- 1 Chinese cabbage
- 2 Carrots
- 4 Spring onions
- 1 Medium size onion chopped
- 7 Cloves of garlic peeled
- 5 Flat Tbsp Korean chilli powder/flakes.
- Filtered water or spring water (chlorinated water will inhibit fermentation)
- 2 Tbsp of Sea salt (important to use salt free from iodine and anti-caking agents which can inhibit fermentation.
- 3 Clean and sterilised large jam jars or 1 litre size mason jar
- Cut the bottom off the Chinese cabbage. Separate the leaves and rinse in clean, filtered water.
- Place the leaves in a large bowl, sprinkle each one with sea salt and massage the leaves until it starts to soften a bit. Then add water to cover the cabbage. Place a plate on top and weigh it down with something heavy such as a jar of pickles or can of beans. Allow it to stand for 30 minutes-1 hour.
- Meanwhile, blitz the medium onion, garlic and chilli powder together in a high powered blender to form a paste. Add a little warm water from the kettle to loosen the paste if necessary
- Chop the spring onions and grate the carrots
- After an hour. Rinse the cabbage under cold water and drain in a colander for 10 minutes.
- Take each leaf and spread the paste liberally on each one. Fold each leaf into a parcel (the stalks are likely to break so don’t worry about this) if you are using small jars, split the leaves length ways down the middle, before pasting and make smaller parcels.
- Pack the parcels tightly into the jar, adding a few spring onions and grated carrot as you go along, on top of each layer.
- Press down the parcels so all the ingredients are tightly compact in the jar and then top up with a little filtered water so the top layer is immersed in brine. Allow approximately 1 inch of headspace. Place the lid firmly on.
- Check the kimchi daily for the first week to ensure the cabbage is immersed, pushing the parcels down under the brine if need be. You may see it start to bubble inside the jar which is the release of gases as the cabbage ferments.
- Store in a darkened cupboard for a minimum of four weeks. This gives the Kimchi enough time for the fermentation to take place. The longer the Kimchi is left the more mature it will become. Don’t be afraid if the Kimchi forms a film on top. This can be removed and the Kimchi will be perfectly ok underneath.
- Keep refrigerated once opened.
- Be prepared to be blown away by the smell and the taste!
Lactic acid fermentation, which incidentally can be carried out on any food with a complex or simple sugar content, has been an efficient method of preserving food for hundreds of years dating back to our ancestors. Apart from producing the good bacteria necessary for supporting good health, the fermentation process can increase the activity of vitamin C and vitamin A in the case of kimchi or sauerkraut. It also increases the bio-availability of any micro and macro nutrients, particularly the amino acid, Lysine which has an antiviral effect in the body.
Based on many studies, it is understood that if you suffer with digestive problems it will be almost impossible to permanently eliminate them unless you improve the balance between the beneficial bacteria and the build up of bad bacteria that exist naturally in your gut (an imbalance is called Dysbiosis) There are ways of targeting and eliminating bad bacteria that cause flatulence, pain, bloatedness and erratic or irregular bowel movements (please get in touch if you would like to know how) as well as increasing the good guys.
Eating fermented foods which are naturally rich in probiotics, is one way to increase the good bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract. Having a little kimchi or sauerkraut as a condiment on the side and eaten on a daily basis with any meal will go a long way in improving your gastrointestinal health and therefore supporting good health in general.
Go on, give it a go and let me know how you get on!