Magazine article Vegetarian Times

Kimchi

Magazine article Vegetarian Times

Kimchi

Article excerpt

What's so hot about Korea's signature pickled dish

HOW IT HEALS

If you've ever tried Korean food, you probably know kimchi. The pungent pickled vegetable dish- often served at mealtime with a creaming bowl oí rice- has an age-old reputation in Korea for boosting longevity. Developed as a way to preserve perishables over the harsh winter months, kimchi was traditionally stored in earthenware jars and buried underground. Nowadays, most of the fermentation occurs under refrigerated conditions, but the health benefits endure. Studies show that aged kimchi helps lower blood pressure and cholesterol; it also has di sea se -fighting antioxidants and digestion-aiding probiotic bacteria similar to those in yogurt.

AJthough a number of veggies, including radish, bok choy, cucumber, and turnip, can be used to make kimchi, napa cabbage is usually the star of the show. "Napa cabbage leaves soak up flavors particularly well," says Debbie Lee, chef and author of Seoullown Kitchen: Korean Pub Grub io Share with Family and Friends. A good kimchi tastes equal parts sweet, salty, sour, and spicy, she notes: "The longer the vegetables ferment, the more pronounced the flavor.'

EATITUP

Korea boasts hundreds of varieties of kimchi, which can be eaten alone or used in recipes. "Kirnchi that has only fermented for a few days is best enjoyed raw, whereas st ronger- flavo red, aged kimchi is the type blended into cooked dishes," explains Lee. While lcimchi is a popular addition to stir-fries and bibimfaap - a Korean rìce-and-veggie specialty- it can gussy up Western dishes too. Lee suggests using it in aïolis, salsas, slaws, and citrus vinaigrettes. Also try ft in grilled cheese sandwiches and quesadillas, or as a topping for veggie burgers and tacos. For a quick hors d'oeuvre, place a spoonful of kimchi at the root end of a large cabbage leaf; roll to the end, slice in half, and top with toasted sesame seeds. …

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