Monday, 06 March 2017 21:40

Cooking ancient, traditional food for modern-day health

Jaehee Yi mixes the ingredients for kimchi in her Rose Park kitchen. Photo by Gabriela Cetrola|Jaehee Yi mixes the ingredients for kimchi in her Rose Park kitchen. Photo by Gabriela Cetrola||| Jaehee Yi mixes the ingredients for kimchi in her Rose Park kitchen. Photo by Gabriela Cetrola|Jaehee Yi mixes the ingredients for kimchi in her Rose Park kitchen. Photo by Gabriela Cetrola||| ||||

by Jaehee Yi

I was born and raised in Korea. I started cooking, I mean seriously cooking for family, at about 8 years old with a keen interest in food and its preparation. As I grew up I took as many cooking classes as my time allowed – from baking to Korean Royal Palace cooking. Before I came to the United States in 2003, I agonized over two options: pursuing a Master’s of Social Work in the U.S .or attending culinary school in France. Well, I came to the U.S., obtained the MSW degree, and now I am a professor at the University of Utah’s College of Social Work, but my personal passion is still physical and spiritual healing through food.

Living in the U.S., I have learned how to cook Western food, but I always go back to the traditional food that I learned from my mom and grandma. I am so happy to share a recipe for Korean Cabbage Kimchi, which is Korea’s signature fermented dish and touted for its health benefits.

There are many legends about how Korean Kimchi started. About 3,000 years ago, an ancient dish that was similar to the current form of Kimchi was mentioned in a book, but who knows, it is possible that Kimchi was already made well before written language was used.

In the United States, Korean Kimchi brings an image of red cabbage, however, there are about 100 different kinds of Kimchi. Koreans eat Kimchi in every meal, fresh, or as an ingredient for dishes. Kimchi’s health benefit began to gain attraction in 2002 when the SARS infection was widespread throughout the globe. China and Japan were heavily hit by the epidemic, but Korea, which is located between the two countries, did not have anyone affected. These days, you can find Kimchi in Smith’s, Trader Joe’s, Whole Food Market, and other major grocery stores. But, homemade is always THE best. Here is a simple recipe you can try today. You won’t ever need probiotics supplements, if you eat Kimchi regularly.

Korean Kimchi Recipe

Ingredients:

1. 1 big Nappa cabbage (Most major food stores have them. Choose one that is similar in size to a small loaf of sandwich bread.)

2. 3 C Korean ground chili pepper (Make sure to buy chili powder for Kimchi in a Korean market.)

3. 1 head of garlic

4. Half of an onion (white or yellow)

5. 2½ C Sea salt (2 C for soaking + ½ C)

6. 2 Tb sugar

7. 2 Tb fish sauce (Any kind of fish sauce is good from an Asian market. Omit this for a vegan recipe.)

8. 3 Tb cooked rice (Sticky rice is better, but any rice would work.)

9. One bunch of chopped green onion

Instructions:

1. Cut a Nappa cabbage in bite sizes and put them in a big bowl.

2. Sprinkle 2 C sea salt onto the cut cabbage and mix well. Keep them soaked for half a day, mixing well every hour.

3. Rinse the salted cabbage in cold water.

4. Blend chili pepper, garlic, onion, ½ C salt, sugar, fish sauce, cooked rice, 1 cup water

5. Mix the chili mix, cabbage, green onion well and put them into a glass container.

6. Keep the fresh Kimchi at room temperature until you begin to see bubbly fermentation action.

7. Keep Kimchi refrigerated for about two weeks and then start to eat. When it gets too sour, you can make a delicious Kimchi stew.

Keep making Kimchi and adjust the ingredients according to your desire for spiciness and saltiness. Enjoy!