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All About Kimchi!

  • Kimchi is a red, fermented cabbage dish made with a mix of salt, vinegar, garlic, chili peppers and other spices.
  • Kimchi is a good source of probiotics due to the process of fermentation involved in its preparation. The process of fermentation not only enhances the taste but also creates healthy bacteria, Lactobacillus, which is required by the body to keep a healthy state of intestinal flora.
  • A 100-gram serving of kimchi has 18 percent of the daily value of vitamin A, based on a 2,000-calorie-per-day diet.
  • A 100-gram serving of kimchi has 18 percent of the daily value of vitamin C. Like vitamin A, vitamin C is also a natural antioxidant, protecting your body’s cells from damage from free radicals.
  • Fiber content present in kimchi assists in preventing constipation.
  • With only 34 calories and no total fat per 100 grams serving, kimchi is a low-calorie, low-fat food.

Vegan Kimchi Recipe (adapted from minimalistbaker.com)

Ingredients

CABBAGE

  • 1 head napa or savoy cabbage (outermost leaves removed // well rinsed)
  • Sea salt

VEGAN FISH SAUCE (adapted from Vegan Miam)

  • 2 Tbsp tamari (or soy sauce if not gluten-free)
  • 2 Tbsp coconut sugar (plus more to taste)
  • 1/4 cup pineapple juice (from a can)
  • 1/4 cup warm water

SAUCE

  • 3 Tbsp fresh ginger (peeled and chopped)
  • 1 head garlic (1 head yields ~1/3 cup cloves)
  • 1 small white onion (or sub 1/2 large per 1 small)
  • 1/2 cup red chili flake (or ground // more or less to taste)

VEGETABLES

  • 2 whole carrots (finely chopped or grated into matchsticks)
  • 6 green onions (roughly chopped)

 

Prepare

  • Start by quartering your well-rinsed and dried cabbage (savoy or Napa) and carefully removing the bottom core (hard white section) with a sharp knife. Discard.
  • Next place your cabbage in a large mixing bowl and begin packing a generous amount of sea salt in between each of the leaves. Do so by lifting each individual leaf and sprinkling with sea salt. Repeat until all leaves have been salted. Then press down and let rest for 30 minutes. This softens and breaks down the cabbage, drawing out moisture, priming it to be coated in the sauce.
  • While your cabbage rests, prepare your vegan fish sauce by adding all ingredients to a small mixing bowl and whisking to combine. Set aside.
  • Next, prepare your chili sauce by adding fresh ginger, garlic, onion and red chili flake to a food processor or blender. Taste and adjust flavor as needed.
  • Add vegan fish sauce to this mixture and pulse to combine. Set aside.
  • At this time, your cabbage should be ready to flip. Turn each section of cabbage over so it's facing the opposite direction. Then pack down with hands to compress. You'll repeat this process 3 more times (for a total of 4 times), waiting 30 minutes in between.
  • In the meantime, add your chopped carrots and green onion (optional) to a medium mixing bowl, along with the sauce. Stir to combine, then cover and set aside.
  • Once you have flipped your cabbage 4 times (it should be tender and shrunken down quite a bit), it's time to rinse. In very cold water, rinse each section of cabbage to remove excess salt, then place on 2-3 absorbent clean towels and pat dry. Also separate the cabbage leaves at this time, so they're easier to work with.
  • Return dried cabbage to a bowl. Get your sauce with carrots and green onions and begin coating each leaf with the sauce. If you have gloves (disposable or rubber), use them at this time as the sauce can irritate sensitive hands.
  • Placing the coated cabbage leaves in the container, packing down to ensure there is as little air as possible between leaves. Continue until all cabbage is packed in, then press down very firmly to remove air. Top with lid and set in a cool dark place (such as a cabinet, not the refrigerator) to ferment.
  • How long to ferment is up to you. Some sources suggest 36 hours minimum, then transfer to the refrigerator for 1 week to ferment longer.
  • The longer you ferment the kimchi, the tangier and intense the flavor will be, and the more tender the cabbage will become.
  • Each day it ferments, open up and press down with a clean utensil, such as a spoon, to press out air bubbles and ensure the kimchi is immersed in liquid. A good sign of proper fermentation is seeing little bubbles in the sauce when you press down.
  • A good indicator of when it's done fermenting is the smell. If it smells pleasant to the nose and tangy, it's probably ready to transfer to the refrigerator.
  • Kimchi will keep in the refrigerator for at least 3-4 weeks, and even months. You'll know it's gone bad if mold has formed or the smell is sour or unpleasant.
  • How to enjoy kimchi?! This makes a great addition or side to any Asian dish, such as fried rice or spring rolls.

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