Kimchi: Recipes And Health Benefits Of Everyone's Favourite Fermented Food

Why You Should Be Eating Kimchi

Fermented foods seem to be on everyone's lips recently, especially the national dish of Korea, kimchi (or kimchee).

Celebrity chef Gizzi Erksine loves the stuff - her cat's even called Kimchi - and restaurants such as Holborn's KIMCHEE seem to be popping up all over the country.

That aside, it's also ridiculously good for you. We thought it was about time we found out all about the dish.

What Is Kimchi?

"An oriental version of sauerkraut, kimchi is a pungent blend of fermented cabbage, radish, red chillies, garlic and salt," explains Tipper Lewis, head herbalist at Neal’s Yard Remedies.

Although kimchi may have gained the approval of foodies and hipsters only recently, the dish is has been used in Korea for centuries.

Health Benefits:

Kimchi is high in fibre but low in calories, making it a fantastic healthy side dish.

It's also high in vitamins A, B1, B2, calcium and iron and has been linked to cutting the risk of cancer and heart disease.

"The anti-cancer and heart-healthy benefits in kimchi derive from the many nutrients in the cruciferous cabbage," Lewis adds.

"The mixture of spices and beneficial bacteria in kimchi is also powerfully anti-microbial against harmful bacteria such as Helicobacter pylori, Shigella sonnei and Listeria monocytogenes."

The biochemical process of fermentation in foods also encourages the growth of friendly bacteria that help maintain a healthy gut.

Healthy and balanced intestinal flora is also a way of preventing intestinal disorders.

The Downside:

Depending on the blend of vegetables in your kimchi, cooking with the ingredient can emit a pretty potent smell.

Blogging on HuffPost Health And Fitness, Grace Suh writes: "Being Korean American, I grew up eating numerous fermented vegetables like kimchi.

'What reeks?' my friends would whisper whenever they visited my house as a child.

'Kimchi soup,' I would sheepishly reply, recalling the many times my mom and grandmother made this pungent vegetable.

"I would attempt to mask the embarrassing smell by opening windows and tightly shutting closet doors, but the aroma insisted on wafting through the house anyway."

How To Use:

There are 187 varieties of kimchi and each family has their own recipe. You can buy kimchi already made from a variety of health food stores and supermarkets. Or you can try and make your own.

Once you've got your hands on some, mix it with rice, stews, and even grilled cheese!

Check out the slideshow for recipe ideas: