I Live In Korea

My name is Ben Gwynne. I USED to teach English in Incheon, South Korea. Here's some photos, stories, videos, etc.

Kimchi is pickled cabbage covered with hot pepper sauce and it is the most popular dish in Korea. Health Magazine named it one of the 5 healthiest foods in the world, and also claim that the average Korean eats 40 pounds a year of it. How is it possible to eat 40 pounds of cabbage a year? Well, you eat it for breakfast lunch and dinner. Mmmm.

Kimchi is high in fiber, low in fat, and packed with vitamins that kill bacteria. Koreans are very prideful about the health impacts of kimchi, which causes them to make up outrageous claims like kimchi will prevent people from getting the Bird Flu. I'm not kidding. When Bird Flu was 'in', you know, before Swing Flu, people here thought kimchi would cure and/or prevent people from getting the flu. Sales of kimchi skyrocketed during that period, and an air condition manufacturer even made an air conditioner, "equipped with a filter made out of kimchi that destroys the killer bird flu virus." True story!

I may have gotten ahead of myself, some people might not know what 'pickling' entails…

Pickling is a method of preserving food, it is done so by keeping a food item in vinegar, or covering it with salt. This prevents the food from going bad for a very, very long time. Sounds gross right? Do you like pickles? Well, they are not a vegetable, they are 'pickled' cucumbers. Moving on...

There's nearly 200 types of kimchi, but the basic ingredients are cabbage, salt and hot pepper sauce. You can also make it with onions, spices, etc. Kimchi may sound gross to you, and a lot of people I know who are not from Korea that like eating ethnic food don't even dig kimchi, but I have no problem with it and eat it everyday (only at lunch or dinner, never breakfast). It's part of the culture here so I feel like it's something everyone should at least be willing to try on occasion.

Kimchi has been around for nearly 3,000 years, so it’s a strong element of their culture. People even say "kimchi" when taking a picture, not "cheese." Most importantly, the process of making kimchi is an annual event in which the entire family participates in making kimchi before the winter comes and a lot of the cabbage crops go bad. This happens around early November. One weekend I asked my students what they were up to, and they all replied "making kimchi with my family," so I felt like it was a pretty big deal. I get the perception that you're not a true Korean if you buy your kimchi pre-made. I guess it would be like an Italian in Italy buying Ragu? Or a redneck buying KFC and not slow-roasting a hog for 20 hours on 200 degrees? Just kidding rednecks!

So, when one of my friends at the gym I go to told me he was making kimchi with his family, I asked him to take pictures so I could share with people on my blog. Here is a step by step guide with pictures on how to make kimchi...


Step One: Buy A Ridiculous Amount Of Cabbage (50 heads for this family)

Step Two: Peal Off Some Of The Outer Leaves
(which I guess aren’t as fresh and capable of being preserved)

Step Three: Chop It Into Smaller Pieces
Step Four: Throw Them In Buckets And Cover With
Salt (lots)
, And Let Sit (usually overnight) Step Five: Assemble Together All Other Vegetables You Will Use Step Six: Chop Those Up Step

Seven: Mix All Those Chopped Vegetables Together

Step Eight: Rinse Off Cabbage In Buckets Of Water


Step Nine: Mix Vegetables And Red Pepper Sauce
Together, Apply Layers Of It To Each Cabbage Leaf


Step Ten: Preserve Kimchi In Stone Jars

There you go. You now have enough kimchi to last your family to the spring. This is more than a full day affair if you let the cabbage pickle in the salt overnight. It involves a lot of sitting Indian style, and most people come into school/work/gym on Monday after that weekend feeling a little soar. Me? I just eat it up. Here's the final product...


25 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dear Author iliveinkorea.blogspot.com !
Certainly. So happens. Let's discuss this question. Here or in PM.

Anonymous said...

this is a fairly accurate description on how to make kimchi

Ben Gwynne said...

feel free to post here or contact me via email, my address is on the homepage of my blog where it says EMAIL ME NOW

Mira said...

hey..i love your blog, it's very interesting.(I'd love to visit Korea, that's why I'm reading it btw xD)
...I live in Croatia( Europe ) and we also eat pickled cabbage, we make it the same way as koreans do we just don't use red pepper sauce, instead we use chopped peppers. My mom told me that pickled cabbage does come from asian culture, and nobody knows when and how it became a tradition here in Croatia. I'm gonna suggest that we make it korean way this year xD

(sorry for my bad english)

Ben Gwynne said...

Thanks Mira. I've been to Croatia before, I guess I didn't know that and never tried it while I was there, maybe next time I go!

p.s. your English is great

Mira said...

xD..well if you ever come to Croatia again, visit eastern parts (Slavonija) and ask for "kiseli kupus" ;)

Ben Gwynne said...

I better make it back there. I didn't even get to enjoy the beaches!

Anonymous said...

You spelled sore wrong. Soar is what birds and kites do in the sky. kekeke ^-^

Ben Gwynne said...

Whoops, well, it's not like I'm an english teacher

Anonymous said...

Can you explain how to make the red pepper sauce??

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I don't know how :(

aida said...

Thanks..Your pictures are worth more than words!I've had this big question mark in my head when i first saw the word 'kimchi' in an add on health food ( i like to know what i'll be eating...)

Anonymous said...

Glad you enjoyed it. Kimchi is delicious. Try it out!!!

- BG

Anonymous said...

Mmmmm. spicy sauerkraut

Anonymous said...

Preserve on stone jars? Do they put anything liquid to preserve?

Anonymous said...

In stone jars is what I meant to type.

Anonymous said...

Sounds yummy I think I will try to make or find some pre made. ;)

Anonymous said...

I think they do stone/clay pot jars, but you might be able to use glass jars. Sorry, can't help with that. It is good though and I hope you try!

bg

x said...

I have read that kimchi is an awesome source of probiotics. However, I do not like anything vinegar. Does using salt make it less vinegary or does it end up tasting like saur kraut? I like fresh cabage & sauted so I'm very curious.

Random FYI: The white film that's most visible on purple cabage is natural yeast & can be used to jump start sourdough bread w/o any other forms of yeast.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I haven't made it actually, that was a friend of mine. Just try making it on your own and put in how much you want. Kimchi is delicious, I hope you try it!

Thanks for the tip!!!

Anonymous said...

I love your article of kimchi I going to try to make it myself a lo latino . Gracias :thanks

Anonymous said...

Homaigod! It was really awesome :) Kamsahamnida !

Anonymous said...

Can I use regular cabbage. I have a huge garden and I plan on growing lots of cabbage this year but I don't have nappa seeds. Am I able to use any variety of cabbage .

Anonymous said...

Hmmm. Not sure..I'm sure it will be just fine, give it a shot and let me know!

bg

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