Kimchi is a fermented Korean side dish that is not only tasty, but healthy.
Kimchi is a quintessential Korean side dish. A staple at any Korean restaurant or home. I personally love this pungent and spicy fermented cabbage dish. My first time trying Kimchi was confusing. What was this spicy, funky, almost fizzy thing? Let's just say, I was not a fan. But over the years, I have developed an appreciation for it. In fact, I can easily stand in front of the fridge and go to town on a jar. It's addictive!
Although you can easily buy Kimchi (in all Korean grocery stores or most Asian stores), I like to make it at home. Bonus points if you make it using homegrown produce! I'm planning to grow more cabbage this coming season just so that I can make Kimchi with my homegrown organic produce. Check out my growing guides for information on growing different types of vegetables.
I use a combination of Napa cabbage, daikon radish, carrots and green onions to make my recipe. However, this recipe is easily adaptable and you can use less/more radish, carrots or green onions to taste. You can also make it more pungent by using more garlic, or spicier by adding more chili powder. Traditional recipes will include rice flour porridge, but I don't think this is an accessible ingredient for most people. I omit this in my recipe. So while my recipe may not be traditional, it is an easy alternative.
Kimchi is also quite healthy and full of good bacteria. This is due to the fermentation process. I make it in the summer months when I have cabbage, carrots and radish available in the garden. I also make it in the winter and purchase organic produce from the store when I can. I highly recommend you think about fermented foods, as they are healthy and tasty.
Check out my video below on how to make Kimchi at home.
Easy and Healthy Kimchi
- Fermentation lid (optional)
- 1 large Head Napa Cabbage ~2-3 lbs
- 1 Medium Carrot
- 1 Medium Daikon Radish
- 1 Bunch Green onion 5 stalks
- 3 Garlic cloves
- 1 tablespoon Ginger 1 inch piece
- ¼ cup Korean hot pepper powder
- 2 Tbsb Fish Sauce
- ⅓ cup Kosher or pickling salt For brining cabbage
- Cut cabbage into large chunks, place in large bowl and cover with ⅓ cup kosher or pickling salt.
- Massage cabbage to disperse salt evenly and let sit for 1 hour
Prepare other vegetables
- Julienne (matchsticks) carrots and daikon radish. Chop green onion in 1 inch long pieces.
Prepare chili paste
- Blend garlic, ginger, hot pepper powder and fish sauce. Add ¼ cup water to help the mixture blend evenly
- When the cabbage is ready (soft and pliable), rinse it in a colander under cold water to remove excess salt. Squeeze out excess water and transfer to large bowl.
- Add hot pepper paste to cabbage, mix and coat all cabbage pieces with the paste mixture.
- Add vegetables and mix thoroughly.
- Transfer Kimchi to mason jars, making sure to tamp down and release any trapped air bubbles
- Apply fermentation lid to mason jar
- Ferment for 2 days at room temperature, then refrigerate.
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