Kimchi

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This article is about kimchee, the Korean foodstuff. For people with this surname, see Kimhi. For other uses, see kimchi (disambiguation).
Kimchi
Gimchi.jpg
Korean name
Hangul 김치
Revised Romanization gimchi
McCune–Reischauer kimch'i
A historical depiction of kimchi in a museum in South Korea

Kimchi (hangul: 김치 Korean pronunciation: [kimtɕʰi]; English pronunciation: /ˈkɪmi/), also spelled kimchee or gimchi, is a traditional fermented Korean side dish made of vegetables with a variety of seasonings. It is often described as spicy and sour.[1][2][3] In traditional preparation kimchi is often allowed to ferment underground in jars for months.[4] There are hundreds of varieties of kimchi made from napa cabbage, radish, scallion, or cucumber as a main ingredient.[5]

History[edit]

The earliest references to pickled vegetables in East Asia are found in the Chinese Xin Nan Shan 信南山 poem of the Shi Jing (), which uses the character 菹 or 葅 (Korean "jeo", modern Mandarin Chinese "ju1"). The term ji was used until the pre-modern terms chimchae (hanja: 沉菜, lit. soaked vegetables), dimchae, and timchae were adopted in the period of the Three Kingdoms of Korea.[6] The word then was modified into jimchi, and is currently kimchi.

Early kimchi was made of cabbage and beef stock only. Red chili, a New World vegetable not found in Korea before European contact with the Americas, was introduced to Korea from Japan after the Japanese invasions (1592–1598) and became a staple ingredient in kimchi,[7] although its use was not documented until the 18th century.[8] Red chili pepper flakes are now used as the main ingredient for spice and source of heat for many varieties of kimchi. In the twelfth century other spices, creating flavors such as sweet and sour, and colors, such as white and orange, were added.[9]

Kimchi is Korea's national dish. During South Korea's involvement in the Vietnam War its government requested American help to ensure that South Korean troops, reportedly "desperate" for the food, could obtain it in the field;[10] South Korean president Park Chung-hee told U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson that kimchi was "vitally important to the morale of Korean troops".[4] It was also sent to space on board Soyuz TMA-12 with Yi So-Yeon after a multi-million dollar research effort to kill the bacteria and lessen the odor without affecting taste.[10]

Main ingredients[edit]

Chili peppers drying for kimchi

Kimchi varieties are determined by the main vegetable ingredients and the mix of seasonings used to flavor the kimchi.

The Kimchi Field Museum in Seoul has documented 187 historic and current varieties of kimchi. Ingredients can be replaced or added depending on the type of kimchi being made. The most common seasonings include brine, scallions, spices, ginger, chopped radish, garlic, saeujeot (hangul: 새우젓, shrimp sauce), and aekjeot (hangul: 액젓, fish sauce).

Varieties[edit]

Tongkimchi, gulgimchi (kimchi with additional oyster) and other banchan

Kimchi can be categorized by main ingredients, regions or seasons. Korea's northern and southern sections have a considerable temperature difference.[11] The most common kimchi variations are baechu kimchi (hangul: 배추김치, napa cabbage kimchi), baechu geotjeori (hangul: 배추겉절이, unfermented napa cabbage kimchi), bossam kimchi (hangul: 보쌈김치), baek kimchi (hangul: 백김치, white kimchi), dongchimi (hangul: 동치미, water-based kimchi), chonggak kimchi (hangul: 총각김치, young radish kimchi), kkakdugi (hangul: 깍두기, daikon kimchi), oisobagi (hangul: 오이소박이, cucumber kimchi), and pa kimchi (hangul: 파김치, green onion kimchi).

Kimchi from the northern parts of Korea tend to have less salt, less red chilli and usually do not have brined seafood for seasoning. Northern kimchi often has a watery consistency. Kimchi made in the southern parts of Korea, such as Jeolla-do and Gyeongsang-do, uses salt, chili peppers and myeolchijeot (hangul: 멸치젓, brined anchovy allowed to ferment) or saeujeot (hangul: 새우젓, brined shrimp allowed to ferment), myeolchiaekjeot (Hangul: 멸치액젓, "kkanariaekjeot" 까나리액젓, liquid anchovy jeot, similar to fish sauce used in Southeast Asia, but thicker).

Saeujeot (hangul: 새우젓) or myeolchijeot is not added to the kimchi spice-seasoning mixture, but is simmered first to reduce odors, eliminate tannic flavor and fats, and then is mixed with a thickener made of rice or wheat starch (Hangul: 풀). This technique has been falling into disuse for the past forty years.

White kimchi (baek kimchi) is baechu (napa cabbage) seasoned without chili pepper and is neither red in color nor spicy. White radish kimchi (dongchimi) is another example of a kimchi that is not spicy. The watery white kimchi varieties are sometimes used as an ingredient in a number of dishes such as cold noodles in dongchimi brine (dongchimi guksu).

Regions[edit]

Traditional jars used for storing kimchi, gochujang, doenjang, soy sauce and other pickled banchan

This regional classification dates back to 1960s and contains plenty of historical facts, but the current kimchi-making trends in Korea are generally different from those mentioned below.[11]

  • Hamgyeong-do (Upper Northeast): Due to its proximity to the ocean, people in this particular region use fresh fish and oysters to season their kimchi.
  • Hwanghae-do (Midwest): The taste of kimchi in Hwanghae-do is not bland but not extremely spicy. Most kimchi from this region has less color since red chili flakes are not used. The typical kimchi for Hwanghae-do is called pumpkin kimchi (bundi).
Kimchi buchimgae, a savoury Korean pancake with kimchi
  • Gyeonggi-do (Lower Midwest of Hwanghae-do)
  • Chungcheong-do (Between Gyeonggi-do and Jeolla-do): Instead of using fermented fish, people in the region rely on salt and fermentation to make savory kimchi. Chungcheong-do has the most varieties of kimchi.
  • Gangwon-do (South Korea)/Kangwon-do (North Korea) (Mideast): In Gangwon-do, kimchi is stored for longer periods. Unlike other coastal regions in Korea, kimchi in this area does not contain much salted fish.
  • Jeolla-do (Lower Southwest): Salted yellow corvina and salted butterfish are used in this region to create different seasonings for kimchi.
  • Gyeongsang-do (Lower Southeast): This region's cuisine is saltier and spicier. The most common seasoning components include myeolchijeot (멸치젓) which produce a briny and savory flavor.
  • Foreign countries: In some places of the world people sometimes make kimchi with western cabbage and many other alternative ingredients such as broccoli.[12][13]

Seasons[edit]

Different types of kimchi were traditionally made at different times of the year, based on when various vegetables were in season and also to take advantage of hot and cold seasons before the era of refrigeration. Although the advent of modern refrigeration — including kimchi refrigerators specifically designed with precise controls to keep different varieties of kimchi at optimal temperatures at various stages of fermentation — has made this seasonality unnecessary, Koreans continue to consume kimchi according to traditional seasonal preferences.[14]

Dongchimi (동치미) is largely served during winter.

Spring[edit]

After a long period of consuming gimjang kimchi (hangul: 김장김치) during the winter, fresh potherbs and vegetables were used to make kimchi. These kinds of kimchi were not fermented or even stored for long periods of time but were consumed fresh.

Summer[edit]

Summer radishes and cucumbers are summer vegetables made into kimchi, yeolmu kimchi (hangul: 열무김치) which is eaten in several bites. Brined fish or shellfish can be added, and freshly ground dried chili peppers are often used.

Autumn[edit]

Baechu kimchi is prepared by inserting blended stuffing materials, called sok (literally inside), between layers of salted leaves of uncut, whole Napa cabbage. The ingredients of sok (hangul: 속) can vary, depending on the different regions and weather conditions. Generally, baechu kimchi used to have a strong salty flavor until the late 1960s when a large amount of myeolchijeot or saeujeot had been used.

Winter[edit]

Traditionally, the greatest varieties of kimchi were available during the winter. In preparation for the long winter months, many types of kimjang kimchi (hangul: 김장 김치) were prepared in early winter and stored in the ground in large kimchi pots. Today, many city residents use modern kimchi refrigerators offering precise temperature controls to store kimjang kimchi. November and December are traditionally when people begin to make kimchi; women often gather together in each other's homes to help with winter kimchi preparations.[15] "Baechu kimchi" is made with salted baechu filled with thin strips of radish, parsley, pine nuts, pears, chestnuts, shredded red pepper, manna lichen (석이버섯), garlic, and ginger.

Nutrition and health[edit]

South Koreans consume 40 pounds (18 kg) of kimchi per person annually,[8] and many credit their nation's rapid economic growth in part to eating the dish.[10] Kimchi is made of various vegetables and contains a high concentration of dietary fiber,[16][17] while being low in calories. One serving also provides over 50% of the daily recommended amount of vitamin C and carotene. Most types of kimchi contain onions, garlic, and chilli peppers, all of which are salutary. The vegetables used in kimchi also contribute to its overall nutritional value. Kimchi is rich in vitamin A, thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), calcium, and iron,[18][19] and contains lactic acid bacteria, among those the typical species Lactobacillus kimchii.[20][21][22] Health magazine named kimchi in its list of top five "World's Healthiest Foods" for being rich in vitamins, aiding digestion, and even possibly reducing cancer growth. [23] [24] A 2005 South Korean study found, however, that when eaten in large quantities, kimchi may increase the risk of gastric cancer, particularly among people with certain genetic traits.[25]

A study conducted by Seoul National University found that chickens infected with the H5N1 virus, also called avian flu, recovered after eating food containing the bacteria found in kimchi. During the 2003 SARS outbreak in Asia many people believed that kimchi could protect against infection and while there was no scientific evidence to support this belief, kimchi sales rose by 40%.[26][8][15] In May 2009 the Korea Food Research Institute, Korea’s state food research organization, said they had conducted a larger study on 200 chickens, which supported the theory that it boosts chickens' immunity to the virus.[27]

Nutritional composition of typical kimchi[28]
Nutrients per 100 g Nutrients per 100 g
Food energy 32 kcal Moisture 88.4 g
Crude protein 2.0 g Crude Lipid 0.6 g
Total sugar 1.3 g Crude fiber 1.2 g
Crude ash 0.5 g Calcium 45 mg
Phosphorus 28 mg Vitamin A 492 IU
Vitamin B1 0.03 mg Vitamin B2 0.06 mg
Niacin 2.1 mg Vitamin C 21 mg

Dishes made with Kimchi[edit]

Kimchijeon

Kimchi can be made with white radishes, mustard greens, scalions, or cucumbers. Kimchi is known to be a traditional side dish as it is almost always served along with other side dishes in most Korean family households and restaurants. Kimchi can be eaten alone or with white rice but it is also included in recipes of other traditional dishes, including porridges, soups, and rice cakes. (Jung, C.) Kimchi is also the basis for many derivative dishes such as kimchi stew (김치찌개; kimchi jjigae), kimchi pancake (김치부침개; kimchijeon), kimchi soup (김칫국; kimchiguk), and kimchi fried rice (김치볶음밥; kimchi bokkeumbap).

History[edit]

1996 Japanese kimchi dispute[edit]

In 1996, Korea protested against Japanese commercial production of "kimchi" arguing that the Japanese-produced product (kimuchi) was different from kimchi (in particular, that it was not fermented). Korea lobbied for an international standard from the Codex Alimentarius, an organization associated with the World Health Organization that defines voluntary standards for food preparation for international trade purposes.[8][29] In 2001 the Codex Alimentarius published a voluntary standard defining kimchi as "a fermented food that uses salted napa cabbages as its main ingredient mixed with seasonings, and goes through a lactic acid production process at a low temperature", but which did not specify a minimum amount of fermentation nor forbid the use of additives.[30][third-party source needed]

2010 kimchi ingredient price crisis[edit]

Due to heavy rainfall shortening the harvesting time for cabbage and other main ingredients for kimchi in 2010, the price of kimchi ingredients and kimchi itself rose greatly. Korean newspapers described the rise in prices as a national crisis. Some restaurants stopped offering kimchi as a free side dish, which The New York Times compared to an American hamburger restaurant no longer offering free ketchup.[15] In response to the Kimchi price crisis, the South Korean government announced the temporary reduction of tariffs on imported cabbage to coincide with the Kimjang season.[31]

Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity[edit]

Kimjang, the tradition of making and sharing of kimchi that usually takes place in late autumn, was added to the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. The practice of Kimjang reaffirms Korean identity and strengthens family cooperation. Kimjang is also an important reminder for many Koreans that human communities need to live in harmony with nature.[32]

Gallery[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ kimchi. Encyclopædia Britannica. 
  2. ^ Kim, M.; Chun, J. (2005). "Bacterial Community Structure in Kimchi, a Korean Vegetable Food, as Revealed by 16S rRNA Gene Analysis". International Journal of Food Microbiology. 103(1), 91–96. See Abstract.
  3. ^ Chin, Mei. "The Art of Kimchi". Saveur. Retrieved 9 August 2010. 
  4. ^ a b "Kimchi & National Security". Retrieved 30 March 2013. 
  5. ^ ""A World of Kimchi"". SAVEUR.com. Retrieved 13 September 2014. 
  6. ^ (Korean) 김치의 이름(명칭) from Hankyoreh21
  7. ^ Yoon, Sook-ja. Good Morning Kimchi! Hollym International Corporation, 2005. Pg. 11
  8. ^ a b c d Magnier, Mark (17 June 2003). "In an Age of SARS, Koreans Tout Kimchi Cure". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 7 May 2010. 
  9. ^ Kimchi Museum Official Website
  10. ^ a b c Sang-Hun Choe (2008-02-24). "Starship Kimchi: A Bold Taste Goes Where It Has Never Gone Before". The New York Times. Retrieved August 27, 2012. 
  11. ^ a b "Kimchi." Yahoo Korean Encyclopedia
  12. ^ "North Texas Traditional Living". Making Kimchi. Retrieved 14 February 2011. 
  13. ^ "TreeLight". Ultimate Kimchi. Retrieved 14 February 2011. 
  14. ^ "High-tech kimchi refrigerators keep Korea's favorite food crisp". Hong Kong Trade Development Council. 14 March 2002. Retrieved 14 February 2008. 
  15. ^ a b c McDonald, Mark (14 October 2010). "Rising Cost of Kimchi Alarms Koreans". The New York Times. Retrieved 16 October 2010. 
  16. ^ "Kimchi Nutritional Value". Retrieved 13 September 2014. 
  17. ^ "Kimchi by Nancy Berkoff, RD, EdD, CCE". Retrieved 13 September 2014. 
  18. ^ "Food in Korea". Asianinfo.com. Retrieved 30 January 2007. 
  19. ^ "Kimchi". Tour2korea.com. Retrieved 30 January 2007. 
  20. ^ http://ijs.sgmjournals.org/cgi/reprint/50/5/1789.pdf
  21. ^ Jung-Sook Leea, Gun-Young Heoa, Jun Won Leea, Yun-Jung Oha, Jeong A Parka, Yong-Ha Parka, Yu-Ryang Pyunb and Jong Seog Ahn (15 July 2005). "Analysis of Kimchi Microflora Using Denaturing Gradient Gel Electrophoresis". International Journal of Food Microbiology. Volume 102, Issue 2. pp. 143–150.
  22. ^ Myungjin Kim; Jongsik Chun (15 August 2005). . "Bacterial Community Structure in Kimchi, a Korean Fermented Vegetable Food, as Revealed by 16S rRNA Gene Analysis. International Journal of Food Microbiology. Volume 103, Issue 1. pp. 91–96
  23. ^ Raymond, Joan. "World's Healthiest Foods: Kimchi (Korea)". Health (magazine). Archived from the original on 2013-12-04. Retrieved 2014-03-28. 
  24. ^ Park, Min-young (10 January 2012). "K-drama fever impacts other industries". Korea Herald. Retrieved 29 March 2013. 
  25. ^ Nan, HM; Hong-Mei Nan, Jin-Woo Park, Young-Jin Song, Hyo-Yung Yun, Joo-Seung Park, Taisun Hyun, Sei-Jin Youn, Yong-Dae Kim, Jong-Won Kang, Heon Kim (2005). "Kimchi and soybean pastes are risk factors of gastric cancer". World Journal of Gastroenterology 11 (21): 3175–3181. PMID 15929164. Retrieved 31 January 2012. 
  26. ^ "Korean Dish 'May Cure Bird Flu'". BBC News. 14 March 2005. Retrieved 4 April 2010. 
  27. ^ "Kbs Global". English.kbs.co.kr. Retrieved 9 August 2010. 
  28. ^ from Korea Food Research Institute
  29. ^ Sims, Calvin (February 2000) "Cabbage Is Cabbage? Not to Kimchi Lovers; Koreans Take Issue with a Rendition of Their National Dish Made in Japan". The New York Times.
  30. ^ CODEX STANDARD FOR KIMCHI The Codex Alimentarius Commission
  31. ^ Staff (7 October 2010). "South Korea's Kimchi Crisis". The Economist. 
  32. ^ UNESCO - Intangible Heritage Section. "UNESCO Culture Sector - Intangible Heritage - 2003 Convention :". unesco.org. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]