Let’s Talk Kimchi

Let’s Talk Kimchi

According to the Encyclopedia Britannica there are over 200 different types of kimchi.  Most people are familiar with the spicy cabbage often seen in K-Dramas and at your local Korean barbecue joint. It’s versatile, this spicy cabbage, and often eaten at every meal as it’s easily paired with simple white rice or in our favorite kimchi fried rice. However, like mentioned in the Encyclopedia Britannica, there is a whole world of kimchi many of us aren't familiar with.

Let's talk about a couple types of kimchi you might encounter.

First, let's discuss that oh so familiar cabbage kimchi called Baechu-kimchi. This kimchi is made from pickled napa cabbage. Between the leaves of the pickled cabbage are a mixture of ingredients, including red pepper flakes which give the kimchi its familiar red color. It is left to ferment either in the ground in one’s backyard or in a kimchi refrigerator.

Next, let’s talk about Kkakdugi, which is cubed radish kimchi. This dish is often made with the same ingredients as the Baechu-kimchi, though prepared with cubed Korean radish called Mu instead. This kimchi is both juicy and crunchy, and you can pair it with almost anything, though more or less you will often see it paired with oxtail soup!

 An example of jarred napa kimchi sold at Walmart.

An example of jarred napa kimchi sold at Walmart.

Finally, the last type of kimchi is Stuffed Cucumber Kimchi! This kimchi is not pickled, as it is only meant to be preserved for a few days. It's made with Korean cucumbers and spiced in a manner similar to Baechu-kimchi. The cucumbers are sliced into quarters, though one side of the fruit is left unsliced to create a pocket. The pocket is then stuffed with various tiny chopped vegetables like carrots and radishes, though it may sometimes include onion and garlic. This kimchi is especially good for the summer months.

Now, many of us are not as lucky to be able to find many different types of prepared kimchi in our towns, though it’s fairly easy to find napa kimchi, for example, in some parts of the United States at local grocery stores.

If you are feeling a little adventurous, you can always make your own kimchi! Take a look at this recipe from YouTuber and chef Seonkyoung Longest here

Once you have procured your kimchi either by making it or, if you’re a busy person, purchasing it at your nearest grocery store, it’s time to decide how you will eat it. We’ve mentioned a favorite way to eat kimchi is in kimchi fried rice. You can also pair it with rice and boiled pork or even try your hand at Korean BBQ at home!

Did you take a shot at making your own kimchi? Or did you make a recipe you want to share with us at The Kraze? Share it on twitter by tagging @krazemagazine.

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