If you are a fan of K-Pop, I am sure you must have heard of the famous Korean dish ‘Kimchi’. This Korean staple food has gained worldwide recognition. But why is it so popular and what exactly is kimchi? We will answer all your questions.
What is kimchi?
Simply put, kimchi is a dish made from fermented vegetables, such as carrots, napa cabbage, and daikon radish. It is seasoned with different flavors including garlic, gochugaru, ginger, spring onions, jeotgal, etc. Kimchi is a versatile dish and can also be used in stews and soups.
What is kimchi? Is it a side dish? Well, it’s a side dish, but it’s also used as a condiment, and almost every Korean food has Kimchi. It is spicy and tasty and is without a doubt one of the best dishes.
This succulent dish is not only tasty but also healthy and nutritious. So now that we know ‘what is kimchi?’, let’s take a look at the health benefits this dish has to offer.
What are the benefits of kimchi?
Kimchi is one of those dishes that you can eat regularly with no regrets, all because it’s healthy and nutritious.
1. Helps digestion
People with weak digestion often feel relieved after eating fermented foods. Kimchi is also a fermented food and a good source of probiotics. To keep the gut healthy, healthy bacteria must be consumed, and the same can be achieved by eating kimchi. It contains lactobacilli bacteria that are also present in yogurt and fermented milk products. Consuming good bacteria aids digestion and can also relieve symptoms of gastrointestinal problems like bloating, IBS, etc. Overall, it’s a great food for gut health, so eat kimchi and keep your stomach happy.
2. It’s good for your immune system
Several studies indicate that eating kimchi can help boost your immune system. Kimchi contains good bacteria that can be helpful in fighting inflammation and strengthening the immune system. Also, kimchi contains vitamin C, which helps a lot in improving immune health.
3. Kimchi can keep your heart healthy
Kimchi is made with ingredients like ginger, garlic, and red pepper, all of which are rich in antioxidants.
Antioxidants help protect us from chronic ailments like health diseases. Aside from that, kimchi also helps maintain healthy cholesterol levels, which promotes heart health.
4. May Reduce Inflammation
Chronic inflammation in the body can cause many serious health problems, such as joint pain, stomach pain, etc. It is best to follow an anti-inflammatory diet on a regular basis to avoid health problems. The probiotics present in this Korean dish have an anti-inflammatory effect on the intestine, which in turn prevents many health problems.
5. Kimchi is good for the eyes
Kimchi is usually made with a variety of vegetables, including cabbage, which is a good source of the antioxidant beta-carotene and improves eye health.
As we age, it is essential to eat a balanced meal full of nutrients to keep our eyes healthy. So add kimchi to your diet and keep your eyes healthy.
6. Kimchi is good for the brain
Good gut health means a healthy functioning brain. If your digestion is weak, it somehow affects your brain and the entire nervous system. When you eat your kimchi, you are not only nourishing your gut but also improving the health of your brain.
7. Kimchi can make you lose a few pounds
Although this popular Korean dish won’t magically make you lose weight, it can be helpful for weight loss. It is a spicy, low-calorie food and is a good choice for those trying to lose weight. When you add a good helping of spices and vegetables to a dish, you make it hearty and flavorful. Eating these foods can make you feel full and also help you control your portion sizes, which will help you lose a few pounds.
8. It can help you keep your cholesterol levels under control
Although it is not clear how kimchi helps lower cholesterol, several studies have found that people who consume this dish on a regular basis tend to have lower levels of LDL (bad cholesterol).
So now that we have understood all about ‘what is kimchi’ and the health benefits of eating this Korean side dish, let us know something more about this delicious Korean dish.
What is kimchi and what does it taste like?
Kimchi is a wonderful dish rich in flavors. It is made from fermented vegetables, and during the process, the vegetables become a bit softer, making them easier to digest. This is a dish that needs a perfect combination of flavors, vegetables and acidity to obtain a perfect flavor.
Most kimchi recipes include Korean chili, which is medium hot and has a fruity, smoky flavor. Korean chili is also known as gochugaru and is dried in the sun and then made into a powder.
This chili and other herbs like ginger and garlic are added to kimchi to make it spicy. Some kimchi recipes also include fish sauce to give them an “umami” flavor.
What is kimchi exactly? It is a dish with a perfect amount of fermented vegetables and flavors and it is spicy and tangy.
All in all, you can never get bored of this dish!
How to make kimchi?
We have understood all about ‘what is kimchi’, so let’s take a look at kimchi recipe now.
Kimchi ingredients to use:
Napa cabbage is also known as Chinese cabbage. This is used as the base for this Korean dish.
Daikon Radish – If you want to prepare it the traditional way, using daikon radish or carrot can also work well.
Korean Pepper Flakes – Traditionally known as gochugaru, this is an important ingredient used to prepare kimchi.
Garlic – This gives an extra flavor to the dish, but it is highly recommended not to overdo it.
Ginger: Like garlic, it also adds freshness to kimchi.
Green onions: they are used to give it more flavor.
Sugar – Just a pinch of sugar and you are ready to continue the fermentation process.
Non-iodized salt: Last but not least, you should have kosher or non-iodized salt. After all, what dish is complete without salt, right?
Method for preparing kimchi
First of all, wash your hands well before you start preparing the dish. Listen folks, this is an important thing to do before you make any dish! Wash supplies with hot water as well.
Next, take the napa cabbage and rinse it properly. Cut it into small quarters and place the chopped cabbage pieces in a large bowl with salt and toss well to make sure all the cabbage pieces are well coated with salt. Add enough water to cover the cabbage and keep stirring until the salt dissolves. Keep it aside for two hours, stirring every half hour to make sure the cabbage has wilted properly.
After two hours, rinse well and drain excess water.
While the napa cabbage is sitting in salted water, you can prepare the pasta. Take a food processor and add raw sugar, Korean pepper flakes, ginger and garlic with a little water. If you want an umami flavor, you can also add a small amount of miso paste. Blend until smooth.
Then take the well rinsed napa cabbage and toss it well with the daikon radish, pepper paste and green onions in a large bowl. Mix them well with your hands, or you can even wear gloves for this process.
The last step is fermentation, which is actually a very important step and can make or break your kimchi.
Take a clean glass jar and put the mixture in it. Gently press it so that the vegetables are properly immersed in the juices. Leave some empty space at the top of the glass jar, and then seal with a lid. Keep this glass jar at room temperature, away from direct sunlight for three to five days to allow it to set. Check it daily and push the cabbage down to prevent leaks.
How to know if your kimchi is ready? When the cabbage gets a little mushy and the taste is tart, that’s when you know the kimchi is ready!
If you like your kimchi milder and more acidic, you should ferment it for a long period of time. You can taste it every day and store it in the fridge when it’s at the perfect amount of ripeness. This is because once you refrigerate it, the fermentation process will stop and you will be able to use it for weeks or months.
It was about ‘what is kimchi’, its benefits and the preparation method. It is such a delicious flavor that one definitely cannot get enough of it. So add kimchi to your diet and add spice to your life.
Also Read: Top 10 Tasty Traditional Chinese Food Dishes