Bright, tangy and delicious with all things stewed, roasted and barbecued, kimchi is a favourite Korean side dish for obvious reasons.
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Combine the cabbage and salt in a large bowl. Set aside for 1 hour, turning occasionally to pickle. Drain well. Cover cabbage with water and drain. Repeat twice more. Place cabbage in a colander and set aside for 20 mins to drain completely.
Meanwhile, place the garlic, ginger, sugar, fish sauce and sriracha in the bowl of a small food processor. Process until well combined and almost smooth.
Combine the cabbage, garlic mixture, radish, carrot, onions and chilli in a large bowl. Toss to coat vegetables in sauce mixture.
Divide cabbage mixture among sterilised jars, leaving a 2cm gap at the top. Pour liquid evenly among the jars and seal. Place jars out of direct sunlight at room temperature for 24 hours, then place in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
To sterilise jars, place jars and lids in a deep saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil. Cover pan and reduce heat, boiling gently for 10 mins. Remove sterilised jars and lids with tongs and place upside down on a clean tea towel to drain.
COOK. STORE. SAVE.
Use it up: If you have leftover cabbage after making up a big batch of kimchi, there are many ways you can put it to good use. Shred it up and toss with carrot, spring onions and herbs to make a salad, or use it to bulk out your next stir-fry or fried rice. You can also boil cabbage leaves and use them to wrap your favourite meats or vegetables into delicious cabbage rolls.
Fermented foods have long been part of global diets – sourdough bread, sauerkraut and kefir to name a few. Kimchi is the latest fermented favourite that’s become a flavourful addition to breakfast through to dinner, but what is kimchi? It’s a Korean side dish of salted and fermented vegetables, most commonly cabbage, with a variety of spices and seasonings added.
Not only is it celebrated for its positive impact on gut health (as many fermented foods are), but one of the main benefits of kimchi is that it’s incredibly versatile. It has bold, tangy, spicy, sweet and salty notes that combine to make it a go-to addition to many dishes in traditional Korean cuisine. Plus, its flavour changes as it continues to ferment. It can be eaten on its own, used as a condiment, or incorporated into stews and soups, fried rice, noodles, dumplings and pancakes. These days, you’ll often find it adding a punchy Korean twist to Western-style fare such as toasties, burgers, wraps, fritters and omelettes. There are few things that can’t be uplifted by this umami bomb!
There’s no doubt that fermented foods are great for our gut. They’re packed with good bacteria and probiotics that aid digestion. Kimchi is low-calorie and nutrient-dense – it’s just fermented and flavoured vegetables, after all – and depending what spices or seasonings you use, it could have additional benefits for everything from your immunity to your cholesterol levels. Kimchi is also a great way to reduce food waste, as you can easily cobble it together with any vegetables you have in the crisper drawer that may be on their last legs.
While it takes a little time and effort to make kimchi, it’s very easy to do and you can make it in either small amounts or big batches to have a tasty condiment on hand whenever you need it. Salting and pickling the cabbage is the first step, and this can take a few hours. It’s important to rinse and drain the cabbage properly before adding your next layer of flavour, which is the paste. The paste in this easy kimchi recipe is made of garlic, ginger, sugar, fish sauce and sriracha. Other kimchi ingredients may include gochujang (a Korean chilli paste) or gochugaru (Korean red chilli flakes). Mix it all together, adding any extra vegetables you like (radishes, green beans, cucumbers, extra chillies, carrots or spring onion work well), then transfer to sterilised jars and set aside for a day or so at room temperature. This allows it to ferment and develop those incredible umami flavours. Pop it in the fridge and use it within two weeks.
Once you fall in love with kimchi, you’ll start adding it to everything! For a kimchi breakfast, try these kimchi fritters with avocado salsa or kimchi with fried eggs. If it’s already lunch time, whip up chicken and kimchi fried rice, easy pork and kimchi noodles or these veggie and kimchi burgers.