Easy Kimchi Recipe

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Posted: May 30, 2019 · Updated: Apr 12, 2022 by Jenny McGruther · This site earns income from ads, affiliate links, & sponsorships.

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Vibrant with green onions, sweet và spicy Korean chili powder, garlic, and ginger, this easy kimchi recipe is a great choice for newcomers to fermentation. All you need is a little patience, time, & plenty of cabbage.

Jump to lớn Recipe | What Is it? | Benefits | How to Make It | Tips | Fermentation | Common Questions

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What is it?

Kimchi is an iconic Korean recipe. There are hundreds of varieties of this traditionally fermented food. The most common variety is made from Napa cabbage which is called baechu kimchi. In addition khổng lồ using salt & gochugaru (Korean chili flakes), cooks often flavor the traditional Korean side dish with garlic, ginger, và green onions.

Other recipes may use radish, cucumbers, zucchini, or even fruit as the base instead of cabbage. While spicy, hot gochugaru makes an appearance in most varieties.

What"s in it?

The ingredients for cabbage kimchi are fairly simple, và freshness plays a critical role in both the dish"s success & its flavor. You start by soaking cabbage in salt water. And then after draining away the excess liquid, you flavor the salted cabbage with a paste made of various aromatic ingredients such as garlic and ginger.

Napa cabbage is the foundation of this recipe. The easiest way to lớn prepare it is to lớn chop the cabbage leaves into 1-inch pieces.Radish gives complements the cabbage and lends some texture khổng lồ the dish. Garlic & green onions are alliums. They gives the salted cabbage flavor & a delicate, but potent sharpness.Ginger brings a little warmth khổng lồ the recipe, & it partners well with chilis, garlic, and green onions.Gochugaru is a type of chili powder made from sundried chilis. It has a mellow heat màn chơi that builds, và sweet, smoky flavor. A staple ingredient in Korean cooking, you"ll find it used in quite a few recipes.Fish sauce gives a salty, savory note. Fermented fish sauce or salted shrimp are a common ingredient in many versions of the recipe & they lend an elusive umami cảnh báo to the recipe. Miso paste or Korean fermented soybean paste (doenjang) can also be used since they convey a similar savory flavor.

Is it good for you?

Like all fermented foods và drinks, kimchi is a functional food that is vibrantly rich in beneficial bacteria. These lactic acid bacteria tư vấn the immune system and digestive health.

Not only is it rich in good bacteria, but it"s also a source of key antioxidants since it is made from cruciferous vegetables, ginger, garlic, and chilies all of which help tư vấn systemic health. As such, its rich nutritional profile likely contributes lớn the ways in which it supports cardiovascular, brain, and metabolic health as well as the immune system(1).

And while it"s a functional food with loads of benefits, it"s also incredibly easy khổng lồ make at home.

How khổng lồ make it

To make kimchi, begin first by soaking chopped cabbage in salt water. A few hours is sufficient, but if you have enough time khổng lồ let it soak overnight, that"s best. Soaking the cabbage in salt water allows helps to lớn break down the cell walls, and gives it just the right amount of salinity for fermentation.

Blend up a spice paste of ginger, green onions, garlic, & Korean chili powder, toss the soaked cabbage in the paste until it"s well-coated, & pack it into jars.

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Traditionally, most kimchi recipes hotline for fermenting at room temperature & then transferring it lớn cold storage - such as a root cellar - to complete fermentation. This temperature is typically higher than your fridge, but lower than room temperature. You can simply keep it on your counter for a few days until signs of fermentation appear, và then tuck it in the fridge for a few weeks to lớn age.

Recipe Tips

Like homemade sauerkraut và other fermented vegetables, kimchi is fairly easy to make at home. But, before you dive in, it"s wise khổng lồ keep a few things in mind.

Use glass weights. Glass fermentation weights help lớn keep the cabbage submerged in brine as it ferments. And that means there"s a lower chance that your ferment will develop mold or go bad. You can also tuck a cabbage leaf in the jar over the cabbage, khổng lồ keep it safely beneath its salty brine.Use an airlock or fermentation seal. Part of the charm of kimchi is its fizziness, but if you prefer yours without the air bubbles, use an airlock or fermentation seal.Reserve the brine. The first step is khổng lồ soak the cabbage in salt water. Save the brine lớn make the seasoning paste, and just in case you need a little liquid to lớn cover your cabbage while it ferments.Watch for signs of fermentation. Foaming and bubble formation are signs that healthy bacteria are at work and a good indicator that it"s time to lớn transfer it khổng lồ the fridge.

Optimal Fermentation Conditions

Kimchi is one of many fermented cabbage dishes you"ll find throughout the world. Other common cabbage ferments include sauerkraut và curtido. Unlike sauerkraut or pickles, where acidity is prized, the best kimchi is often much less acidic (2) - but still packed with flavor.

Traditionally, Korean trang chủ cooks prepared it by first soaking cabbage in salt, then combining the salted cabbage with garlic, ginger, chili, và other seasonings After letting it ferment a few days at room temperature (about 70 F), they"d bury the crock in the earth which kept it fermenting at about 50 F. That"s about 10 degrees warmer than your fridge.

Now, special fermentation refrigerators are available to maintain those optimal conditions. That said, they tend lớn be difficult to find outside of Korea.

You can achieve that light acidity và optimally rich flavor by fermenting it for a few days at room temperature and then transferring it lớn the fridge khổng lồ age for several weeks.

While researchers have found that just a few days at room temperature followed by a few weeks in the fridge at roughly 39F produced optimal flavor (3), the thử nghiệm kitchen team at America"s test Kitchen disagreed. They found a temperature of about 65 F - or the temperature of a cold room - produced the best flavor (4), likely demonstrating the difference between traditional Korean kimchi-making & its Americanized counterpart.

Accordingly, it might be worth making a few batches khổng lồ experiment so that you find the right flavor for you.

Kimchi is also fizzy. Carbon dioxide builds up during fermentation as bacteria break down complex sugars và starches. An airlock, used with many fermented foods, allows that carbonation lớn escape.

You"ll want to lớn keep the carbon dioxide inside your jar so it becomes effervescent và bubbly. It"s a similar practice that homebrewers use lớn make fermented drinks lượt thích water kefir or kombucha fizzy. So seal your jar tightly with a plain lid.