I watched the Earth episode on Cooked on Netflix the other day and the episode talked about fermentation and its important role for humans. It was a great episode as I didn’t know much about fermented foods other than it’s good for you. It’s everywhere. Did you know that cocoa is a product of fermentation? I honestly had no idea! It was a great episode, I hope you watch it and let me know what you thought of it.
On the talks of fermentation, I am here to bring you a fermented recipe, it’s crunchy, spicy, full of umami and depth of flavour that I can’t describe. Kimchi has always been my favourite side dish whenever I go to a Korean restaurant, but I never had the confidence to make it myself. In Korea, they would harvest the cabbage in the fall and make kimchi with it, but bury it in the ground for a couple of months. I don’t know why sour cabbage in the ground for a couple of months appeal to me, but kimchi always had a special place in my heart. To the point that I wanted to make my own because buying kimchi from the supermarket is EXPENSIVE. Especially for the amount that I eat, I really couldn’t justify the cost. I wanted to make my own but my past roommate had an issue with allowing me to ferment things in the apartment for fear of mold growing or something, so I never got to try it until I moved into my own place! It’s not as difficult as it seems, it’s fairly easy to make, but a little long because you have to salt the napa cabbage and wait for the cabbage to wilt a little. Other than that, it’s just chop chop chop and mix!
But wait, why are we allowing fermented foods since the first letter of FODMAPs is Fermentable? In this case, it’s ok because the fermentation is being done outside your body through a process called lactic acid fermentation. It’s where sugars like glucose are converted into lactic acid by bacteria. It explains the sour like taste you experience in kimchi. So essentially, the bacteria have broken down the sugars in the kimchi allowing it to be a lot easier for your gut to digest. Also, kimchi also contains probiotics which are nourishing for your gut. Sometimes I find that whenever my gut lacks probiotics, my IBS symptoms are much worse so keeping my probiotic numbers high make my days easier as they help to break down the food in my system.
Whenever I make kimchi, I make a huge tupperware full (12lbs worth!) of kimchi so I can eat a little bit everyday and have it last a long time. Unfortunately, it’s been a week and I’m already 40% left as Josh loves it and will eat a ton for breakfast when he comes to visit me! I can’t blame him, this stuff is really good!
Yields 10-12 lbs of kimchi
A low FODMAP recipe for kimchi. A great way to add probiotics to your system as opposed to pills. It's crunchy, spicy, full of umami and overall helps your immune system.
2 hr, 30 Prep Time
2 hr, 30 Total Time
- 5 pounds napa cabbage
- 1/2 cup sea salt
- 1/4 cup glutinous rice flour
- 1 1/2 cups of water
- 1/4 cup sugar mixed in 1/4 cup warm water
- 1/2 cup fish sauce (use soy sauce or tamari if vegetarian/vegan/gluten intolerant)
- 1/2 cup garlic cloves
- 1 tablespoon of ginger
- 1/4 cup salted shrimp with juice (omit if vegetarian/vegan)
- 1 1/4 cups of red pepper flakes
- 2 cups shredded carrot
- 2 cups shredded daikon radish
- 2 bunches of green onions, green parts and white parts separated
- Rinse the napa cabbage and chop into bite sized pieces. Then sprinkle salt on top of all of the cabbage pieces. Make sure that each leaf is coated. You can leave the salted cabbage for two hours or you can turn it every 30 minutes to make sure that the salt is coated on every leaf.
- While you wait for your cabbage to salt, mix the glutinous rice flour with water and put it in a saucepan to achieve a rolling boil. Add the sugar water mixture in and wait for it to thicken slightly. Remove from the heat and let it cool.
- While the rice porridge is cooling, add the garlic, fish sauce, ginger, white part of the green onions, salted shrimp and its juice into a food processor. Process until you get a paste. Mix this with your cooled down porridge. Add the hot pepper flakes. Mix.
- Start shredding your carrots and daikon radish into matchsticks by using a julienne peeler or doing it manually. Cut the green parts into 1 pieces.
- Mix the vegetables into the kimchi paste.
- Once the cabbage is done salting, rinse multiple times to remove any dirt and remaining salt. Drain thoroughly. Then mix with the kimchi paste.
- When storing it, make sure to remove any air bubbles by pressing down on the kimchi as you are filling the container/jar. You need to make sure it's in an environment free of oxygen. If you still have air space, use plastic wrap and press down on the kimchi to void as much oxygen touching the kimchi as possible.
- You can eat this right away if you want fresh kimchi. The fermentation process will take 1-2 days in the fridge so be patient. If you leave it out on a counter it will ferment quickly and be more sour (if you like it that way, go for it!)
If it's your first time eating kimchi, please be aware that your body will need a couple of days to get used to it. You might experience discomfort for the first couple of days. Please do not be discouraged.