The Christmas and New Year Holidays are a period full of great food – with lots of eating up of leftovers in between and afterwards! Last year I shared some delicious and different ways to use up cooked leftovers; this year, I’m going to share a recipe to use up leftover veg that maybe didn’t even make it on to the dining table in the first place: Brussel sprouts. I love sprouts… I once ate 132 in one sitting (true story). If you do too and like a little spice, then try this recipe.
Brussel Sprouts and Christmas
Brussel sprouts are a type of cabbage (we eat the buds) and a Christmas staple, but they often divide opinion. If you’ve bought in a load of sprouts but don’t know that you’re going to cook them all on Christmas Day, then why not try making kimchi with whatever you have left?
What is Kimchi?
Kimchi is a traditional Korean side dish of salted and fermented vegetables dating back two thousand years. It’s most commonly made with one or a mix of cabbage, Korean radish, carrot and onion with a blend of seasoning. Before refrigeration, it was the main way of preserving vegetables in Korea, where large earthenware jars were buried in the ground to prevent the kimchi from getting too cold in the winter and too warm in the summer. While there are countless variations, it’s general a spicy and sour flavour, and is eaten as a condiment or side dish or added to stews.
Fermenting Food And Its Benefits
Some people shy away from the idea of eating fermented food, but lots of our everyday staples, such as bread, cheese, wine and tea are all made using fermentation. In kimchi, the good bacteria that are found on the outside of vegetables are encouraged to grow, and in doing so they break down the natural sugars into lactic acid (creating kimchi’s tangy sour flavour).
Good bacteria, known a ‘probiotics’, are good for our digestive health helping with the absorption of nutrients and contributing to the strength of our immune system.
Step One: Sterilising Your Jars
You only want GOOD bacteria to develop in your kimchi, so sterilize your jars first:
- Wash your jars and lids in warm soapy water and leave to dry on a draining rack – don’t touch the insides! You can dry the lids with a clean, dry, tea towel.
- Place the jars and lids in a prehreated oven at 180C/160C fan/gas 4 for fifteen minutes.
- Remove, allow to cool, and use!
BRUSSEL SPROUT KIMCHI
- 1kg brussels sprouts, sliced or 1/4s depends if you like it chunky
- 1 Daikon (oriental or winter radish), cut into strips or sliced
- 1 Chinese cabbage, sliced
- 2 heads garlic, cloves peeled
- 1/2 cup Korean chilli flakes
- 2 inches ginger, peeled sliced
- 3 tablespoons white miso
- 2 tbsp gochujang
- 1 tbsp rice vinegar
- Fish sauce to taste
- Place the shredded sprouts, daikon and Chinese cabbage in a bowl with a good handful of fine salt and mix well – don’t worry about the quantity because you’ll rinse a lot of it off afterwards. Squeeze it with your hands until some juice forms, then top it up with enough water to cover it. Weight it down with something heavy-ish like a sturdy pan. Cover and leave overnight.
- Blend the garlic, ginger, miso, gochuiang, vinegar, chilli and splash of fish sauce into a blender.
- Rinse the veg then mix with the garlic paste and pack into the jar, pressing it down firmly with your fist. I cover my ferments with a zip lock bag filled with water because it moulds to the shape of the ingredients and jar nicely, making sure it’s all submerged – a small dish or ramekin would be a non-plastic alternative.
- Leave 4 days then taste… Adjust heat and fish sauce. Then after 10 days you’re ready to rock…