It's is a Korean cooking essential and celebrity chef Gizzi Erskine has even named her cat after the stuff. It’s time to get acquainted with kimchi
News flash: Korean food is in. It’s trendy. It’s what you should and will be eating in 2015.
Korean food without kimchi is like having a cup of tea without a biscuit. It’s the national dish, eaten pretty much at every meal. A version was even specially developed to be taken into orbit on the first-ever Korean space mission.
According to Byung-Hi & Byung Soon Lim, authors of Kimchi: Essential Recipes of the Korean Kitchen, “Korea without kimchi is simply unimaginable … Koreans are obsessed with kimchi: on average they eat approximately 100g of kimchi per person every day.”
But what on earth is kimchi and what do you do with it, we hear you cry? Well, let us tell you …
What is it? Kimchi is fermented vegetables, often including cabbage, but it’s so much more magical than that. It would be a mistake to think of it simply as a condiment or side dish as the stuff can range from sour to salty, mellow to fiery.
What makes it so special? It’s often spiced with ginger and chillies, although every region has its own variation such as adding squid, and it can perk up a seemingly never-ending list of dishes.
Like what? Soups, stews, noodles, rice dishes, even a plate of bacon and eggs (yep, seriously).
Not convinced? Behold the hidden joys of kimchi.
How to have kimchi for breakfast: scrambled eggs
Move over full English, it’s time to shake up that wake-up with these kimchi and kale scrambled eggs.
How to have kimchi for lunch: the soupy stew
Hearty, warming and you can add whatever veg you like. Kimchi makes a great flavoursome base for stews and soups while providing a good kick of heat.
How to have kimchi as a snack: the grilled cheese sarnie
No, we haven’t lost the kimchi plot this really is a thing. The acidity cuts through the cheese wonderfully.
How to have kimchi for dinner: bibimbap
A Korean signature dish, bibimbap, which translates literally as "mixed rice", is traditionally served with marinated vegetables, meat and topped with an egg. Mmm.