In what could be described as the era of health food, I’m surprised that kimchi is still not widely eaten in the Western world at what seems to be the forefront of the clean eating trend. Avocados, chia seeds and courgette are the buzzwords when it comes to this trend yet kimchi is said to be one of the most nutritional foods out there.
High in fibre, vitamins A and C and low in calories, kimchi is a staple of the South Korean diet, with the average Korean person consuming 18kg of it each year. I’m making a traditional fresh kimchi called geotjeori. However I’m swaying from tradition by using romaine lettuce instead of the traditional napa cabbage. One of my favourite little kitchen tools is my julienne slicer. I bought it for HK$10 (about 80p) when I went last year and it’s such a great tool if your knife skills aren’t up to scratch (like mine!).
This fresh kimchi is best served immediately.
1 tbsp gochugaru (Korean chilli flakes)
1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
2 tsp garlic granules (or one clove, finely grated)
1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
1 tbsp light soy sauce
2 tsp sugar
2 spring onions, the green parts julienned
Half a carrot, julienned
1 large head of romaine lettuce, washed and drained and the end removed
In a small bowl, mix together all the ingredients for the dressing; everything except the spring onion, the carrots and the lettuce. Set aside.
In a large bowl, place the drained romaine lettuce leaves with the carrot and spring onions. Put on a pair of disposable gloves. Pour the dressing over the lettuce, carrot and spring onion and use your hands to mix the dressing through the lettuce, spreading as much of it on the lettuce leaves, squeezing the lettuce leaves to incorporate the dressing well.
Serve the fresh lettuce kimchi with rice or alongside other side dishes (banchan) for a great meal.