Having my own kimchi recipe helps me control what goes into my soup, and into my body. While it takes a little time, it is very simple.
Why I have my own kimchi recipe
A huge part of my failure to control my diet and my weight is my ignorance of what is in my food.
I have never really known how much sugar, starch, salt, or fat I consume on an average basis. If it was in the dish and it tasted good, I ate it. Often times lots of it.
Only when I make a dish from scratch can I really know what goes into it. It can make me respect the dish for its health benefits, or adjust the recipe to counter negative factors.
My kimchi soup diet and my upcoming cabbage salad diet require me to know what I’m fueling my system with. That why I have to have a reliable recipe to create these foods from scratch.
I have my own kimchi recipe because of what we don’t know about our food
People around the world are eating more and more processed foods from commercial sources. Companies that seek to grab and hold market dominance are frequently reluctant to let their customers know all the components in the products they create. Labeling laws are becoming stricter to counter big food processors efforts to obscure the ingredients in our foods.
The basic consumer is often at a loss to know or understand what is in the foods they are eating and feeding to their families. Recommended Daily Allowances and per-serving measurements make it deliberately difficult to know if even the healthy foods you are eating are actually benefiting you.
The benefits of convenience, variety, and cost will be short-lived if we are not taking the time to understand how our food is mislabeled and misrepresented to us.
Selecting vegetables for kimchi
I should, I’m sure, be using pure and organic vegetables for my kimchi. I believe that one day I will. Right now, however, I go to the local international market for what I need.
I mix the recipe up a little, but I stay very close to the basics. I buy one or two heads of young Chinese or Nappa cabbage, a daikon radish, a bunch of green onions, some fresh ginger and some fresh garlic. Occasionally I’ll mix it up by adding carrots or kale or leeks.
I get everything home and give it a good wash, peel it, cut it, and prep it.
My kimchi recipe process
It usually takes me about a week to make my kimchi recipe. Since it is a fermented dish so there is a period of time where it sets and brews.
First I chop up the vegetables. I cut the cabbage into big, 1-inch chunks, the daikon into matchsticks, and the green onions into 1-inch pieces. Then I peel and mince the ginger and the garlic. Everything stays refrigerated until I need it.
In a large bowl, I sprinkle sea salt over the cabbage and give it a good toss. I let it set in the fridge for 3-4 hours. The salt seasons and breaks down the cell walls of the cabbage, rendering it more digestible.
While that is happening I pull out my food processor and make a paste from the daikon, ginger, garlic, some salted shrimp, some anchovy sauce, a little honey (we are talking about a tablespoon here), and gochugaru, a uniquely Korean red pepper chili powder. It is bright red and hot as hell, so I measure that in by the tablespoon.
Out comes the cabbage and I strain and rinse it under cold water a few times until the excess salt is gone. I either squeeze or spin all the excess water I can out of the cabbage.
The cabbage goes back into the large bowl, and the cut green onions and radish paste goes in on top. I wear latex gloves for this next part because the chili powder can actually burn the more thin and sensitive parts of the hands and fingers. I toss and mix the cabbage thoroughly with the paste.
Setting up the kimchi to ferment
Next, I transfer the cabbage mix into a pair of half-gallon, wide-mouth, glass mason jars. I mush the mixture down really well and then put a layer of plastic over the top, secured loosely by a rubber band. This lets the gases from the fermentation process escape while keeping unwanted bugs and bacteria out.
At this point, my kimchi recipe is ready to consume, but I want some of the digestive benefits from the lactobacillic fermentation so I let the jars sit on the counter at room temperature for 24 hours. The next day I transfer them to my spare refrigerator so the mix can continue fermenting, just more slowly. After about 4 -6 days in the fridge, I start using the kimchi in my diet, and I try to use it all up within 14 days.
Benefits of kimchi soup
The jury on the benefits of bone broth might still be out, but the benefits of kimchi are well-documented.
- Cabbage is full of non-soluble fiber, so eating it helps with digestion, weight management, and colon health.
- Lactobacilli from fermentation are known to improve gut flora and help with the body’s immune system.
- Consumption of kimchi has been shown to lower bad cholesterol.
- The spice of chili peppers boosts the body’s metabolism.
- No fat and practically no processed sugar.
- Contains compounds that may prevent the growth of cancer.
There is some concern over the amount of salt in kimchi, but when it is not eaten to excess, the risk in minimal and nearly the same as with any seasoned food.
I know what I am eating now
It is not possible to control every aspect of my diet with 100% confidence. Living in a modern world I just cannot verify everything in terms of what I am consuming.
But I can do so much more now by being aware of what is in my diet. The responsibility lies with me. And while I cannot live in a perfect world with a perfect diet, I can vastly improve my daily consumption. I can take charge of what I eat, and understand where it comes from and how it is made.
That is why I am choosing to make my own home-brewed bone broth and home fermented kimchi.