Kimchi: How to Make it and Eat It

2 week old kimchi pairs well with some Fort George 3-way IPA

2 week old kimchi pairs well with some Fort George 3-way IPA

This post is about making kimchi. Why waste time and mess up your kitchen making it when you can buy it?

  • Quality and Taste Control: Well, you get to control the ingredients first and foremost, which allows you to make kimchi that suits your taste preferences and dietary preferences; we like our kimchi spicy and free of MSG and sodium benzoate. Kimchi is good for you, but commercially prepared varieties can be less healthy due to the ingredients (high sodium, preservatives, and MSG).
  • It’s Fun and Easy: It’s also fun and not as difficult as you think; invite your friends over and make kimchi! I took a class at Whole Foods which helped a lot and gave me confidence to keep making kimchi. I won’t lie; I have been scared to get sick from home fermented kimchi, kraut, and kombucha, but so far that has not happened.

Lessons Learned:

I have made about 4 batches now, and each one gets better due to learning about what worked and what didn’t. A crucial component is how the vegetables are chopped; this will affect the taste and how the kimchi absorbs the flavors during the fermentation phase. While some recipes recommend cubing daikon and carrots, it’s better to cut them into matchsticks for traditional kimchi. I use my faithful mandoline-styled vegetable grater, procured in Vietnam for this task.

There are 3 stages in the kimchi process: brining, seasoning, and fermenting. Compared to making pickles or sauerkraut, kimchi is easy, quick, and doesn’t require a lot of equipment. All you need is a a bit of time (about 1 hour of active prep time), a big bowl, a few jars, the ingredients used in the recipe (see below), and a bit of space.

The chopped veggies with the seasoning paste

The chopped veggies with the seasoning paste

The kimchi as it begins to ferment

The kimchi as it begins to ferment

The recipe

The recipe

A great resource is Lauryn Chun’s “Kimchi Cookbook” as it goes into detail about the process, has different types of kimchi for you try, and ideas on how to incorporate kimchi into your cooking.

On its own, or with a beer, kimchi is a great food to add to your diet for the taste and health benefits.

3 responses to “Kimchi: How to Make it and Eat It

  1. I grew up on kimchi and I’ve never gotten sick from it. I remember my mom making tons of kimchi and our entire kitchen would be filled with gigantic silver bowls. My aunt in Korea still makes a lot of kimchi and gives them to people in her neighbourhood. It can be quite a community activity and it’s reminds me of giving baked cookies to your neighbours in LA ^^

    Not sure if you’ve ever tried making kimchi without chopping up the lettuce first, but I just love freshly made kimchi….. so good !

    Nice article, didn’t know whole foods had a recipe ^^

    • Thanks for your comment and sharing your story! I would love to visit South Korea one day and check out how others make kimchi. People warn about mold but so far none of my batches get moldy. One day i will try not chopping!! 👍

      • There’s a kimchi festival in Seoul, if you ever plan to visit, maybe you can do it when that is going on :)

        mold ?! Wow, I’ve actually never seen this happen in my years of existence so this news to me.

        When my Korean friends went for a weekend trip, they set a bag of kimchi in a plastic bag, and let it sit in the sun, but only for a little bit because it can actually go bad that way, but never ever heard of mold in kimchi. O.O

        Not chopping kimchi, change your life lol but seriously
        <3 Jenny

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s