Fermenting vegetables has been a huge part of Indian culture. It was a simple way to preserve food, as fresh vegetables weren’t available all year long. Similarly, Koreans also used the same technique to preserve vegetables by fermenting them in spices for weeks.
I am a huge fan of K-pop/k-drama, and I completely adore their culture and traditions. Koreans love their kimchi way too much. In fact, nearly 98% of Koreans eat kimchi daily. Yes, you read it right, isn’t that amazing?
Well, in today’s article we will learn how to make kimchi at home in India. But before we begin with our recipes, let’s understand the benefits of kimchi.
What is kimchi?
Kimchi is a traditional Korean side dish made with vegetables. It can be made with different vegetables like napa cabbage, carrots, radish, cucumber, and beets. It’s typically made with cabbage and radish and is seasoned with a combination of sugar and spices.
What are the health benefits of eating kimchi?
Are you wondering why Koreans love their kimchi so much? Well firstly, Koreans need that fresh taste in their mouth to cut out any greasiness caused due to their main course, and secondly, it offers great health benefits. Following is a list of health benefits provided by eating kimchi.
- Packed with Probiotics — Kimchi undergoes a Lacto-fermentation process that gives it a unique flavor. The process of fermentation takes place when starch or sugar is converted into alcohol or acid by microorganisms like yeast and bacteria. Once these healthy bacteria thrive and multiply they provide probiotics. If consumed daily or in larger portions, it can help treat/prevent conditions like the common cold, constipation, skin conditions, and heart health.
- May help fight inflammation — Due to the amazing presence of probiotics in kimchi, it may help prevent inflammation in the body. But there aren’t a lot of studies supporting this theory.
- Improves digestion — As mentioned above the probiotic in kimchi treats/prevents constipation. Not only that it also takes care of irritable bowel, leaky gut, and colon inflammation.
- Nutritional value — Kimchi has great nutritional value and is packed with minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants. It is rich in vitamin K which prevents blood clotting and maintains bone health. The choline present in kimchi is a natural compound that is vital for muscle health, functioning of the nervous system, maintenance of cells, and overall mood.
- Boost immune system — The vitamin C found in kimchi helps boost the immune system and is recommended to eat daily for better results.
So not only is kimchi delicious but it is also packed with health benefits that can improve your overall health in the long run.
Now that we have covered all the health benefits from kimchi let’s get started with the yummy mouthwatering recipes.
How to Make Kimchi: Method 1
Let’s begin with the ingredients list.
- 1 whole Napa Cabbage/ Chinese cabbage (online)
- 1tbsp Rice Flour
- 2 tbsp Brown Sugar
- 4-8 Chives
- 1 cup Garlic
- 1inch Ginger, finely chopped
- 1big Onion
- 2tbsp Fish sauce
- 1/4 cup Korean Red Chilli powder (online)
- Salt to taste.
In this first recipe, we will be using napa cabbage/Chinese cabbage. This type of cabbage is not easily available in the local market, but you can always buy them online. I would recommend you to get napa cabbage as they are much healthier and nutritious compared to other cabbages. But if you can’t buy the napa cabbage you can always opt for the regular round cabbage.
If you want an authentic flavour in your kimchi, I would highly recommend you to get Korean Red chilli powder.
- Step 1 — Start with picking up a huge Napa Cabbage or Chinese Cabbage. Cut it into four equal parts and wash it in cold water. This will remove all the dirt and bugs from the cabbage, making it cleaner and healthier to be used in our kimchi.
- Step 2 — After the cabbage is all clean, sprinkle and marinate its leaves abundantly with salt. Make sure all the parts are properly salted. Leave the same for almost two hours.
- Step 3 — While the cabbage is kept for rest, let’s make the most important part of the kimchi, that is, the kimchi paste. Take a shallow depth pan, add some water and rice flour to the same. Cook it on medium flame and keep stirring constantly. Add brown sugar to the paste. Cook the same until it turns into a thick paste. Leave for some time for it to cool down.
- Step 4 — So it’s time to prepare the seasoning for the kimchi. Also, don’t forget to check the cabbage after thirty minutes. Now for the seasoning, chop some garlic, ginger, and onions roughly and grind the same into a thick paste. Mix the freshly prepared paste with the rice flour paste thoroughly. Add some fish sauce to the paste. If you’re a vegetarian, you can also use soy sauce instead of fish sauce. Then add some red chilli powder to make the kimchi spicy and flavorful. Add some freshly chopped green onions for garnish.
- Step 5 — Check the cabbage after almost 2.5 hours, by this time, your cabbage should be soft and juicy. Wash the cabbage thoroughly under running cold water to remove all the salt and extra dirt. Apply the kimchi paste on the leaves of the cabbage abundantly. When every leaf is covered with the paste, wrap it around itself forming a small pocket.
- Step 6 — Now it’s time for the final step. Place the cabbage in a jar and make sure you bottle the kimchi properly. Wait for at least 24 hours for it to ferment. Make sure you check the kimchi jar after 24 hours. In case the jar gets filled with water, you can transfer some kimchi to another jar. Refrigerate the kimchi for slow fermentation.
How to Make Kimchi: Method 2
Firstly, let’s begin with the ingredients list for this recipe
- 1 whole Round Cabbage (normal Indian Cabbage)
- Half cup of Kashmiri Chillies powder (chopped and grinded without seeds)
- 1 cup water
- 1 cube of Maggie veggie stock
- 1 tbsp rice flour
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp chopped ginger
- 1 tbsp chopped garlic
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 50g green onions
- Salt to taste
In this recipe, we will be using a regular round cabbage, since it’s easily available in India. Also, we would use Kashmiri Chillies to make the kimchi less spicy yet more flavorful. This is a great recipe for vegetarians, as all the ingredients used are vegan. So let’s get started.
- Step 1 — Let’s begin with the cabbage marination. Choose a regular round cabbage and chop it into four parts. Make sure you remove the hard cores and use just the leaves. Then place the cabbage leaves into a bowl of cold water and leave it for 30 mins.
- Step 2 — While the cabbage is kept aside, let’s prepare the chilli powder for the kimchi paste. Firstly, chop the Kashmiri Chillies and remove as many of the seeds as possible. Now that the seeds are kept away, grind the chillies into fine powder. Using freshly grinded powder adds even more flavor to your kimchi.
- Step 3 — After 30 mins, rinse the cabbage under running cold water. This will remove all the dirt from the cabbage, making it ready to be used for our kimchi. Then chop the cabbage leaves into medium pieces, approx 4 cms, to be more precise. Place them in a large bowl, sprinkle some salt and mix well. Leave it for another 30 mins until the cabbage is slightly softened.
- Step 4 — Now it’s time to prepare the kimchi paste. In a shallow pan, boil one cup of water. Add one cube of Maggie veggie stock and mix well. Once the cube starts dissolving, keep the stove on medium flame and add rice flour and brown sugar. Keep stirring until the mixture turns into a thick and smooth paste. Turn the stove off and leave the paste to cool down.
- Step 5 — In a bowl, add the rice flour paste, then add a half-cup (or as per your preference of spice) of Kashmiri Chillies powder, chopped garlic, ginger, and soy sauce. Mix the ingredients well.
- Step 6 — Now that everything is ready, it’s time to mix the cabbage with the kimchi paste. Firstly, remove all the water from the cabbage and place it in a large bowl. This will make it easier for you to mix the contents well. Then add green onions to the cabbage. After this, add the freshly prepared kimchi paste and mix well. Make sure you use gloves to help mix more evenly. It will also prevent your hands from that burning sensation afterward.
- Step 7 — Place the kimchi in an airtight container and leave it to rest at room temperature for one or two days. It will help your kimchi ferment better before it’s ready to be eaten. Make sure you check the kimchi after two days and refrigerate it for slow fermentation.
Kimchi is a yummy sour Korean delicacy and has amazing health benefits. This is my take on kimchi but with a small Indian twist. Hopefully, you find this recipe helpful and can enjoy the delicious Korean kimchi. Eat kimchi, stay healthy.