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Improve your Digestive Health and Lose Weight with Kimchee!

photo (55)A few months ago I got a craving for pickles and decided to try Kimchee.  No! I was not pregnant! I just really love spicy pickles and I had heard that Kimchee is a healthy way to consume pickles as it’s fermented. I did my research and low and behold, there is a lot of credible information and research on the benefits of eating Kimchee.

According to a study done by Eun Kyoung et al. (2011), http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21745625 Kimchee, especially fermented kimchee had beneficial effects in the test patients who were all overweight or obese.

The results of the study showed both fresh and fermented kimchee consumption decreased body weight, body mass index (BMI) and body fat. But, fermented kimchee also showed decreases in waist-hip ratio, fasting blood glucose blood pressure (both systolic and diastolic) and total cholesterol. The authors suggest that it’s the maturity of kimchee (fresh vs fermented) that positively affected obesity, lipid metabolism and inflammatory processes.

From a chinese medicine perspective, fermented foods aid digestion, by providing the gut with healthy bacteria. The lacto fermentation process used in making kimchee, breaks down the sugars and proteins in the vegetables producing lactic acid. This lactic acid inactivates the putrefying bacteria and allows the good bacteria to flourish as well as preserving the vegetables for weeks. 

Kimchee is sour and sweet, so in TCM theory kimchee is good for the liver and spleen which are attuned to these flavours. However, too much fermented food can cause dampness in the body, so moderation is always in order. For example, a bowl of warming vegetable curry with a spoonful of kimchee is a balanced way to eat kimchee.

Getting back to my journey with kimchee now…I have made 3 batches in the past 3 months and loving the experience of making, sharing and eating it! The taste is delicious and seems to go with everything we eat.  I know the recipe off by heart now so here it is so you can make some of your own.  I can highly recommend making it yourself.  It’s super easy to do and the results so far have been nothing short of crunchy, spicy yumminess.

This recipe makes 3 large jars of it. I prefer a normal cabbage over the traditionally used chinese or napa cabbage, as it produces a crunchier kimchee but you can use either.

Michelle’s Kimchee


  • ½ head green cabbage (or chinese napa cabbage)
  • 1 large chinese white radish
  • 4 carrots
  • 6 spring onions
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 dessertspoon ginger
  • 1 tspn sugar
  • ½ cup salt

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  • 3-4 tablespoons korean chilli powder (from the asian grocery store)
  • 3-4 large sterilised glass jars with lids

photo 1 (3)Method

  • Slice up all the cabbage and place in a large bowl.
  • Add the salt and massage into the cabbage
  • Weigh down the salted cabbage. (I use my heavy mortar and pestle on top of a plate!)
  • Leave to rest for at least 1 hour.
  • Cut your carrots and radish into fine matchsticks. 

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  • Chop spring onions
  • Mince garlic and ginger.
  • When the cabbage has finished salting ( I always go back and turn it with my hands once or twice during the hour)
  • Rinse the cabbage very well in fresh water.
  • Drain and gently squeeze out excess water
  • Mix the cabbage with the other ingredients putting in the korean chilli flakes last.
  • Mix the chilli through with your hands (you can wear gloves if you want)
  • Until the chilli is evenly distributed.

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  • Fill the jars with the mixture pressing the mixture down into the jar and if possible below the liquid that will arise.
  • If there isn’t much liquid don’t worry, just press it down well into the jar.
  • Seal with the lid

And that’s it! Now all that’s required is a daily opening of the kimchee to allow any gases to escape and you can also use a clean spoon to push the kimchee down into the liquid so the vegetables are covered.

You can taste and eat your kimchee whenever you like.  Once it has reached a flavour you are happy with, move the jars to the fridge. This will slow down the fermentation process.  I am a one week kimchee girl.  A week in the cupboard and it tastes great to me, but you may prefer a shorter or longer fermenting time.

Enjoy your kimchee with everything! I’d love to know how you go with making your own, so please drop me a line and share your kimchee experience with me!

Have a great week!

Michelle x