To make delicious kimchi, it is important to select
fine cabbages. Cabbages of mid-size, fully stuffed,
and feeling heavy when picked up are desirable cabbages.
Good cabbages have the traits that, when pressed,
the white part of their stalk should be felt hard
and that, when cut into half, the inner part of stalk
should taste sweet. Cabbage contains a lot of vitamins
and minerals, as well as various elements that produce
medicinal effects. There are research papers showing
that methylmethionine hidden in cabbage is effective
in curing arteriosclerosis and that methylsysteinsulfoxid
is helpful in reducing cholesterol.
Radish is mostly composed of water but it also contains
a lot of vitamin C, so it is a desirable food particularly
in winter as a source of vitamin. Moreover, its root
contains diastase or a kind of digestive enzymes,
thus eating raw radishes facilitates digestion. Radish
keeps vitamin C in its skin twice as much as that
in its trunk, therefore it is better to eat raw radish
without peeling (just washing). Large, evenly shaped
and flawless radishes are good ones. Other traits
of fine radishes are that they are fresh, sleek and
have hard but tender inner parts. Good radishes taste
less hot and sweeter and they are not pulpy but rigid.
It is important to select radishes suitable to usage
and season. Large, rigid and watery radishes are better
to be used for cabbage stuffing, while small and watery
radishes are more suitable as ingredient of 'Ggakdugi'
(cubed radish kimchi).
Red pepper is divided into 'Taeyangcho' and 'Hwageoncho'
by its origin as well as method of drying. The former
is large, clear-colored and has stronger hot taste,
while the latter is hard, thinly skinned and has a
sweet tint. To make good kimchi it is desirable to
mix both kinds in a proper ratio. Red pepper contains
carotinoid, vitamin C and other various components.
Capsaicin, the source of red pepper's hot taste, generates
sterilizing and purifying effect, while facilitating
secretion of saliva and gastric juice, thus it is
very helpful for digestion. As it tastes too hot,
red pepper is normally dried and shredded into flakes
or powder to be used as condiment of kimchi.
In Korea garlic is used as condiment for nearly all
kinds of food. If raw garlic is chewed or cut into
pieces, strong smell and flavors are generated, which
helps remove odor of meat and stimulate its taste.
Therefore, garlic has been widely used in cooking
of Korean dishes. Garlic not only gives vitality to
heart and muscles of human body, but also enlarges
blood vessel near body skin, thereby circulating warm
blood smoothly. Allin, an element contained in garlic,
has strong effect of sterilization. The element also
increases vitamin B compounding inside human body,
restrains forming of blood clot and facilitates secretion
of digestive fluid. In addition, garlic contains allyl
sulfide which has sterilizing power 15 times as large
as that of carbonic acid. Allyl sulfide is effective
in speeding up metabolism, relieving pain, preventing
constipation and neutralizing poison.
(scallion or green onion)
This vegetable contains a lot of calcium, salt and
vitamin, while generating unique flavor. Vegetables
are generally alkaline but scallion is an acid food
retaining a lot of sulfur. Green onion is a vegetable
hard to store since 80% of its contents is water.
Vitamin A and C are mainly found at its green part.
Its pungent taste is caused by sulfur-mixed allyl
compound, which has sterilizing and insecticidal effect.
'Daepa,' a kind of green onion, has much moisture
and viscosity and therefore makes kimchi slippery
when used as condiment. For this reason 'Jjokpa,'
another kind of green onion, is the favored ingredient
Mixed in harmony with vinegar, soy sauce, salt and
honey, ginger does not lessen original taste of any
food. Ginger contains a lot of inorganic contents,
while generating peculiar scent and hot taste. The
hot taste of ginger comes from gingerol kept inside
it. The gingerol facilitates blood circulation and
has perspiring and antibiotic functions. When put
into food, ginger makes a very hot taste, which helps
remove fishy smell or other stink.
Korean salts have been classified into 'Cheonilyeom,'
'Hoyeom,' 'Jeongjeyeom' and 'Amyeom' according to
their granular shape. In pickling cabbage or radish
is mainly used Hoyeom whose color is not so black,
while in seasoning of food is used white Jeongjeyeom.
Not to mention its role of seasoning food, salt is
indispensable to our lives in nutritious and physiological
aspects. Salt absorbed into our body does osmotic
function within blood, digestive fluid and tissue
95% of cucumber is water but the vegetable also contains
vitamin A, B1 and B2 richly, so it is a source of
vitamins. A variety of side dishes are cooked using
cucumber, such as 'stuffed cucumber pickles,' 'cucumber
pickled in salt,' 'cucumber cold soup' and 'cucumber
slices seasoned with soy.' Korean cucumbers are largely
divided into 'native cucumber,' 'Gasi cucumber,' 'young
cucumber' and 'old cucumber.' It is desirable to choose
the right kind of cucumber suitable for each case
The unique aroma of leek is caused by allyl sulfide
which, mixed with vitamin B1, improves digestive power
and generates sterilizing effect. Leek in Korea is
divided into 'native leek' and 'reformed leek.' Native
kind, in particular short leek, is suitable for making
'leek kimchi' as it tastes better and dry. Leek with
clear and green leaves is the good one, while bent
or withered leek is to be avoided.
Main component of the vegetable is inulin, which
generates puckery and bitter taste. Young leaves and
root of the vegetable are boiled and mixed with condiments,
to be served as a side dish or used to make Godeulbbagi
Dalrae, a wild plant dubbed 'small garlic' in the
old Korea, has been widely used in cooking and as
material of medicine. Dalrae kimchi, a watery kimchi
with good aroma and taste, is made from this plant.
Mix dalrae with thickly cut radish and salted fish
(in similar way as preparing raw vegetables), and
then pour salt water above them and put into storage,
then the special Dalrae kimchi will be made.
The stalk of leaf mustard has unique scent and a
little hot taste. Its leaves together with the stalk
are put into making kimchi or boiling vegetables.
Seeds of the plant are ground into powder, to be used
as a spice (mustard) as well as a material of medicine
(called 'Hwanggaeja'). In leaf mustard are contained
protein, ash content, carotene and niacin as well
as glucose and sugar. In addition, vitamin C, calcium
and iron are richly included in the plant. Red-colored
leaf mustard will be suitable to the kinds of kimchi
that use red pepper, such as 'leaf mustard kimchi,'
'cabbage kimchi' and 'Ggakdugi' (cubed radish kimchi).
Green-colored leaf mustard will match with such kinds
as 'white kimchi' and 'watery radish kimchi.'
It is a kind of preserved food, made by spreading
salts on anchovies and storing them for 2~3 months.
The food is called 'Chunjeot' when made in spring
season and 'Chujeot' when made in autumn. If the salted
anchovies are stored longer than 6 months, they will
be transformed into 'pickled anchovy soup.' After
over 6-month storage, substances in the soup will
be ground and filtered off. And then, the soup will
be boiled and stored again, to be put into making
This is also a preserved food made by storing salted
shrimp. It is called 'Ojeot' when made in May, 'Yukjeot'
when made in June, 'Chujeot' when made in autumn and
'Dongbekhajeot' when made in winter. Of them, yukjeot
is deemed the best condiment for kimchi as it is normally
made with shrimps that are thick, plump, clean, pink-colored
and clearly shaped. Pickled shrimp soup, achieved
through long fermentation, is also put into making
kimchi. Of the soups, the one with yellow and milky
color and sweet taste is reckoned the most suitable
It is an alkali food rich with vitamins and inorganic
substances. It is mainly used as a vegetable but also
utilized as a medicine since it has remedial effect
such as alleviation of fever and dropping of blood
pressure. Generally minari is washed, boiled and seasoned,
to be taken as a cooked vegetable. Raw minari is mixed
into preparing kimchi, which then generates unique
flavor and refreshing taste.