If you have not yet been introduced to kimchi then I promise you, and your gut, are going to love it. Hailing from Korea and similar in style to sauerkraut, kimchi is a spicy, tangy, fermented food that is traditionally served as a side dish.
This recipe uses red cabbage as the base, but white cabbage and other vegetables can be used in it’s place. And the spicy flavour comes from a whole lot of ginger, chilli and garlic.
Fermented foods like kimchi go through a fermentation process in which the natural bacteria feed on the sugar and starch in the vegetables, converting them in to lactic acid. This process in turn preserves the food but also forms multiple strains of probiotics, as well as B-vitamins and omega 3 fatty-acid.
The probiotics, or ‘good’ bacteria, formed in the fermentation process have huge benefits for your digestive health when eaten. The bacteria helps with digestion, metabolism and absorption of essential nutrients. Having a healthy gut also contributes to a strong and resilient immune system, helping to keep away acute and chronic disease.
Making your own kimchi is easy, the fermentation process takes a few days and you can play with the recipe to suit your taste. You’ll need an airtight container, a glass kilner jar is ideal but a large Tupperware tub would work too.
750g (1 medium size) red cabbage, finely sliced
50g table salt
50g fresh ginger, grated
4 large fresh garlic cloves, finely chopped
8 tbsp filtered water
3 tbsp of chilli flakes
1 tbsp soft brown sugar
1 tsp Himalayan crystal salt
A few grinds of black pepper
Optional – 2 tbsp fish sauce, 4 tbsp toasted sesame seeds, 1 tbsp sambal paste.
Add sliced cabbage to a large mixing bowl and sprinkle over table salt, thoroughly massage the salt in to the cabbage. Let this set for 2 hours to allow the salt to draw out the moisture. After 2 hours rinse salt completely away. Rise the mixing bowl ready for re-use.
Add the ginger, garlic, water, chilli flakes, sugar, salt, black pepper and any of the optional ingredients to the mixing bowl and mix very well until it forms a paste. Add in the cabbage and again mix in thoroughly.
Transfer the mixture in to your jar and pack down, all the cabbage should be submerged in liquid, you may need to add a little extra water to ensure it is submerged. Close the lid (this has to be airtight as you want as little air in the jar as possible) and leave to ferment at room temperature for 3-7 days.
Each day open the jar and press the kimchi mixture back in to the liquid. After 3 days the kimchi is ready to taste, it will be strong and spicy. You can leave it for longer if necessary, for best results leave for the full 7 days but continue to check everyday and it’s fine to eat from day 3 or 4 if it’s to your taste.
Once ready store in the fridge, it will continue to develop and can last for months.