Kimchi is a type of fermented food that originates from Korea. Kimchi’s name varies depending on the main vegetables used to make it, though the most common one is the Napa cabbage. You can either eat it as is or use it in your cooking. Let’s learn how to make homemade Kimchi in Uganda.
Do you know kimchi? As a Ugandan, kimchi seems very familiar why? I have watched a number of Korean dramas. I have been always impressed with how Koreans love their culture and traditions. Most especially with their respect and love for food. There is no way you can miss the word kimchi in a Korean movie.
I had never paid any particular interest in kimchi until I discovered it is one of the foods rich in probiotics. Let us learn how to make probiotic kimchi.
What is Kimchi?
Kimchi is a traditional Korean side dish made from fermented cabbage, radish, or cucumber. Kimchi is a staple food in Korean cuisine. Koreans have it with almost every meal or at least once a day. The most popular kimchi is the one made with napa cabbage. There is also radish kimchi and cucumber kimchi.
What are the health benefits of eating Kimchi?
- It’s good for your gut, like other fermented veggies and foods, kimchi is rich in healthy bacteria(probiotics)
- Kimchi might boost your immune health. The probiotics in kimchi are “beneficial for immune function because the majority of immune function takes place in our guts.
- It may help lower your cholesterol. Several studies have found that people who eat kimchi regularly tend to have lower levels of “bad” (LDL) cholesterol
- Kimchi can improve your heart health. kimchi can also do your heart good by upping the levels of antioxidants in your body “Antioxidants help stabilize damaged cells that can accelerate the disease process, so having a high antioxidant status can protect you from chronic conditions, like heart disease,” she explains.
- Kimchi can support brain health. Keeping the digestive system healthy is also important for the brain, because the enteric nervous system, located in the gut, communicates with your brain,”
- Kimchi might even help with weight loss. Kimchi is a flavorful, low-calorie option. “When you add flavorful elements like kimchi to meals, it’s easier to feel satisfied with healthier portion sizes.
- 9. It may help prevent yeast infections. The probiotics in kimchi could help prevent yeast infections, says Syn. The yeast infections you might be most familiar with occur when the Candida fungus (which is normally harmless) multiplies rapidly inside the vagina.
Tips for making Homemade kimchi in Uganda
Brining kimchi cabbage uses the osmotic action of salt to dehydrate the cabbage and season it at an appropriate salinity. Through this process, the fresh smell of cabbage is removed and the growth of various germs that cause the kimchi to become soft is prevented.
Furthermore, it creates an environment in which lactic acid bacteria and enzymes are easy to grow, and this interaction between them allows the kimchi to ripen properly.
if you over-brine kimchi, it can turn out very salty, and there’s nothing you can do to fix this failure. Therefore, it’s important to know the right way to salt it when making kimchi.
making kimchi traditionally has been a whole day process. Particularly if it involves kimjang, a Korean traditional kimchi-making activity during winter months, it could take two days to complete, depending on the batch size.
However, in this recipe, I suggest you don’t change the pickling time as it can affect the taste. I tested different bringing times and 6 hours turned out to be the sweet spot. If you pickle for too long, your kimchi will turn out to be very salty. If you pickle for a shorter time, kimchi can taste bland and it might not ferment well. It can even get mouldy quicker too.
When seasoning the pickled cabbage with the kimchi paste, make sure you mentally portion out the seasoning well from the beginning so that you don’t run out of the paste until the end.
Bear in mind that kimchi won’t look very red immediately after being seasoned. It will gradually turn redder overtime during the long fermentation process
Common questions about making Homemade kimchi in Uganda?
Q1. What can I substitute gochugaru (Korean chilli flakes) with?
hot paprika powder and/or dry chilli flakes can be used as a replacement. Just remember that gochugaru is more of a mild type of chilli flake, so if you use these combinations, you will have to play around a bit until the ratio is right to your taste.
Q2. Can I use “other fish sauce” instead of “Korean fish sauce”?
Korean fish sauce is more pungent and salty than Thai or Vietnamese fish sauce. Substituting Korean fish sauce is tricky but you can try using Red Boat 40N and Three Crabs fish sauce, anchovy sauce, sand lance sauce or any similar sauce.
Q3. I can’t find saeujeot (salted fermented small shrimps). What can I use instead?
If you can’t find saeujeot, you can substitute it with Korean fish sauce.
To be continued… Part 2 to follow soon