I’ve been on a fermented food kick lately. It started with pickles. I made a few batches several months ago and immediately noticed an increase in my energy when I ate them. After feeling really sluggish the past year or so, this instant pick-me-up left me wanting more. Next, I sought out a SCOBY to get back into continuous brewing kombucha. It’s been a couple years since I last brewed, and I am really not sure why I ever quit!
I’ve been on the booch for about 2 months now, and holy cow, I think this change is here for good! When I drink kombucha first thing in the morning (which is when my body craves it), I feel clear headed and energized. Better energy than I could ever get from coffee or some chemical energy drink. (Coffee makes me jittery, anxious, and panicky.. And I stopped drinking chemicals ages ago for health reasons. Mostly, I felt like they were going to make my heart explode!) Aside from this clean energy, I feel like I am digesting my food better and getting deeper sleep at night. The effects have been great and as a bonus, the taste is just delicious!
Since I’ve caught the fermenting bug again, I’ve joined various fermentation groups on Facebook. These groups are just awesome! It’s a place where a bunch of weirdo foodies like me can express our love and share our recipes of yummy aged concoctions! It’s fun and a little addicting. Thanks to these groups, I am dying to try my hand at brewing Jun (a fermented drink similar to kombucha, but it’s made with green tea and honey instead of black tea with sugar) and am anxiously awaiting the end of next month when my fermented honey garlic will be ready to eat!
One of my all-time favorite ferments is Korean kimchi. I love spicy foods and kimchi really fits the bill. However, traditional kimchi is not vegetarian (it usually contains either fish sauce or salted dried shrimp), so I typically have to make it myself. I don’t mind though, because it’s relatively simple to make and really worth the time & effort!
Not Quite Traditional Vegan Kimchi
All ingredients are organic & local (if possible).
- 1 head Napa cabbage (You can really use any kind of cabbage. I love using red cabbage, too!)
- 1/2 cup sea salt
- filtered H2O
Chop the cabbage, place in a large bowl, and coat evenly with sea salt. Add enough filtered water to cover the cabbage. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel. Allow to sit at room temperature 24-48 hours. Drain and rinse cabbage well. Shake dry and add to a large bowl. Add the following ingredients:
- 3 large daikon radishes (shredded, I used my food processor)
- 6 rainbow carrots (2 of each color: red, orange, yellow; shredded)
- 4 green onions (diced)
- 1 sm yellow onion (diced)
- 6 cloves garlic (minced)
- 2 inch knob of fresh garlic (minced)
- 2 habanero peppers (sliced)
- 3 tbs hot red pepper flakes
- generous sprinkle of cayenne pepper
- 1/4 cup Garlic Chili Paste (prepared condiment from the Asian section of your grocery store)
- 2-3 tbs tamari
- 1/4 cup filtered H2O
- 2 tbs turbinado sugar
Traditional kimchi calls for a special Korean pepper called “Gochugaru.” Unfortunately, they did not have this at my health food store, and I was too impatient to order it online. Therefore, I substituted with the habanero/cayenne/red pepper flakes and the kimchi is lacking the traditional bright red coloring. Next time, I intend to use the proper Korean pepper flakes. ;)
You will want to wear gloves and use your hands to distribute the ingredients evenly. Pack mixture tightly into quart sized jars and make sure there is enough liquid on top to cover all of the ingredients. Leave at least 1 inch of head space at the top of each jar. You can now cover loosely with the lid or use an airlock device. Let sit at room temperature for 3 days minimum (I keep mine in a bowl or Tupperware in case of leakage). At 3 days, taste your kimchi. If you’d like it a bit more sour, you can leave it a couple more days at room temp. Otherwise, you can move it to your fridge and start eating it!
Aside from eating it straight from the jar, I love to eat kimchi in soup or atop Asian style noodles. It is also delicious in quesadillas or grilled cheese sandwiches (trust me on this). It’s also great on top of water crackers with goat cheese. However you decide to eat yours, I truly hope you enjoy it!! :D