try!
Kimchi is a spicy pickled cabbage that’s been around for centuries and has evolved over the years. Kimchi is most commonly made with Chinese cabbage or Nappa cabbage and the Koreans even use radishes in some Kimchi recipes. Today, there are about 200 varieties! Kimchi is typically served as a side-dish and is served for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Koreans even put it on their hamburgers and pizza!
While most of us might not enjoy Kimchi on our pizza, you might enjoy using it like horse radish on hot dogs or along with a more traditional Korean dish like rice and a meat.
The way the Koreans make Kimchi has remained fundamentally the same over the decades. The key is balancing the ratio of vegetables to salt. Too much salt can cause the vegetables to not ferment properly and too little salt can cause the vegetables to break down and rot too much.
The basics of making Kimchi consist of cutting up cabbage, soaking it in a salt-water brine for three to five hours. Next, thoroughly rinsing the cabbage chunks in water and mixing in red pepper paste, garlic, ginger, any seafood base ingredient and fish sauce. Typically you let the Kimchi ferment for a couple days at room temperature. The longer you let it sit, the spicier it gets!
If you’re feeling like taking your taste buds on an adventure, here’s a great Kimchi relish recipe from “Catch My Party”
KIMCHI RELISH RECIPE
- 1 napa cabbage
- 5 green onions (scallions)
- 1/3 cup coarse Korean red pepper powder
- 1/2 cup kosher salt
- 1/4 cup fish sauce
- About 12 cups warm water, plus more as needed
- 3 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
- 4-5 large garlic clove
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
Cut the bottom off the cabbage, then cut it in half lengthwise. Cut into 1/2 inch strips. This is smaller than you’d cut for a traditional kimchi, but I wanted people to be able to easily spoon it onto a hot dog bun.
Put the cabbage in a large bowl, add the salt, and cover with enough water to cover the cabbage. Use saran wrap to cover, and press it down so it is touching the cabbage. This keeps it from floating. Let it sit for 3-4 hours.
Strain and rinse the cabbage. You can squeeze the cabbage with your hands to get some of the excess water out.
Add the cabbage, hot pepper, chopped green onion, diced or pressed garlic, and grated ginger in a bowl and stir with a spoon or spatula until the cabbage is thoroughly coated. Transfer the mix to a glass jar. We used two ball jars (1 pint size). Close and let sit in a cool dark location for at least 24 hours.