NUTRITION: MY HOMEMADE KIMCHI RECIPE.
Bacteria. fermentation. probiotics.
Scary huh? Fear not. It is one of the best things for your body and gut.
Why is it so good?
When we eat fermented foods, we eat the beneficial bacteria – the probiotics – that the food contains. This is important because we need a diverse population of bacteria in our digestive system for optimal health. To name just a few of their functions, probiotics are responsible for promoting regular bowel movements (gross, but SO important for detoxing and creating a healthy environment), improving digestion, enhancing immune function, producing antioxidants, normalizing skin conditions, reducing cholesterol, maintaining bone health, and managing blood sugar levels. The foods we eat play a huge role in the health of our precious populations! By eating fermented foods that contain natural, good bacteria, we boost the number and variety of bacteria living in our guts, almost like taking probiotic supplements, except much less expensive and much more delicious.
The bottom line is fermented foods are amazing for your overall health. The larger the variety of fermented foods you can take in the better, as this helps populate your digestive system with a variety of microorganisms. Some examples for fermented foods that are widely available are plain yogurt, miso, tempeh, pickles, sauerkraut, kefir, kimchi, and kombucha. When purchasing these items make sure that they do not contain sugar, preservatives, food dyes, and most importantly that they have not been pasteurized. Heat destroys all the delicate bacteria, so the foods must be raw to be beneficial. This may mean a good old-fashioned DIY or that you visit a market or health food shop instead of a traditional grocery store, but I have no doubt you will discover a whole world of awesome fermented-ness that you didn’t even know existed! I've become obsessed.
You can ferment most veggies - carrots, beets, cabbage, green beans, onions, etc... but I chose kimchi. Kimchi is Korea’s national dish, and it is really spicy, tangy and totally addictive. Most traditional Kimchi is made with fish sauce and soy sauce but my recipe is completely vegan and gluten free.
No reason to fear bacteria any longer. Below is the recipe + process.
Kimchi Makes a lot! Ingredients: 2 Napa cabbage (2 kg total weight) 1 daikon radish 5 large carrots 1 bunch spring onions (about 7) 2-3 small knobs of fresh ginger 6 cloves garlic 1/3 cup crushed red chili flakes ¼ cup good-quality sea salt
Equipment: 1-4 large glass jars (depending on size) 1 large bowl knife + cutting board food processor or mortar and pestle
Directions: 1. Wash all veggies. Chop cabbage into bite-sized chunks, julienne or grate carrots, and daikon. Slice green onion. Place all vegetables in a very large bowl. 2. In a food processor blend ginger, garlic, and chili until well combined. Add this mixture to the bowl of vegetables along with the salt. 3. Mix and vigorously massage all ingredients together until the cabbage begins to soften and release fluid. Continue until you have a fair amount of liquid in the bottom of the bowl, about 4-5 minutes. The vegetables at this point should have lost much of their volume. Let the bowl sit out at room temperature for a few hours, massaging once or twice more. Season to taste. 4. In a large, sterilized jar (or several small ones), pack in the vegetables trying to avoid any air pockets, making sure to leave a few inches of space at the top of the jar for carbon dioxide. Cover the jar with a loosely with a lid, or make sure to open it periodically to release any pressure that may build up. Leave the jar on the counter for 2-4 days. You may see bubbles forming in the jar – this is carbon dioxide and totally normal. Taste the kimchi now and again. Once the flavour is to your liking, seal the jar and place in the fridge. Keeps for several months.
*Tip: After removing kimchi from the container to eat, push the remaining back down to keep most of the cabbage submerged in the brine (the liquid). This will help keep it fresh for longer.
It might seem like a crazy process, but it is insanely simple and the benefits will be life changing!