What Is Kimchi and How to Make It? (Low-FODMAP)
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Kimchi, it’s being mentioned everywhere as a great source of probiotics for gut health. But what is it, exactly?
Kimchiis a fermented vegetable mix, in Korea it is eaten as a side dish. Because of the fermentation, the vegetables contain probiotics (healthy bacteria) and vitamins that the bacteria made during the fermentation, this is mainly vitamin K2. The fermentation also creates an acidic product that is easier to digest because the bacteria have already done part of the work.
Because the kimchi is not heated or processed, the bacteria that have done the fermentation remain in the product, which means you also eat them. This is a good addition to your healthy intestinal bacteria! (click here for my article on gut health and bacteria)
After reading a lot about kimchi, I got curious and have set myself to work in the kitchen! I chose an easy kimchi recipe, but there are many recipes and varieties to be found on the internet. Normally spicy peppers are also added, but I have not done that since I really do not like spicy food and pepper is not the best choice of food for IBS! But if you like them, you should definitely add them!
I also went fairly un-traditional with the vegetables and chose the ones that were available in the supermarket. So I ended with a bunch of radishes instead of daikon radish (a long white one). Later I found that long white radish at the Toko, so you can certainly look there if you want to make the kimchi! Furthermore, I have not added garlic to keep the whole low-FODMAP.
Also, the napa cabbage is low-FODMAP up to 75 grams, so keep track of your portion size!
I’m curious about your experience with kimchi! Have you ever made it yourself? Or did you eat it in Korea (or elsewhere)? Leave your experience behind in a comment!
Recipe by Positive Gut – positivegut.com
- 500 grams napa cabbage
- 75 grams sea salt Choose one that is not iodized!
- 1 teaspoon grated peeled fresh ginger
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 5-6 pieces radish or 100 grams daikon radish
- 150 g carrot
- Cutting board and knife
- Gloves if you don’t want your hands smelling like fish sauce
- Plate and something to weigh the kimchi down
- Weck jar
- Weck jar
- Cut the cabbage into 4 pieces lengthwise and make sure to cut the core from the bottom of each piece. Then cut each quarter into long 1 cm wide slices. Shorten the slices by either halving them or cutting them into 3 pieces.
- Put your sliced cabbage in a bowl and mix this with the salt. Firmly rub and squeeze the salt into the cabbage until this becomes a little soft and releases some water. Add some extra water to submerge all the cabbage and put something heavy on top to weigh it down. Leave this for about 90 minutes. After 90 minutes, put the cabbage in a strainer and rinse away the extra salt.
- Prepare the spice paste, add together the ginger, sugar and fish sauce and mix till it’s smooth.
- Slice the radishes and carrot into small slices
- Make sure the cabbage is properly strained and squeeze the extra water out of it. Combine the cabbage and the spice paste together and add the radish and carrot. Mix thoroughly.
- Put the kimchi mixture into the weck jar and make sure to pack it firmly together. I used my fist to ‘stamp’ it together, but a mortar will also do the job. Make sure the kimchi is completely submerged in the water (I also used a rock to weigh it down) and to have at least 5 cm of air at the top of your jar. Since the kimchi is going to ferment and bubble. This limits the chance of overflow.
- Seal your jar, and let the kimchi ferment for 1 to 4 days. Make sure it is in a cool place and out of direct sunlight. In my last picture I let it ferment 6 days, and I would say mine is a little over fermented (which is why the top looks a little brown). Around 3 days I had a taste of mine at it tasted great. Make sure to check on your kimchi every day.
- If there’s still a lot of bubbles at the top, the fermenting is taking place. As long as it does not have any funghi, smells off (it’s supposed to smell sour) or looks weird, you can have a taste from day 2-3 to see if you like it. If you like the taste of your kimchi, put it in the fridge and keep cool. The cold will stop the fermentation and you can keep your kimchi for at least a month.
Hi there, I’m Manon.
In my daily life I work as a registered dietitian in the Netherlands with a special interest in gut health.
During my workday I get loads of questions about healthy food, recipes and lifestyle to make it a little easier to get healthy. On Positive Gut I collect my best recommendations, tips and recipes to make your healthy lifestyle a little easier!