Fermented foods are a wonderful addition to any diet. They are teeming with healthy, beneficial bacteria (more commonly referred to as “probiotics”) that aid digestion and help regulate the immune system. Fermented foods are perfect for keeping our gut happy and healthy. Eating just a small amount of fermented vegetables daily will help you on your way to having a healthy gut.
One of my favorite fermented foods is a Korean dish called kimchi. It is traditionally made from Napa cabbage, which is what this recipe will use, but you can substitute other vegetables such as bok choy, cucumbers, and many other vegetables – get creative!
Kimchi is a great food to eat before a meal, or to throw into a stir fry (just don’t cook it otherwise you’ll harm those wonderful little bacteria – you’ll want to add the kimchi after the stir fry has cooled slightly).
1 head Napa cabbage
1 bunch green onions
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger (or more depending on your taste – this isn’t something I usually measure, I just go by how it smells!)
2 large cloves crushed garlic
1/8 – 1/4 cup red pepper powder (depending on how spicy you like your kimchi!) – this is something that you should be able to find at a local asian market, or online
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons whey (or just add extra salt if you don’t have whey on hand – the whey just helps to speed up the fermentation process)
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1/4 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
Peel leaves off your cabbage and rinse in warm water
Chop cabbage into 1-inch squares (I actually end up chopping it more because I like it a little finer). Place in a large bowl.
Thinly slice the green onions and add to the cabbage
Grate the ginger and add to the cabbage mixture
Crush two cloves of garlic into the mixture
Add two tablespoon of whey to the mixture if you have it. I was a little bit lazy and just took the liquid off the top of some whole milk yogurt, so it’s still a little milky since I didn’t strain out the whey. Again, if you don’t have whey, just add extra salt (an extra tablespoon).
Add one tablespoon salt to the mixture
Add 1 tablespoon fish sauce
Add 1/4 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
This is the fun part! Now, take a kitchen tool – usually I use a wooden rolling pin with no handles – and beat the heck out of the mixture! You want the mixture to release its moisture, so it should get pretty watery.
Add 1/8 – 1/4 cup red pepper powder. In this recipe I added 1/8 cup because I was feeling a like a little bit of a wuss today and I had a slightly small head of cabbage.
Beat your mixture some more to mix in the powder. Finally, when your mixture is all mixed up, pack it in a jar. You want liquid to be covering the top of the mixture, so press the kimchi in the jar until the liquid comes to the top and covers the cabbage mixture. You’ll need to keep the jar at room temperature for about three days, at which point it should be delicious 🙂 You’ll want to refrigerate it after that in order to preserve it longer.
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