I first heard about kimchi in the series The Chef Show on Netflix (tip!). An essential (side) dish that chef Roy Choi can't stop talking about. Something he took with him from his childhood in South Korea and mastered over the years. I didn't immediately get excited about it myself: a jar of pickled old cabbage, but now I'm hooked and I really have to refrain from leaving the pickled jars for two to three weeks. What is kimchi and why is it so healthy? You can read it here with the recipe of course.
What is Kimchi?
Kimchi is a traditional Korean recipe. It consists of fermented cabbage and vegetables with red pepper. A kind of Korean sauerkraut, which by the way is much tastier than it sounds. In classic kimchi, a Chinese cabbage is cut into quarters. The leaves are gently pickled without tearing, after which pepper paste is spread between each leaf. The recipe below is a simple variant, inspired by mak kimchi (quick kimchi without worries) found on Culy.nl.
How healthy is kimchi?
Kimchi is not only tasty but also super healthy. It contains few calories, is rich in fiber and is packed with vitamins C, A, B1, B2, calcium, iron, the 'good lactic acid bacteria', proteins and amino acids. Because kimchi is so good for your gut, it gives your immune system a boost. Win win!
Learn more about fermentation
As described above, properly fermented vegetables are super healthy. If you want to learn that well, I recommend the Utrecht fermentation workshop . You can also go there for nutritional advice or nutrition coach for a healthier lifestyle.
Why did I start eating kimchi?
Although I really like spicy, I wasn't immediately thrilled with the idea of eating old cabbage. But since I started eating completely ketogenic as of April 2021 for health reasons*, this side dish came up in my search for fiber-rich foods. It appealed to me that you have to put in some effort and that you have to let it mature in a jar for a while before it really tastes good.
Because I eat as few carbohydrates as possible, I made my keto version, but if you don't think it's necessary, try the Homemade Korean kimchi from Culy.nl , or replace the coconut from the recipe below for rice flour and the stevia for sugar. Roy Choi 's recipe can be found here.
*a ketogenic diet is a strict diet that consists of a minimal carbohydrate and an increased fat intake. With this I got the chronic migraine that I had for 10 years under control. If you want to know more about that, feel free to email me .
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The kimchi recipe
Just to be clear: there are hundreds of recipes and this is my lazy-people-keto variant. So I'm not pretending anything, just that it's very tasty
- 3 - 4 0.5 liter preserving jars
- a large container to wash and brine the cabbage
- plastic gloves
Sterilize preserving jars
I myself use 0.5 liter preserving jars . With the recipe below I fill about 3 to 4. They must be sterilized. I do that by first washing them and drying them completely. Then they go into a preheated oven at 130 degrees for 20 minutes (no warmer to prevent the glass from breaking). That's all.
- 1 Chinese cabbage
- 100 grams coarse sea salt
- a bunch of radishes (or 250 grams daikon/rettich) thinly sliced
- a bunch of spring onions cut into diagonal rings
- half winter carrot, julienned
- box of chives
For the pepper paste:
- 7 garlic cloves
- 1 onion chopped
- 4 cm ginger peeled and sliced
- 3 heaped tbsp chili flakes (or Korean pepper flakes 'gochugaru')
- 1 full tbsp chili powder
- 12 grams grated coconut (non-keto: rice flour)
- 2 tsp stevia (non-keto: sugar)
- 30 ml fish sauce
- 40ml water
- 1 tsp Japanese soy sauce
- 2 tsp (rice) vinegar
- Remove the hard core from the cabbage and roughly chop everything into squares of ±4x4 cm. Wash the cabbage well in a large container, rinse, sprinkle with salt and submerge in water for 2 hours. Stir the cabbage every half hour.
- In the meantime, sterilize the preserving jars.
- Place all pepper paste ingredients in a blender and then blend as smooth as possible.
- Rinse the cabbage and taste if it is slightly salty, then it is perfect! Add the sliced carrot, radishes and spring onions and toss together.
- Put on plastic gloves and gradually add the pepper sauce to the vegetables while massaging in the sauce.
- Evenly distribute the kimchi in the jars, pressing down well layer by layer, making sure the paste coats the top well. Stop filling until at least 2 cm from the edge.
- Leave the jars at room temperature for two days. After 1 day, de-aerate the kimchi and press the kimchi well again with a spoon. After two days, it is best to store the kimchi in the refrigerator. Wait two to three weeks and then the taste will be at its best.
You can eat kimchi as a kind of coleslaw, but it is originally a side dish. It combines wonderfully with rice (not keto) and roasted meat or on a sandwich
This is The Chef Show
And the The Chef Show started with the feel good movie Chef. Which by the way is still high on my to watch list! Have you seen it yet?
Are you going to make kimchi too?
Note: it is really addictive. But who cares if it is also super healthy! Practice and vary according to your own taste, because that is the idea behind this dish. That you prepare it often and make it your own.
Author - Mariko Naber
Mariko is the happy brain behind Happlify. Together with partner Mark she runs Sell your stuff online, branding agency Loaded ink BNO en Atelier Naber . She loves feel good, random acts of kindness, meatballs, chocolate mousse, family time, zee, piña colada, sugar & spice and everything nice 💛