Pahadi Kimchi: An ode to fermenting traditions

Pahadi Kimchi in grandma’s spice blend
Kimchi is a popular spiced vegetable ferment from Korea. It is made with any available vegetable and seasonings local to a region. In Korea there are 100s of kimchi recipes indigenous to a specific region and ingredient
Kimchi probiotics for gut health Bangalore by Mountain Bee Kombucha
Kimchi is a probiotic condiment that harnesses the power of microbes present in the produce, water and air through lactic-acid fermentation. It is this fermentation process that transforms the carbohydrates, proteins, and minerals into lactic-acid, probiotics, amino acids, B-vitamins. The overall output is a superfoods version of humble cabbage results in more bioavailable content available for our bodies to absorb.
Kimchi Korean is made with a specific Korean child pepper called Gochugaru. 
Since fermentation is all about adaptability and inclusiveness I see no limitation is swapping the gochugaru with my ammaji's spice-blend' aka ‘jeere-ka-masala’.
This pahadi kimchi recipe calls for staple spice-paste that my pahadi muslim family uses in multiple dishes- dahi phulki, mooli thencha, baigan parche. Its a thick wet blend of cumin seeds, garlic, salt, dry red chillies - local or Kashmiri, I add onions to this blend for kimchi. Then comes the seasonal produce like pahadi kheera, pahadi ganth mooli in monsoon, cabbage, spring onions, red carrots, peaches in summers.
Though I give this recipe a city makeover with occasional Napa cabbage, English cucumbers, Ooty carrots, the results are pretty great every time. The lactic-acid bacteria don't discriminate either.
Tools and equipments needed:
Chopping board
Sharp knife
Glass jar with lid - capacity 3L-5L
Fermentation Weight - Another jar of 100 ml capacity that can fit on the mouth of your big jar. (something like a Kissan jam jar would work)
1 Cabbage/Napa Cabbage - tightly packed. When buying cabbage look for heads that are heavier for their appearance roughly 1 kg. You can swap the cabbage with peeled watermelon rind flesh cut in bit size cubes
2 Pahadi/English cucumbers 
1 bunch spring onions
2 medium radish or ganth mooli
2 carrots
2 peaches (optional) you can try apple or pineapple too
Any other vegetable/spice/herb you wish to experiment
Salt - 27 gms total (25 gms for rubbing in the cabbage) 2 gms for spice blend
For spice blend
150-200 gms dry red chillies - variety to use - bydagi, Guntur, Kashmiri - as per availability
15 gms Jeera seeds g
2 bulbs of garlic 
1 big onion
2 gms salt 
4 tbsp water
Blitz chillies, salt and jeera together with water and make thick paste. Blitz, garlic and onions together and keep separately - This is your pahadi kimchi paste
*I don't add ginger in the recipe but you will find most of the kimchi recipe with ginger. You can add julienne ginger to the vegetable mix.
Kimchi probiotics for gut health Bangalore by Mountain Bee Kombucha
  1. Clean napa cabbage, spare one big clean leaf for later use. Cut the rest length-wise. Cut the halves length-wise. You will have 4 long sections of napa cabbage. Cut each section into big square chucks. Transfer to a big bowl. If not using Napa cabbage you can cut the cabbage in square chunks
  2. Rub the salt generously on the cabbage. Let it sit for 30 mins. Cover it with a plate and weight on the cabbage. Keep turning the cabbage for 3-4 hours and let the salt draw out the water from the cabbage
  3. In a different bowl cut all other vegetables and fruits in a separate bowl
  4. Add chilli-jeera paste and onion-garlic paste to the cut vegetables. Add salt. Mix well
  5. Coming back to napa cabbage - wash off all the cabbage in running water in a colander and let it drain all water
  6. Add the napa cabbage in the bowl of spice mixed vegetable and fruit. Mix well
  7. Adjust the salt as per your liking in the whole mixture. It should be exactly as per your liking or just a bit higher. Please do not undersalt or oversalt 
  8. Take a clean glass jar and start transferring the kimchi mix in it. Keep pressing to let the air escape. Sure a muddler or mixer temper for the job or wear gloves
  9. Take the big whole napa cabbage leaf and use it as a blanket to cover the surface and tuck in the corners
  10. Now the weights - fill the small 100 ml jar with water and close it with a lid. Place this jar on top of the big jar content and press the cabbage down thoroughly. Kimchi juice will flow atop
  11. Press the small jar enough inside the big jar so you can close the big jar lid
  12. Place a plate under the kimchi jar to collect any juices oozing out due to CO2 build-up. Let it sit in an airy space away from sunlight for at least 3 days
  13. Burp (open and close) the jar every day. Wear an apron or open the jar in the sink. CO2 build-up makes the juices ooze out aggressively 
  14. After 3 days do a taste test.  If you like the taste, transfer the jar to the refrigerator. KImchi is ready to be eaten. It will continue to ferment slowly in the fridge
  15. Continue fermenting at room temperature if you like it tangier


Kimchi probiotics for gut health Bangalore by Mountain Bee Kombucha

Kimchi will keep in the refrigerator for months.


Kimchi probiotics for gut health Bangalore by Mountain Bee Kombucha

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