What Does Kimchi Taste Like? The Home Cook's Guide
Kimchi, gimchi or kimchee is a sour yet spicy dish made from fermented vegetables like cabbage, radish, salt, pepper, and ginger.
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In this article, we uncover this unique and delicious fermented vegetable delicacy, the different types of kimchi, their individual tastes, and the ingredients that form this.
Warning: Kimchi seasoned with pepper can be very spicy, which can affect people with ulcers and other digestive problems. If you have a digestive condition, kindly consult a doctor before enjoying the delicacy.
What is Kimchi?
Kimchi is a fermented side dish consisting of pickled vegetables such as cabbage and radishes. The dish is prepared by slicing and soaking the dish over brine. It takes days and weeks to prepare with lactic acid which gives it its characteristic sour flavor. There are many varieties of kimchi - each with unique ingredients and flavor.
Main Ingredients and Their Effect on Flavor
Red Pepper Flakes - The flakes give kimchi its vibrant, red appearance. Depending on how much is used can drastically alter the heat level from moderate to very spicy.
Fish Sauce, Fermented Fish Paste - Any fish product, including anchovies, will give kimchi an umami (or savory) taste.
Soy Sauce - The addition gives kimchi a light and meatier flavor.
Cucumber and Radish - Using cucumber or radish will give kimchi a lighter taste opposed to cabbage.
Cabbage - Cabbage is used as the main ingredient in most kimchi recipes. It gives kimchi a strong flavor compared to using radish or cucumber.
Garlic - Garlic is incredibly flavorsome and intensifies further during the fermentation process. It gives the kimchi a delicious, deep flavor.
Lactic Acid - Lactic acid is produced by fermenting bacteria. This gives kimchi its characteristic sour taste.
Salt - Salt is vital in most kimchi recipes. The salt is combined with water to make the brine which the vegetables are submerged in for fermentation. The salt hardens pectins which means the vegetables keep their crunch as well as discouraging bacteria growth.
Sugar - The amount of sugar can vary between recipes. The more added, the sweeter the kimchi.
When packing your kimchi or latest ferment into a jar you'll need to pack it down, squishing it below the waterline.
We developed a unique solution to this, by making the 'pounding edge' jagged it mushes and squishes your vegetables with ease.
5 Types of Kimchi