Kimchi is a fermented cabbage dish made with napa cabbage, red chili powder and other vegetables that has become an integral part of Korean cuisine and culture.
It has numerous nutritional and medicinal benefits. It is an incredibly versatile food, capable of being eaten as a side dish, on its own, or combined with other dishes.
1. Eat it as a side dish
Kimchi is a traditional Korean side dish that can be enjoyed with almost any meal. It makes an excellent addition to soups, stews, pasta dishes, fried rice dishes, stir-fry dishes, and sandwiches.
Kimchi can be made with any vegetable and the flavor can range from sour to sweet. The amount of salt and sugar used, how long it ferments for, as well as what vegetables are used in its making are all factors in determining its flavor.
Kimchi is typically made with cabbage that’s submerged in a brine with flavorings such as onions, garlic, fish sauce and gochugaru (Korean red pepper powder). However, it can also be prepared using other vegetables like carrots or radishes.
The salty brine kills harmful bacteria in kimchi while encouraging healthy bacteria to flourish, turning sugars and other nutrients into lactic acid that preserves vegetables while giving them their distinct aroma and tanginess. After fermenting for several days, you should see bubbles at the top of the jar when pressing down on it.
Once prepared, kimchi can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. As it ferments, further developing its flavour and making it more complex and tart, you may wish to store it at room temperature instead.
2. Eat it on its own
Kimchi is an irresistible side dish that can be enjoyed on its own with meals or used to enhance other dishes. Its tart, sour taste and fiery kick add depth and brightness to soups, stews, and salads alike.
Kimchi can be made with vegetables such as napa cabbage, carrots, garlic, ginger and onions. It’s usually mixed with spices like fish sauce or red miso before being left to ferment for several days or weeks.
It is an excellent source of protein, fibre, vitamin C, thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), calcium, and iron. Furthermore, it contains lactic acid bacteria which may aid in improving digestive health as well as strengthening your immunity.
Kimchi makes for a delicious snack, especially when freshly made. The tart and savory taste of kimchi will keep your energy levels up while curbing cravings for unhealthy snacks.
A generous spoonful of kimchi can add a satisfying kick to a kale and farro salad or elevate bibimbap, instant ramen, or other grain bowls. It’s an ideal healthy, low-calorie snack that can be enjoyed anytime of the day.
3. Eat it with rice
One of the best ways to enjoy kimchi is with fried rice. The spicy and savory kimchi pairs perfectly with crispy, fluffy rice for a one-dish meal that’s easy to prepare and tastes amazing.
To make this dish, start with a pan and some cooking oil or butter. Saute chopped onions, kimchi, and garlic until softened. Then add cooked rice, kimchi juice, Gochujang paste, sesame oil, sugar, and soy sauce; stirring until everything is thoroughly combined and heated through.
According to how sour your kimchi and kimchi juice are, you may need to add more salt for balance. Additionally, you can garnish the dish with some toasted sesame seeds for additional flavor!
For an extra special touch, top your kimchi fried rice with a fried egg! Not only will this add extra texture to the dish, but it helps it remain light and crispy!
Kimchi is a fermented cabbage dish that can be enjoyed cold or cooked into dishes like this. It is an indispensable staple in Korean cuisine and readily available at most grocery stores.
4. Eat it with meat
Enjoying kimchi straight from the jar is delicious, but if you want to amp up the flavor even further, there are many ways you can use it in meaty dishes. It adds an irresistibly bright and crunchy crunchiness to everything from chicken or pork stews to grilled cheese sandwiches and crispy French toast.
For optimal flavor, ensure your kimchi has had time to ferment; this will determine its sourness and how much garlic or ginger you should use. Additionally, the type of kimchi you select will have an impact on what goes in it.
Make your own kimchi at home by adding vegetables and spices like garlic, ginger, red pepper flakes (gochugaru), green onions or sugar. The amount of salt and sugar used will also influence the final flavor.
Making your own kimchi is ideal, but if you lack the time or patience, your local Asian food store likely has it in stock. They come in various flavors from spicy to mild and are often added as a flavour enhancer or condiment in meaty dishes.
5. Eat it with vegetables
Kimchi is a versatile condiment that can be eaten on its own or combined with other vegetables. You can add it to salads, stews or even fried rice for some added flavor and crunch. With its tangy, spicy and savory notes, kimchi makes the perfect addition to your meals.
Make homemade kimchi from fresh vegetables such as cabbages and radishes; they’re easy to grow in cooler weather conditions.
Start by salting the vegetables, then mix in garlic, ginger, chili oil, green onions, gochugaru (Korean chile pepper flakes) and fish sauce. This will make the vegetables soft and tender.
Once you have your ingredients, pack them tightly into a fermentation vessel. Be sure to pack them firmly and leave no room for air bubbles to form; this is an often-made mistake by novice fermenters which could lead to unwanted bacteria growth or off-flavors emerging.
Fill a large jar or crock with the vegetables, leaving some space at the top for juices to escape. Cover with some of your reserved brine and press down firmly with either a fermentation weight or plate. Doing this will keep your vegetables submerged in brine and prevent mold growth from taking hold.
6. Eat it with noodles
Kimchi’s unique flavor combination of saltiness, tartness, and brightness make it a must-try when cooking. Try pairing one jar of kimchi with some ramen noodles or stir-fried vegetables for an effortless dinner that’s sure to please.
For a more substantial meal, you can add edamame or cooked tofu. Additionally, sprinkle some toasted sesame seeds on top for extra flavor.
When cooking kimchi, you can caramelize its inherent sugars and brown the fermented cabbage bits to give your noodles a richer, umami-packed sauce. Additionally, this process amplifies the sour funk of kimchi for an even more complex and intense sensory experience on your palate.