Kimchi is a Rising Food Trend

Gimchi, a very common side dish in Korea

Kimchi, a very common side dish in Korea (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What is Kimchi?

Kimchi is a rising food trend.  This Korean favorite has made its way around the world and is being eaten more than ever in the U.S.  Kimchi is used as a topping for almost any food and any meal.  Kimchi is basically pickled, fermented cabbage.  Kimchi is so popular in Korea that it is the national dish of Korea.  It can be eaten on its own, stewed, fried with rice, fish dishes, and many more.  It is praised for being high in vitamins and fiber.  There are many varieties of kimchi available. Kimchi varies based on type of cabbage and spices included.  Americans have long been in love with pickled foods.  Americans have eaten pickles, pickled pigs feet, pickled eggs, and chow chow for many years.  It only makes sense that America would embrace the Kimchi tradition.

You can try Kimchi at your local Korean restaurant, but you can also buy it in the store or make your own.

This basic Kimchi recipe is easy to make and can be built upon to suit your tastes.

Ingredients:

Head of Napa cabbage – about one pound

¼-? cup red chili pepper flakes

1 tbsp minced garlic

1 tbsp minced ginger

3-4 green onions, sliced

2 tablespoons anchovy or fish sauce (optional)

½ yellow onion

½ ripe apple

½ ripe Korean pear

Sea salt

Water

COOKING DIRECTIONS

Separate cabbage leaves and chop into bite-size pieces.

Dissolve a quarter cup of sea salt in a bowl of warm water then pour salt water over cabbage leaves. Give cabbage a gentle toss to distribute salt water. Allow salted cabbage to sit for at least four hours.

Give cabbage a good rinse to remove excess salt then transfer cabbage to a large bowl.

Combine a quarter cup of fine red chili pepper flakes with warm water, stir gently with a spoon to create a red chili paste, then transfer chili paste to cabbage.

Add minced garlic, minced ginger, green onions, and fish sauce.

Blend yellow onion, apple, and pear with one cup of water, then add this natural sweetener to the cabbage.

Put on a pair of plastic gloves and give everything a thorough toss and rubdown. You want to evenly distribute all ingredients, especially the red chili paste.

Transfer seasoned cabbage leaves into a large glass bottle. Be sure to use firm pressure with your hands to push down on cabbage leaves as they stack up inside the bottle.

Transfer any liquid that accumulated during the mixing process into the bottle as well – this liquid will become kimchi brine. Some liquid will also come out of the cabbage leaves as you press down on them as they are stacked in the bottle.

Be sure to leave about 2 inches of room at the top of the bottle before capping it tightly with a lid. Allow bottle of kimchi to sit at room temperature for at least 24 hours.

Refrigerate and take out portions as needed. The refrigerated kimchi will continue to ferment slowly in the refrigerator over time. So long as you use clean utensils to take out small portions, it will keep for up to a month in your refrigerator.

Once you have made the Kimchi, you will probably wonder what to do with it.  First of all, you must experience it by itself.  The flavor of the Kimchi is quite interesting and you may find that you want to eat it all the way it is.  After you have fallen in love with the flavor of on its own, mix it into anything that you can think of.  It tastes great on burgers, hot dogs, and Bratwurst, but it also has its own place in the world.  Kimchi makes a fabulous stew.  It also is wonderful in stir fry and casseroles.  If you are bored with your current menu, Kimchi is sure to turn your taste buds upside down.

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