Kimchi is a traditional Korean ferment. There are hundreds of variations using cabbage, radish, scallion or cucumber as the main ingredient. The paste can contain a variety of ingredients. There may be more than 187 different varieties, all from different regions of Korea. Traditional ingredients will may use garlic, ginger, red pepper, some also add sugar, vinegar, fish sauce or paste to add to their recipe. Families will pass on their different seasonal varieties and they are traditionally buried in the ground to ferment.
Traditionally made by brining the vegetables and then mixing in a paste before packing it into a fermentation vessel to become full of probiotic bacteria and flavour.
Fermented cabbage has a long history of providing benefits for many different health conditions (see my sauerkraut here and a flavoured version here). The fermentation process produces the living probiotic microorganisms that are beneficial to the digestive and immune system, plus making nutrients in the foods being fermented come to life and are more accessible.
The fermentation process increases the bioavailability of nutrients rendering Kimchi even more nutritious than the original starting points.
Salt is one of the most amazing natural products. Hugely beneficial to the body when consumed in the right way. I am often asked which salt to use- these are my salts of choice:
Sea salt – originates from drying the sea water in the sun, salt lakes or other methods. This is what I prefer and generally prefer those from Wales, France or Scotland. Sea salt nutrients can vary and may contain up to 80 or more minerals than table salt (which is refined down to one or two) it will hugely depend on where the sea salt was obtained. In addition to sodium and chlorine, you are likely to find potassium, phosphorus, calcium, sulfur. Trace minerals in sea salt can include iron, iodine, manganese, zinc, bromine, boron, copper.
Pink Himalayan salt – this salt is traditionally harvested in the Pakistan side of the Himalayan mountain range and the pink colour may be due to the salt containing iron oxide. Harvested from caves of ocean salt settled into geological pockets. It is an unrefined, unprocessed raw mineral, mainly mined by hand. The salt can be up to 250 million years old, which is pretty cool! Its nutrient content is similar to sea salt (since they both originated from the sea).
I use these two salts in fermenting, in cooking, in the bath, as a scrub, as salt lamps and also on the carpets to help deep clean them.
Here is my video on how to make the paste to add to your vegetables:
When it comes to flavoring your Kimchi the only limitations are what you have available!
You can add anything. Play with other root vegetables, using vinegar, fish sauce and other spices in your paste (like turmeric, cumin or coriander).
Kimchi is added to most foods, soups, noodles, stews, pancakes and so on. It is really nice mixed in to sauces like BBQ, mayo and ketchup. Kimchi is also delicious with cheese and also eggs…