Kimchi is the general term given to a group of
fermented vegetable foods in Korea. Kimchi has been traditionally
served as a "must" at almost every meal along with cooked
rice and other dishes. Kimchi is an excellent example of how vegetables
like Chinese cabbages and radishes can be stored for a long time
in an ordinary household, especially during the winter season
when fresh vegetables are scarce.
This is how you prepare Kimchi.
Step 1) Salt Chinese cabbages and/or radishes
Step 2) Wash the salted vegetables with fresh water
Step 3) Add spices and seasonings such as red hot pepper, garlic,
fish sauce and ginger. Step 4) Keep the spiced vegetables in a
cool place for a few days. This process let the vegetables to
undergo a process of naturally mixed lactic acid fermentation.
It is suspected that the origin of kimchi may be the Chinese pickles.
The pickles were brought into Korea and were modified to form
several types of Kimchi of common raw materials to suit the taste
of Koreans during the Shilla (A. D. 654 -935) and Korea (A. D.
918 - 1392) dynasties. Until the Korea dynasty, the main vegetable
used to make kimchi was radish. Records also show that in addition
to radish, cucumber, eggplant and green onion were used to make
pickled vegetables at that time. Whole-cabbage kimchi and other
kimchi prepared with hot red pepper became popular after the middle
of the Rhee dynasty (A. D. 1392 - 1910). Peppers were imported
to Korea in the early part of the 17th century, and the first
record of it being used as an ingredient of kimchi was made in
Kimchi is characterized with its palatability giving sour, sweet
and carbonated taste and is very different from sauerkraut which
is a popular fermented vegetable product in the West. Many different
recipes were published and fermentation methods "invented"
for making kimchi, and it is not surprising that the taste of
each kimchi would be quite different from every other. Despite
the uniqueness of every kimchi, the basic taste of kimchi is derived
from salt, lactic acid fermentation of vegetables, spices (including
hot red pepper, garlic, ginger and green thread onion) and pickled
fish or fresh seafoods.