If you live in an urban area, you may have noticed the nutritional trend: fermenting. In any case, since 2017 the demand on Google on the subject in Switzerland has been increasing continuously, and we have already reported extensively on the new food trend in the Sunday Blick magazine. Due to the current situation and because of the cookbook bestseller “Kimchi” by the Belgian-Korean cook Ae Jin Huys, which has been published in German and whose books have been translated into various European languages, today the main focus is on the Korean fermented health bomb cabbage.
If you’ve never heard of kimchi, here are a few keywords: very, very tasty, incredibly healthy, smells like hell when you make it. So much so that most South Koreans have a separate fridge for kimchi. In our latitudes, it is advisable to keep the glasses in a shady place outside when making your own. Or choose a recipe that allows you to seal the jar.
A bite or two is addictive
Despite the olfactory challenge, it is all the rage in certain circles to bring a glass of kimchi as a souvenir to dinner parties or barbecues. Often homemade, because during the pandemic many people had time to deal with production methods such as sourdough bread or fermentation. What also speaks for making the health bomb yourself: If you buy the stuff in a health food store, you can save 17 francs and more for a small homeopathic glass. You’ve inhaled the stuff within three bites, and your body is crying out for more.
With good reason: all the nutrients in raw vegetables are preserved during kimchi fermentation with lactic acid bacteria. What’s more, the well-behaved bacilli convert sugar into acid and produce large amounts of vitamins B1, B2 and B12 in the process. The living cultures have been proven to improve the intestinal flora – and this, as we now know from various scientific studies, is essential not only for our physical but also for our mental health. Scientific studies by various universities show that depressed people have a different, poorer intestinal flora than non-depressed people. In the truest sense of the word, kimchi puts you in a good mood twice over: firstly when eating, secondly when digesting. In order to be able to use the good effect, you should consume some kimchi regularly, preferably daily.
In South Korea, where the superfood comes from, cabbage fermented with chili, garlic and other vegetables is part of every meal. One possible consequence: people have a life expectancy that is almost as high as ours – although measured in terms of gross domestic product per capita, they do not live in a country as rich as we do in Switzerland. For comparison: Depending on the measurement, Switzerland is between second and fifth place among the richest countries in the world, South Korea is not in the top twenty. The average life expectancy of Swiss people at birth is 82.6 years, in South Korea it is 82.4 years.
Incidentally, the fact that kimchi is so important in South Korean society is also due to the fact that kimchi production is a collaborative effort. Since there is a lot to cut up, the neighborhood meets to produce large quantities together – which are then distributed fairly. You can do the same with us for once. Cookbook author Ae Jin Huys stops in Switzerland for a kimchi workshop on her kimchi cookbook promotion tour. For everyone else, here’s a recipe where kimchi doesn’t smell because it’s airtight.
2 kohlrabi, salt without iodine or other additives, preferably rock salt (2% of the vegetable weight)
For the marinade: 25 g apple, 2 g ginger, 1 clove of garlic, ½ tbsp fish sauce, 1 half a chili pepper, degree of spiciness as desired
Preparation: Peel the kohlrabi and cut into 2.5 cm cubes. Put the cubes in a bowl, sprinkle with salt and leave for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally so the salt can soak in evenly. Place the steeping liquid in a tall blender jug and mix with the marinade ingredients to form a smooth paste. Mix the diced kohlrabi with the paste and ferment in an airtight, dark place for 24 hours at room temperature. Then store the kimchi in the fridge. It can be served after just a few days.
Book: «Kimchi» by Ae Jin Huys, published by Prestel Verlag. CHF 39.90
Korean pop-up night on May 21 at 7 p.m
Kimchi workshop on May 22nd from 5pm to 8pm
Both in the Schlosshotel Adler, 7015 Reichenau-Tamins
The number of places is limited.
Registration at: firstname.lastname@example.org