By: Flayre Spring.
Fermentation is the ancient energy to preserve and enrich food, and somehow it got forgotten
over the last decades. But luckily, fermentation is making its revival, and many people appreciate
it now for the health advantages it carries. Fermentation describes a process in which microbes
convert sugar into substances like lactic acid. It also increases the shelf life and safety of the
products. However, with the development of modern food processing techniques, we kind of
forgot about this old technique, especially in the Western world who eat the Western diet. When
we talk about fermentation's health benefits, we usually either talk about the probiotic microbes
or about the health-promoting molecules those microbes produce. Fermented food can have an
incredible variety of probiotics. Kimchi, for instance, is known as the king of probiotics. This
South Korean staple food contains tons of health benefits and is known as one of the superfoods.
As intimidating as it sounds, it is actually pretty easy and simple to make, requiring only a
handful of ingredients. So without wasting time, let's get into the recipe!!!
You will need:
Two Napa cabbages (large)
Three large radishes ( shredded)
Six tablespoons of salt ( Kosher preferred)
One tablespoon of sugar (preferably brown)
Three tablespoons of garlic (minced)
Three tablespoons of ginger (minced)
Half cup of red pepper flakes
Four tablespoons of fish sauce
Two tablespoons of soya sauce
Three tablespoons of fermented shrimp paste(or just fermented canned shrimp would work too)
Half cup of carrots (shredded)
Three bunches of green onions
Wash Napa cabbages thoroughly and cut them into four pieces. Gently separate the leaves
without tearing them. Immerse them in cold water in a large container for fifteen minutes. Drain
the water and sprinkle salt liberally on each piece. Rub the salt onto each section and let them sit
for around three to six hours. The purpose of salting is to decrease the firmness of the cabbages.
Now it is time to make our magic kimchi paste. In a bowl, combine soy sauce, fish sauce, red
pepper flakes, ginger, garlic, green onions, fermented shrimp paste, and sugar. You can use a
whisk to combine all ingredients thoroughly. Keep whisking until the mixture resembles a form
of chunky chili paste.
Add carrots, radishes, and green onions into a bowl. Add the magic kimchi paste you just
prepared to the vegetable mixture and combine them. Keep it aside and wait for the cabbages to
finish the salting process.
Well, you are almost there! Rinse the cabbages at least three times so that all the salt is removed
entirely. The cabbages should feel elastic at this point. Rub the magic mixture you prepared on
all sections, making sure every single leave is generously coated. You can double coat if there is
any leftover mixture. Your Kimchi is now prepared and just needs the fermentation to start to get
its one-of-a-kind taste. Pack the Kimchi into a glass container ( you can use a plastic container as
well). Leave the sealed container at room temperature for around a week. Taste the Kimchi to
check on the fermentation process. If you think it needs more time, leave it out at room
temperature for another week. However, taste it every single day to monitor if it has reached the
desired taste. Store the fermented Kimchi in the fridge afterward.
The fermentation process usually takes a week or two at room temperature. Don't let Kimchi out
for more than weeks. After fermentation is complete, it can be stored on the fridge for up to two
to three months to enjoy as a side dish. The delicious Kimchi can be enjoyed right away if you
are not patient enough(like myself!!!) to enjoy this unique, healthy, and flavorful condiment.