Uncovering the Secrets of Kimchi: Is it a Probiotic and the Best Kimchi Recipe

When you hear the word kimchi, what comes to your mind ? You might think of Korea ’s national dish and a staple in Korean cuisine. But did you know that kimchi can be an excellent source of probiotics and gut -healing bacteria? In this post, we will dive deep into kimchi’s health benefits, what it is made of, and the best recipe to make your own delicious and nutritious kimchi at home.

What is Kimchi?

Kimchi is a fermented vegetable dish that originated in Korea and has become increasingly popular worldwide. It is made by combining various vegetables with a spicy, tangy, and slightly sweet sauce made from chili paste, garlic, ginger, and fish sauce or shrimp paste (for non-vegetarian versions). Then, the mixture is left to ferment for a few days or even weeks, allowing the natural bacteria to ferment the vegetables and create a sour and tangy flavor.

Kimchi is traditionally made with Napa cabbage, but you can make it with other vegetables such as daikon, radish, cucumber, or even fruits like apple or pear. Different regions in Korea have their unique variations of kimchi, and the recipe can vary depending on the season, ingredients, and personal preference.

Is Kimchi a Probiotic?

Yes, kimchi is an excellent source of probiotics, the good bacteria that live in our gut and help keep our gut healthy and boost our immune system. During the fermentation process, lactic acid bacteria, such as lactobacillus, ferment the natural sugars in the vegetables and produce lactic acid, which gives kimchi its sour taste. These good bacteria can help balance our gut microbiome, aid digestion, and reduce inflammation.

Is Kimchi Spicy?

Kimchi can be quite spicy due to the addition of chili paste or flakes. The level of spiciness can also vary depending on the type of chili used, the amount, and personal preference. If you don’t like spicy food, you can adjust the amount of chili paste or flakes accordingly or use a milder variety. Some kimchi recipes also use a sweeter sauce to balance the spiciness.

Is Kimchi Good for Gut Health?

Yes, kimchi is beneficial for gut health due to its probiotic content. Additionally, kimchi contains fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants that can promote overall health and reduce the risk of chronic diseases. Some studies have also shown that kimchi can help lower cholesterol levels, boost the immune system, and even reduce inflammation.

What is Kimchi Made of?

As mentioned earlier, kimchi is mainly made of vegetables such as Napa cabbage, radish, and cucumber, combined with a spicy sauce made of chili paste, garlic, ginger, and fish sauce or shrimp paste (for non-vegetarian versions). Some versions also include fruits like apple or pear, or seafood like oysters or shrimp. Kimchi is also a great way to use up leftover vegetables and reduce food waste.

Is Kimchi Similar to Sauerkraut?

Although both kimchi and sauerkraut are fermented vegetable dishes, they have some differences. Sauerkraut is traditionally made from cabbage, which is shredded and fermented with salt, while kimchi can use various vegetables and a more complex sauce with spices and chili. Sauerkraut has a milder flavor, while kimchi is spicier and more tangy.

The Best Kimchi Recipe

Now that you know the health benefits and the ingredients of kimchi, it’s time to make your own! Here’s a simple and delicious recipe for traditional Napa cabbage kimchi:


  • 1 head Napa cabbage, sliced into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 inch ginger, grated
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce or soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup chili flakes
  • 2 green onions, chopped


  1. In a large bowl, combine the Napa cabbage with salt and massage it with your hands to distribute the salt evenly. Let it sit for 2-3 hours.

  2. Rinse the cabbage under running water and squeeze out the excess water.

  3. In a separate bowl, combine garlic, ginger, fish sauce, and chili flakes to make a sauce. Add the chopped green onions and mix well.

  4. Add the sauce to the cabbage and mix well, making sure that every piece of cabbage is coated with the sauce.

  5. Pack the mixture into a jar or container with a tight-fitting lid and press down to remove any air pockets.

  6. Let the kimchi ferment for 2-5 days at room temperature, depending on how sour and tangy you like it. Remember to burp the jar every day to release any gas build-up.

  7. Once the kimchi is properly fermented, store it in the fridge. It can last for several weeks or even months and can be used in various dishes like stir-fries, soups, and sandwiches.


Kimchi is more than just a tasty side dish. It’s a nutrient-dense, probiotic-rich food that can improve your gut health, boost your immune system, and reduce inflammation. Making your own kimchi is easy and rewarding, and you can customize the recipe to your liking. Try making it today and experience the benefits of fermented foods.