I have always loved Asian food.
The way the flavours dance together.
They way they explode in your mouth, bounce off your tongue and pinch your cheeks.
The perfect combination of sweet, salty, sour and spice.
A balance that works in perfect harmony and something that’s mastered throughout their entire repertoire of dishes.
I honestly believe (just like eating from large bowls) food tastes better with chopsticks. I spent 3 months in Asia last year, 90 days straight of using chopsticks was absolute bliss and a transition I was enthusiastic about. The transition back to the old knife and fork was less than exciting.
Kimchi is a traditional fermented Korean side dish. Made predominantly of vegetables, it has a spicy and slightly sour taste. The main ingredient in the recipe below is cabbage, but it can vary to cucumber and radish too. Fermented foods are important for gut health and offer a range of benefits. Each fermented food has a different profile of bacteria, so eating a vast range is your best option. Eating fermented foods is the same as taking a probiotic like Inner Health Plus. Only you’ve made it yourself. How cool is that.
Other fermented foods are: Sauerkraut, yoghurt (plain, not flavoured), kombucha
There are so many benefits from eating fermented foods like – boosting the immune system, regulating blood sugar, beautifying the skin (yep it helps keep it smooth and clear) and the list goes on.
A few weeks ago I ended up with close to two heads of cabbage in the fridge and I couldnt bare let them go to waste. One day over a ‘cabbage brainstorming session’, my friend mentioned she had always wanted to make Sauerkraut. BINGO! I remembered I’d book marked this recipe quite a while ago waiting for cabbage season to begin. The recipe is from one of my favourite blogs – My New Roots. If you haven’t check it out, I suggest you do… tell her Lunch Lady Lou sent you!
This is an easy recipe but an involved recipe – your hands will get dirty. But the colours and aroma are just too good to not try. Leave a comment below and let me know how your batch turns out.
How to make Kimchi
- 2 cabbage (1.5 – 2 kg total weight)
- 1 daikon radish
- 5 large carrots
- 1 bunch spring onions (about 7)
- 1 apple
- 70 g fresh ginger
- 5 cloves garlic
- 1/3 cup crushed red chili flakes
- ¼ cup good-quality sea salt
- 1 large glass jar (approx 3-4 litres)
- 1 large bowl
- knife + cutting board
- mortar and pestle
- Wash all veggies. Chop cabbage into bite-sized chunks, julienne or grate carrots, daikon, and apple. Slice green onion. Place all vegetables in a very large bowl.
- In a mortar and pestle blend ginger, garlic, and chili until well combined. Add this mixture to the bowl of vegetables along with the salt.
- Mix and vigorously massage all ingredients together until the cabbage begins to soften and release fluid. Continue until you have a fair amount of liquid in the bottom of the bowl, about 4-5 minutes. The vegetables at this point should have lost much of their volume. Let the bowl sit out at room temperature for a few hours, massaging once or twice more. Season to taste.
- In a large, sterilized jar (or several small ones), pack in the vegetables trying to avoid any air pockets, making sure to leave a few inches of space at the top of the jar for carbon dioxide.
- Cover the jar with a loosely with a lid, or make sure to open it periodically to release any pressure that may build up.
- Leave the jar on the counter for 2-4 days – I left mine out for all 4 and it tastes delicious. The longer you leave it out the stronger it tastes.
You may see bubbles forming in the jar – this is carbon dioxide and totally normal.
- Taste the kimchi now and again. Once the flavour is to your liking, seal the jar and place in the fridge. Keeps for several months.
*Tip: After removing kimchi from the container to eat, push the remaining back down to keep most of the cabbage submerged in the brine (the liquid). This will help keep it fresh for longer.