In general, kimchi is made using Chinese leaves (Napa cabbage) or radish as the primary ingredient, with red chilli pepper powder, garlic and spring onions used as supplementary ingredients.
Baechu Kimchi (Chinese leaves Kimchi), which is the most common ingredient of kimchi, is particularly high in moisture, accounting for 95% of its weight, and is low in calories, making it an ideal part of a balanced diet.
Here are some of the ingredients used to make traditional Baechu Kimchi and their health benefits!
Chinese Leaves (Napa Cabbage)
Contains carotene, which functions as Vitamin A once absorbed into the human body. It is also high in Vitamin C and amino acids, which are good sources of nutrition.
Radish, which plays a role in helping kimchi cabbage ferment, contains Vitamin C, Phosphorus and even Calcium. Of particular note is the fact that radishes contain seven times more Vitamin C than apples.
Garlic makes a significant contribution to the excellent nutritional value of Kimchi. According to recent studies, garlic is known to have anti-cancer effects and has been listed among the world’s ten most healthy foods, as chosen by Time magazine. Allicin is the compound responsible for garlic’s strong flavour and smell and has antibiotic properties.
Red Chilli Pepper (Gochugaru)
The chilli pepper is the most important ingredient of kimchi, giving it its typical red colour and spicy taste. It contains a substance called capsaicin. Capsaicin is present in higher concentrations in the white stalk of red chilli pepper, where the seeds are attached, and prevents the growth of pathogenic bacteria. It also helps people burn fat by stimulating the body’s metabolism.
Fish Sauce (Jeotgal)
This is made by salting and fermenting various forms of marine life such as shrimps, anchovies, shells. As well as salt, fish sauce is also used as an additional seasoning in traditional Kimchi recipe. As fish sauce is a fermented product, it promotes the fermentation process and increases the essential amino acid content of Kimchi.
Spring Onion also contains Allicin, found in Garlic, which promotes the absorption of Vitamin B1 by the body.
Kimchi tastes better if it is properly salted prior to fermentation. Salt is not only used for pickling, but also plays a role in seasoning Kimchi and preventing the growth of harmful bacteria.