For as long as I can remember, my mom has always had two different refrigerators. One for the “regular” food; the other fridge was specifically for kimchi. 😀 Reason being because 1) kimchi is fermented and has lots of yummies like garlic in it so the smell can cross-contaminate with other food and 2) a kimchi refrigerator has a consistent temperature that is similar to the temperature of a claypot that is under ground (which is the traditional way in which kimchi is fermented).
Kimchi is not only super tasty but there are so many health benefits! Read on to find out what they are and why they’ve been a staple in my diet ever since I was a kid 🙂
To take a step back…
What exactly is kimchi?
There are literally hundreds of different kinds of kimchi but the most popular is made with a Napa cabbage. Kimchi is a salted, seasoned, and fermented cabbage side dish that is always present in all Korean dishes.
What are some of the health benefits of kimchi?
Napa cabbage, that is the main ingredient in kimchi, is high in Vitamin C. About 100 g of fresh napa provides 45% of the daily intake needed! Vitamin C is awesome for your health because it helps protect your body against immune system deficiencies, it can prevent cardiovascular disease and is a source of preventing eye disease as well.
P.S. Instead of having orange juice when you catch a cold – maybe you just need a healthy dose of kimchi 😛
Also because of the fermentation process, kimchi is an excellent source of probiotics. I do take additional probiotic supplements for that extra Lactobacillus good bacteria support, but I love knowing that the food I already eat contains a healthy amount. Other foods that are rich in probiotics are sauerkraut, natto, kefir, kombucha, and yogurt to name a few!
Now to actually make kimchi – I thought this would be such a time consuming process. I always saw my mom making it growing up, so I figured it was an all day activity – but surprisingly it is SUPER simple. I’m so happy that I took the time to sit down with her and make this batch because I know it’s so easy now and I can make it if I ever don’t have any that I take from her kitchen 🙂
- 1 Medium Napa Cabbage
- 4 oz daikon radish (or half of a large radish) - julienne cut
- 2 radishes used for garnish - julienne cut (optional use)
- 3 oz white onion (or ¼ of a large onion) - julienne x2 (half is for blending, half is for mixing)
- 1 tsp ginger - rough chop
- 6 cloves of garlic - rough chop
- 2 Red Jalapeno peppers (optional)
- 2 tsp red dried chilli powder
- ½ tsp sugar or Splenda
- 1 tbsp cooked sweet rice or sweet rice powder
- 1 tbsp water for blending
- ½ cup chives
- 2 tbsp salt
- To make a 24 oz jar of kimchi -
- Soak the cabbage for around two hours hours in 2 tbsp of salt (with one cup of water). Note that the longer you soak the cabbage the more salty your kimchi will turn out, so it's important to not soak it for too long!
- Rinse off the salt water with fresh cold water
- Blend together the following: ½ radish, onion, ginger, garlic, peppers, red chili powder, sugar, sweet rice (Make sure that the sweet rice is cooked)
- Combine this mixture with the the cabbage
- Add in the chopped chives as a garnish
- To ferment, put the kimchi in an airtight container and store at room temperature for 24 hours
- After this time has passed, the kimchi can be stored in the refrigerator
I would LOVE to know if you make this or are considering it! It makes me so happy to see others being more accustomed to the health benefits of Korean food 🙂