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Craft l Culture l Games l Kimchi

Kimch'i is basically a salted, pickled vegetable dish, often presented as a basic side dish in any Korean meal. The fermentation of different vegetables, complemented by salted fish and other seasonings, give it a unique flavor. The hot and spicy taste of kimch'i stimulates one's appetite. It is also a nutritious dish, providing vitamins, lactic acid, and minerals. Kimch'i can also be preserved for a long time.

Red pepper was introduced to the making of kimch'i in the 17th Century. This introduction of red pepper in the pickling process was a major innovation to the Korean food culture. By using red pepper with vegetables and fish, a unique method of food preservation was borne, thus leading to the adoption of kimch'i as a Korean staple. There are currently many kinds of kimch'i with different tastes. Here are examples of the most basic types of kimch'i.

Whole Cabbage Kimch'i (T'ongbaech'u Kimch'i)
Each cabbage is cut lengthwise into two sections and soaked in brine. It is then drained, seasoned between the leaves, and left to ferment. This is the classic kimch'i, which you will find on every Korean dinner table. The saltiness differs by regional preference.

Wrapped Kimch'i (Possam Kimch'i)
A wide range of ingredients, including seafood, fruits, mushrooms, and nuts, is wrapped in the softened outer leaves of cabbages. This brings about a highly delicious and nutritious side dish, which is convenient to serve. As it is wrapped, it has also been called po (wrapped) kimch'i or sok (stuffed) kimch'i.

White Cabbage Kimch'i (Paek Kimch'i)
The white cabbage kimch'i, made in the southern part of the republican nation, is less watery than other types of kimch'i. It also contains more pickled fish and red pepper than those made in the northern part.

Stuffed Cucumber Kimch'i (Oi Sobaegi)
The stuffed cucumber kimch'i is suitable for the spring and summer months, when most people lose their appetites. Cucumbers are fermented after being stuffed with different seasonings. The crunchiness and fragrance of well-fermented cucumbers make them a true delicacy. Only the desired amount can be prepared at one time as it easily turns sour.

Hot Radish Kimch'i (Kkaktugi)
Korean white radishes are cut into small cubes, seasoned, and fermented. The name of this kimch'i is an imitation of the sound of radishes being cut, "kkaktuk kkaktuk".


Whole Radish Kimch'i (Ch'onggak Kimch'i)
Whole radish kimch'i is made with small salted white radishes, salted anchovies, and seasoning. It is pickled for early winter consumption.


Radish Water Kimch'i (Tongch'imi)
Without using red pepper powder, whole radishes are marinated in brine. After three days, salt water is poured into the crock and radish leaves are layered over the top and weighted down. Its juice is pleasantly tangy and refreshing. This makes a good accompaniment to any meal, as well as rice cakes.

Water Kimch'i (Nabak Kimch'i)
Made of thinly sliced radish, cabbage, watercress, and green onion, this kimch'i is favored at all seasons. Whole green peppers or red peppers are used to give it a mild taste. It is best served chilled.

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