Your first jar of kimchi
What the Heck Do You Do With It?
You’re doing your hourly routine of checking the fridge for something to eat, and you notice a colourful jar on the top shelf that you picked up from the Farmer’s Market the other day. Or maybe it’s been sitting there for a few months and has been pushed to the back in a tide of tupperware leftovers. (Don’t worry, it’s still good!) Or maybe you got it as a gift from a friend, because you’re the adventurous one who likes to try new things.
What you’re looking at is Kimchi (more info), a dish made primarily of spicy fermented chinese cabbage that is finally starting to take its rightful place as one of the most popular health foods. Always conscious about improving your eating habits, you are eager to try it out, but you have no idea what you’re supposed to do with it. Do you eat it straight?, Do you use it as a condiment? Do you use it as a side?
Well, fret no more! We are here to guide you through your first jar of kimchi. (your first of many!) This series will introduce you to all of the wonderful ways in which kimchi can be incorporated into your regular meals. So let’s begin!
Getting acquainted with Kimchi
Our journey begins with a general meet-and-greet, where we try a small sample straight from the jar. Your kimchi is never going to be fresher than it is right now, so let’s experience the flavour to the fullest. For some people, kimchi is an acquired taste, so we are going to start small so that we don’t scare anyone off. Grab a small bowl and scoop in two tablespoons of kimchi. Notice there are a lot of different vegetables in the mix, some of which you might not recognize. That’s okay for now, as we will be getting well-acquainted (although it’s a good idea to read the ingredients list to check for allergies). Try to get a little bit of everything in your bowl. There’s a good chance you may get hooked right off the bat, and we don’t want to deprive you of all the delicious recipes we have in store, so maybe close the jar and put the rest in the fridge.
Love at first bite?
Any proper relationship starts with a proper introduction. So go ahead and introduce yourself to the kimchi. Say “Hello Kimchi! my name is ‘blank’. It’s nice to meet you. I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my life, and I hope that meeting you isn’t one of them!” Ignore any concerning stares by family members and household pets (unless they’re in immediate danger). Feel free to turn off all electronic devices that might be listening in if you don’t want to get targeted ads for kimchi next time you’re on social media (just kidding, it’s far too late for that).
Now take a bite out of your new friend. The cabbage is the main event, but try to get a little bit of everything on your first bite. Try to taste each of the different ingredients — the garlic, the ginger, the carrot, the radish. Now try sampling different combinations of the individual ingredients or try each one on its own. Which is your favourite? Maybe you’re a cabbage purist, or maybe you like the unique kick from the ginger. Anyways, congrats! You’ve just started (or re-kindled) a zesty new relationship that will put you on the path to better health.
" I've made a lot of mistakes in my life, and I hope that meeting you isn't one of them!"
If the taste is too strong, try following it up with something starchy, like rice, bread, or potatoes. Or have some dessert! I know, I know — one of our goals here is health, but this is a milestone, so we can reward ourselves with something small. And if we keep at it, pretty soon kimchi will be the reward! Like many foods, it might take a few tries to get used to kimchi. Or maybe you just need to find the right food to eat it with. Either way, we’ve got you covered. This series will introduce you to some of the different ways you can eat kimchi. In the meantime, feel free to experiment with your own ideas, or keep eating it on its own (at least save some for our future recipes).
Want some more delicious kimchi? Click here!
Written by Regan Meloche