Photo credit: Tess Ward – The Naked Diet
Put down the blueberries and step away from the chia-seed-peanut-butter-green-spinach-soya-almond-milk-matcha lattes. Your Instagram feed will soon be going green – rather not from kale smoothies, but from envy of this new upcoming hailed super foods, Kimchi – dubbed as a ‘natural medicine’
Kimchi is a spicy condiment which originates from Korea, commonly used within many Asian-based dishes.
WHAT IS IT THOUGH?
As part of the laco-fermented food and probiotics family – foods which have healthy bacteria – kimchi is a pickled and spicy combination of naturally fermenting cabbage, radish, garlic, red peppers, onions and salt, and has a strong chili kick of flavour. It packs a punch with taste and can vary in spiciness; the bold taste deriving from the garlic.
Given the heightened nutritional and health benefits of this new superfood, there are numerous variations of the condiment – including vegan alternatives with added vegetables, some with fruits and sugars including apple and pear, and those with little or no fiery taste.
THE FACTS: It is the national dish of Korea and has been a staple of their food since ages
Provider of probiotics, antioxidants, as well as vitamins and flavanoids
Rich in powerful antioxidants along with phenols and flavonoids, kimchi offers protection against oxidative damage and shield the body from the harmful effects of oxygen free radicals.
High source of dietary fibre
The naturally high source of fibre content present in kimchi also assists in stabilizing the bowel movements, preventing constipation.
Supports immune system
The variety of ingredients including ginger, garlic, peppers involved in the preparations of kimchi are renowned for their beneficial effect on the immune system. They help in fighting infections and are valuable in curing cold and flu symptoms.
Due to the process of fermentation involved in its preparation, kimchi is a source of probiotics (healthy bacteria) required by the body to keep a healthy state of intestinal flora. Made from cabbage which is already well known for its detoxification qualities and helps the body in getting rid of the wastes and toxins it is a double wammy when it comes to supporting digestion, cleaning up the intestines and stimulating better assimilation of nutrients in the body.
HOW TO ENJOY :
There is a high diversity with the use of kimchi: it can be eaten as its own meal, used within starch-based dishes such as rice or noodles for added bold taste, or as its most common use being a condiment or topping. That said, you really get more for your money. Despite its versatility, it’s best served cold; fermented foods lose all their benefits and probiotic goodness when heated. Additionally, as with all fermented foods, it packs a potent smell which may be unappealing to some – for first taste-testers, ensure you start with a small tablespoon serving to adjust to the pungent smell, as well as spice and taste.
WHERE CAN I GET IT?
This spicy condiment is growing in accessibility – kimchi is slowly making its way as a common addition to many restaurant menus (Vantra Vitao near Tottenham Court Station does a killer kimchi addition to their fresh salad range), as well as being easy to purchase and locate at local grocery stores. If purchasing within your weekly grocery shop, ensure you grab cold-packaged kimchi from the refrigerated section. Given the simple ingredients, kimchi is also an easy make-at-home recipe – which is beneficial as you can personally determine how much spiciness you’re after, as well as avoiding any nasty additives or artificial flavourings which tend to be added into many Asian condiments. Check out Tess Ward’s Kimchi Recipe here