Experiences - Asia

Kimchi – The Quintessential Korean Ingredient

Korea is most commonly associated with Kimchi! The quintessential dish that is ever more a part of the Korean cuisine.

In Korea, people say ‘Kimchi’ while they are posing for pictures, such is the obsession with this dish.

Not to rule out the generous health benefits of Kimchi  that it has to offer.

Kimchi is a Korean staple served with nearly every meal in Korean cuisine. The spicy side dish has become synonymous with Korean people and is growing in popularity around the world.

Legend has it that Kimchi has prevented cancer and is essential in everyday life. There are so many variations to recipes that use Kimchi that you’ll never run out of choices. From Kimchi dumplings to Kimchi pancakes, Kimchi Noodles, the list is endless.

facts about Korean kimchi

Here are 6 interesting facts about Korean Kimchi:

  1. Kimchi contains probiotics, the friendly gut bacteria-lactobacilli which helps keep the digestive system functioning and clean.
  2. The red hot pepper powder found in Kimchi has vitamin A and C which is known to prevent the growth of cancer cells.
  3. The process of fermentation in Kimchi creates antioxidants, which are known to slow the aging process of cells.
  4. There are over 187 different types of kimchi! Made with a variety of cabbages, radishes, and other vegetables, the number of kimchi dishes is truly uncountable!
  5. Kimchi lasts a very long time. Prepared and stored well, it has the potential to last up to three years.
  6. Koreans are so serious about their kimchi that they have invented special refrigerators that come with custom storage containers, that maintain the perfect temperature, and prolong its longevity!

how to make kimchi

Image Courtesy: Craig Nagy used under the Creative Commons Licence

Here how you make Kimchi in 5 simple steps:

What you need

1/2 large head Napa cabbage (available in most Asian grocery and Korean grocery stores)

1 tablespoon salt

1/4 cup rice vinegar

1-1/2 (or more to taste) tablespoons gochujang

1-2 pods of garlic,

1 tablespoon ground dried red bird’s eye chilli peppers

1/2 tablespoon ginger,

3 green onions, sliced

How to make it

  1. Wash and chop the napa cabbage and discard the outer layer of the cabbage. Sprinkle it with salt and keep it in a colander covered for about 24 hours.
  2. Mix the gochujang paste, garlic, chilli, ginger and vinegar in a large glass bowl.
  3. Remove the cabbage from the colander and squeeze out all the excess water.
  4. Place the kimchi into sterilised jars and close them up. Pack it tightly until you see juices cover the kimchi as it will ferment and expand.

Let it sit on the counter for a couple of days. Then store it in the refrigerator for at least 4 days before serving. Every 4 or 5 days, open the lid and stir it around for enhanced taste and better fermentation.

There you have your tasty and healthy Kimchi ready! This is how to make kimchi in the most authentic of ways.

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