Looking at the content of traditional Kimchi, you will be confident that it is vegan.
Vegetables like napa cabbage, Korean radish, garlic, ginger, and some other variations go through slow fermentation and eventually end up with this delectable Korean dish inside a sterilized jar.
Considering the ingredients of this Asian recipe, is Kimchi vegan?
Is KIMCHI Vegan Or Not?
As we mentioned, the ingredients are vegetables, and that should make it vegan. The process that it goes through does not include any relation to animal use as well. One would think that the Kimchi bottles you see in Asian supermarkets are suitable for people practicing vegan living. However, Kimchi is not.
Why Kimchi Isn’t Really Vegan?
The primary side dish in the Land of Morning Calm, Kimchi, has its own recipes in each region.
A staple ingredient is shrimp paste and fish sauce which heightens the flavor and makes it extra tasteful. They also add more garlic to improve the taste of this Korean food.
The two seafood ingredients are not part of the vegan diet, which makes Kimchi not vegan.
Fish sauce may just be mere flavoring, but the source is something that is against the vegan practice.
Fortunately, there is a vegan version of this food.
How Do I Make It Vegan?
Vegan Kimchi is as tasteful and easy to prepare as the regular one.
All the ingredients can be easily found inside your fridge, just like cabbage, garlic and ginger, and green onion, to name a few.
This type of Korean Kimchi follows the traditional method of fermenting foods to preserve and enjoy homemade Kimchi for a longer time.
To make it vegan, use only vegan-friendly ingredients in seafood products like anchovies, shrimp paste, and a lot more.
Vegan Kimchi Recipe
- 1 head Napa cabbage
- 2 tablespoon kosher salt
- ⅓ Daikon Radish
- 2 carrots
- 4 spring onions
- 1 tablespoon plain flour (or rice flour for a gluten-free option)
- ⅓ cup Gochugaru
For the paste:
- ½ onion
- 3 garlic cloves
- Large thumb of fresh ginger (30g / 1oz)
- 3 tablespoon soy sauce (or tamari for a gluten-free option)
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 large sheet of nori
- Airtight jars for storing
- Add the salt to a large bowl and pour in 1.5 liters (53 fl. oz) of water and dissolve.
- Slice cabbage 2-inch long and soak in salted water. Leave the cabbage soaked completely for at least 12 hours, if possible longer.
- After 12 hours minimum, create the sauce. Add rice flour to a small saucepan over medium heat along with ½ cup (125ml) of water.
- Cook for 5 minutes or until it thickens and becomes translucent.
- Place in a large mixing bowl and let it cool down.
- Prepare the paste ingredients next and place them all inside a processor. Grind the ingredients until free of chunks adding kosher salt for flavor. Once done, pour the contents into the mixing bowl where the sauce is along with the Gochugaru. Gochugaru is a Korean red pepper powder that can also be replaced with red pepper flakes, but since we aim to make its flavor like the original Kimchi, we will use it. One can easily find it n Asian stores.
- Mix everything inside the mixing bowl. Set aside
- Drain soaked cabbage and wash thoroughly with cold water. Mix it with all the other ingredients inside the bowl.
- Julienne cut the radish and carrots while the green onions will be chopped coarsely.
- Mix these along with the mixture in the bowl. Add seasonings and sugar, depending on you. Do not add water or any liquid.
- You need to make sure that the sauce and the paste are evenly distributed to the vegetables. Use your hand with gloves in doing so, as this is the first part of the fermentation(1) process.
- Place mixture inside the jars that are fully dry and liquid-free and close the lid a bit. Place it at room temperature for at least three days of fermentation. Do not worry about the air pockets that will appear inside jars. It will last longer inside the refrigerator and will ferment the foods longer.
Don’t wait for a better world. Start now to create a world of harmony and peace. It is up to you, and it always has been. You may even find the solution at the end of your fork.”- Sharon Gannon, Co-founder of Jivamukti Yoga, Animal Rights Advocate
Top Vegan Kimchi Brands
Mother In Law Kimchi
This is an original Jang Mo Gip Restaurant product, which is all farm-produced plants, vegan Kimchi.
This product has been around since 1989 and has pleased both Asian and non-Asian individuals who have tasted it.
The product is free from fish sauce or salted shrimp.
Lucky Store Kimchi
This particular Kimchi product is considered a family heirloom.
The family has been creating this made-to-order product for over 40 years and has satisfied vegan customers worldwide with it.
Wise Goat Organics
The manufacturers were exact in stating that they used no fish sauce during any production of their product.
These are all-natural vegetables locally farmed and fresh, went through fermenting and turned into their delectable Kimchi product.
“Fermented longer for tangier flavor, increased nutrition, and health benefits.” This is clearly stated in their label, and this one is hotter and a lot spicier than the rest.
They developed their proprietary plant-based mixture of mushrooms and sea plants to produce umami to your palate.
Wang Store Canned Kimchi
This is a gluten-free, all-natural vegan Kimchi, no fish sauce used product that has a flavor of something special and out of the ordinary.
It has a spicy, complex flavor that works as an appetizer, or it can be on top of meats.
Sauerkraut is a German recipe that is very similar to Kimchi because of its saltiness. However, sauerkraut is only fermented cabbage and salt compared to Kimchi overflowing with different veggies. Especially with the creation of vegan Kimchi, the spicy, salty, and sour savor of this food makes it better than sauerkraut.
Not really. Flavor-wise it does. It is very similar to a pickle but spicier and saltier. However, the complexity of the flavor it offers makes this product from Korea really delectable and unique.
Why Kimchi Can Be Vegan & Sometimes Not
Kimchi is really a treat in small jars, but because of seafood ingredients and fish sauce, and other non-vegan ingredients added, it is no longer vegan.
However, you can make vegan Kimchi and not use a hint of fish sauce but still cook it deliciously. It is just a matter of finding the right ingredients that will bring out the savory flavor you’re looking for in this delicious staple Korean food.
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