Tuesday, February 4, 2014


Are you getting enough good bacteria (probiotics) for healthy digestion? Yes, it's true, there is such thing as good bacteria to keep your body balanced. Processed foods, medicines and chemicals wreak havoc on our natural supply of this good bacteria in our gut.

Integrating fermented foods and beverages into your diet is necessary to help improve your digestion, strengthen your immunity, prevent diseases and fight inflammation.

Some fermented drinks and foods to include in your diet are kombucha, yogurt, kefir, miso soup, sauerkraut, pickles and kimchi.

I came across this recipe originally in the "Vegan Eats World" cookbook. It's simple to make and authentic tasting. Traditionally you use shrimp paste, but thankfully this isn't necessary. Without it, it definitely doesn't stink up your fridge like most kimchi. Napa cabbage is most commonly used, but I've tried daikon (Japanese radish), cucumbers, carrots and Brussels sprouts.

2 lbs napa cabbage, red cabbage, daikon (peeled), brussels sprouts and/or seedless cucumbers
1/3 cup fine sea salt
1/3 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup garlic, peeled and finely chopped
2" stem fresh ginger root, peeled and finely chopped
1/3 cup Korean red pepper powder (gochugaru 고추가루)
2 Tbsp sesame seeds
1 tsp GF brown rice syrup or turbinado sugar, optional 
1 carrot, peeled and julienned into matchstick slivers

  • Cut the cabbage leaves into 2.5" bite-sized pieces, the daikon into 1/4" thick rounds, trim the bottoms of the brussels sprouts and segment into quarter, and the cucumber into 3" long segments, then, lengthwise, into 6 or 8 pieces. Place all the cut vegetables into a large mixing bowl. Use a separate bowl, if making a red cabbage kimchi. The red cabbage is best prepared on its own, as the natural color would stain all the other veggies.
  • Sprinkle evenly with salt and rub it thoroughly into the leaves and over every surface of the vegetables well. Let sit for one hour. With brussels sprouts, add water to the salted vegetables (enough to cover) and let the brine do its work to get into all the crevices. 
  • Process the rice vinegar, garlic, ginger, red pepper powder, sesame seeds and sugar (if using), to make a thick paste. 
  • Rinse thoroughly with cold water and drain. Shake off as much liquid as possible, or even pat the veggies dry with a clean tea towel (dishcloth). Add the shredded carrot. 
  • Put the prepared vegetables into a gallon-sized ziploc. Add the spicy paste and massage the paste evenly through all the vegetables. You can use a plastic food preparation glove, or a smaller ziploc on your hand to do this, or even zip it up and massage the vegetables and paste together from the outside, using the gallon bag itself. 
  • When done, unzip slightly and press all the air out before sealing up the ziploc bag again. Leave out on a room temperature to ferment overnight (or in colder weather for 2 nights). 
  • Transfer to jars and keep refrigerated for up to 3 weeks. 

Salting the vegetables draws the water out and helps to retain crunchiness even afterfermentation.

No time to wait for fermenting? Then make a 
1 kohlrabi and some radishes, cut into matchsticks or 2 cups of shredded cabbage
(really any hearty vegetable will do)
A handful of green beans, cut into 1/4"segments
1 clove of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
2 teaspoons light sesame oil
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon brown rice syrup
1 teaspoon fresh lime juice 
1 Tablespoon Korean red pepper powder (gochugaru 고추가루)
1/2 teaspoon low-sodium tamari or soy sauce
Handful of unsalted peanuts or sesame seeds
1 teaspoon Coriander or parsley, finely chopped
  • Mix all all the ingredients together, tossing will. Refrigerate and let rest for 20 minutes before serving. 

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