I love fermented foods. The more I eat them the more I crave them – kombucha, miso, vegan cheeses, sauerkraut…They excite your gut bacteria until they’re positively bouncing. And then they want more. Which begs a question about freewill – is it you craving that food or your gut bacteria? But that’s a question for another time.
One of my favourite fermented foods is kimchi – spicy fermented cabbage. Yes, it honks, proper honks. Alex makes me store it in our garden shed! This is a really quick recipe adapted from BBC Good Food which is a bit of a cheat but an easy place to start with it. This is great with a stir fry, in gyoza dumplings or spring rolls, on chips or straight from the jar!
- 1 Chinese Cabbage
- 3+ garlic cloves crushed
- 1 inch+ ginger grated
- 2 tbsp vegan “fish” sauce (optional)
- 2 tbsp sriarcha chilli sauce
- 1 tbsp golden caster sugar or 1.5 tbsp coconut sugar
- 3 tbsp rice vinegar (white wine vinegar will do at a push)
- 8 radishes coarsely grated or a medium mooli cut into matchsticks
- 2 carrots cut into matchsticks or coarsely grated
- 4 spring onions finely shredded
1/ Slice the cabbage into 2.5cm strips. Tip into a bowl, mix with 1 tbsp sea salt, then set aside for 1 hr.
2/ Make the kimchi paste by blending the garlic, ginger, vegan fish sauce (if using), sriarcha sauce, sugar and rice vinegar together in a small bowl.
3/ Rinse the cabbage under cold running water, drain and dry thoroughly. Transfer to a large bowl and toss through the paste, along with the radishes, carrot and spring onions.
4/ Serve straight away or pack into a large jar (if you have a fermentation weight, push it onto the kimchi to allow moisture to cover it), seal and leave to ferment at room temperature overnight, then chill. This will keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. The flavour improves the longer it’s left.