Our family loves kimchi and my boys like snacking on fermented carrot sticks. Kimchi is a Lacto-fermented cabbage with added spices and vegetables like ginger, garlic, onions, green onions or chives, and others.
Kimchi is one of the best sources of probiotics which is essential for gut health. A healthy gut is essential for overall health since 70% of the immunity depends on gut flora. Kimchi is also a great source of calcium, beta-carotene, iron and vitamins A, B1, B2, and C.
About some of the ingredients
Cabbage. I use Napa (Chinese) Cabbage. It is possible to substitute Napa cabbage with regular cabbage, bok choy, green cabbage, but that will be a different fermented product.
Fish Sauce. Pay attention to the ingredients. You don’t want MSG in it. MSG (Monosodium Glutamate) has several synonyms. Naturally fermented fish sauce is the best. Fish sauce gives that special Korean taste to the kimchi.
Sweet Rice Flour. It is needed to make a thick paste which makes it easier to apply to the vegetables. I successfully substituted sweet rice flour with potato starch and gluten-free flours when I was out of the sweet rice flour.
- 3 pounds Napa Cabbage
- 1/4 cups Unrefined Sea Salt
- 1 pound Carrots
- 1 pound Daikon Radish
- 2 cups of filtered Water
- 2 Tablespoons of Sweet Rice Flour or 1 Tbsp Potato starch
- 1 Tbsp Cane sugar or any other (it will ferment, optional)
- 1/2 cup Chives or Green Onions
- 1/4 cup Garlic Cloves
- 2 teaspoon Ginger
- 1 medium Onion
- 1/4 cup Naturally-fermented Fish Sauce (MSG-free)
- 1/4-1 cup Hot Red Pepper Flakes (adjust the amount to your taste)
- Mix 2 cups of water, 2 Tbsp of sweet rice flour and 1 Tbsp of cane sugar. Put the mixture to the heat source and stir continuously until it thickens. Do not stop stirring as it may result in clumps. After it thickens and comes to a boil, remove from fire and let cool.
- Prepare the cabbage. Wash and cut the base of the cabbage in "+" form and split the cabbage from the base to four pieces using hands.
- Salt each layer of the cabbage. Leave for 30 minutes. The cabbage will soften and produce juice. Rinse the cabbage in cold water several times.
- Cut the carrots in 3'' stick size or as you prefer.
- Cut the radish into 1/2'' cubes, longer sticks, or long stripes.
- Blend peeled ginger, garlic cloves and onions in a food processor or blender into paste. Add it to the cooled rice flour water mixture.
- Add red pepper flakes, fish sauce, chopped green onions or chives to the rice flour mixture.
- The kimchi paste is ready.
- Spread the kimchi paste onto each cabbage leaf.
- Mix some of the kimchi paste to the carrot and radish sticks.
- Mix cabbage, carrots and radish together.
- Cover and leave for 2-3 days to ferment in room temperature.
- Check everyday and submerge the veggies in their own juice.
- After 2-3 days taste the kimchi. If it is fermented for your liking transfer to a fridge. Kimchi can be stored for a long time in the fridge (for about a few months).