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Various kimchi.jpg
Korean alphabet : 김치
Revised Romanization : Gimchi
McCune-Reischauer : Kimch'i
Five different types of kimchi in Daegu

Kimchi ( Korean 김치 ) is called in Korean cuisine both in the preparation of vegetables (Traditional Chinese cabbage and Korean radish (Mu 무)) by lactic acid fermentation and the finished prepared in this way vegetables.

Kimchi is traditionally canned like sauerkraut as a vitamin C store for the winter. In Korea , kimchi is part of practically every meal, as is rice ( - bab ) and a soup ( - guk or - tang).

In principle, you can ferment all types of vegetables . In the course of time, many different types of kimchi have emerged, for example with cucumber, leek, radish or Chinese cabbage. Radish is prepared differently depending on your needs, usually cut into small cubes with or without radish greens : 깍두기 - Kagdugi (kimchi).

The preparation differs depending on the region: In the Jeolla provinces , oysters are also used in preparation, in the Chungcheong provinces and the like. a. Apples.

On December 5, 2013, Kimjang, the joint production of kimchi, was added to UNESCO's list of intangible cultural heritage .


Kimchi soup with meat and tofu as a main course in Daejeon
Kimchi with tofu as a main course in Seoul

There are numerous ways of preparation.

Traditionally, Chinese cabbage leaves are soaked in salted water for about 4 to 5 hours. The salt content of the total mass of the kimchi affects the lactic acid fermentation .

The Chinese cabbage leaves are smeared with a separately made mixture of finely chopped ingredients from radish, ginger , plenty of garlic and various vegetables and seafood of the season, plenty of chili powder (Gochugaru 고추 가루 ), Baechu kimchi ( 배추 김치 ). It is also made without the red chili powder, so-called white kimchi baek kimchi ( 백김치 ). In regional recipes there are also additions of fish sauce , pickled fish ( Jeotgal ) or oysters (Gul ).

The cabbage leaves are formed into small packets and placed in clay pots. The mass is covered at the top with a stone for compaction.

Lactic acid fermentation makes the mixture durable and takes on the typical kimchi taste after a few days. Kimchi gets more acidic as it ages. But there is also kimchi that is offered unfermented.

In the warm season of the year, kimchi is prepared anew every week, it is called Baechu-Geotjeori ( 배추 겉절이 ) and is unfermented. In late autumn, many Korean households produce large quantities of winter kimchi, which is traditionally stored in large glazed clay pots that are or are buried on the balconies and in the country in front of the house in urban apartment blocks. There are now special refrigerators for storing kimchi.

Other vegetables, which are processed into kimchi, are leaved mustard ( ), small cucumbers ( 오이 소박이 ) (Oisobagi kimchi) , small white radishes, including sheets ( 총각무 ) (Chonggak kimchi) , garlic chives (buchu kimchi) and Diced radish (kkakdugi 깍두기 ). One specialty is pa-kimchi ( 파김치 ) made from green onions, another variant is kkaenip kimchi ( 깻잎 김치 ) made from perilla leaves. Special variants are dongchimi ( 동치미 ), radish water kimchi and bossam kimchi ( 보쌈 김치 ), wrapped kimchi.


Traditional clay pots (onggi) for storing kimchi

The oldest evidence of a kimchi-like preservation of vegetables goes back 2600–3000 years. During this time, the Book of Songs ( 詩經 , Shī jīng ), a collection of Chinese poems, was written, which contains a stanza that mentions pickling a cucumber. Many Koreans lived in the Manchurian region at the time this book was written . It is believed that even then vegetables were preserved in this way in order to stock them with their many vitamins and minerals for the severe winters in this region.

The first written mention of the word kimchi comes from the time of the Three Kingdoms of Korea (57 BC – 668 AD), from the Chinese Chronicle of the Three Kingdoms , in which the residents of Goguryeo have special skills in the production of fermented food is awarded.

Information about the ingredients used is only known from the time of the Goryeo empire (918–1392), even then there were great local differences in the use of spices and other ingredients. However, the most common spices included salt , sea ​​salt ( 천일염 Cheon-il-yeom), garlic and fermented fish paste (Jeotgal).

Hot paprika powder (Gochu 고추 ), with which most types of kimchi are seasoned today, were first introduced by Europeans from America to East Asia in the 16th century. It is not known when exactly the hot paprika will be used in Korea for the preparation of kimchi. According to some sources, hot peppers became a staple ingredient in the 18th century. Chinese cabbage has probably only been used since the 19th century.

Kimchi has great cultural value. Not just because of its texture, but also due to social aspects: the women of a family have always gathered on one day to make kimchi ( kimchi damggi ), for which large quantities of Chinese cabbage are processed. The girls learn how to make kimchi from time to time and are also integrated into social groups. In addition, the freshly pickled Chinese cabbage is often given away to other families as a sign of respect and appreciation.

Nutritional value

Because of the diverse nutrients and vitamins contained in kimchi through the ingredients and the preservation, it was and is an ideal source of nutrition for times when fresh fruit and vegetables are not available. Kimchi is rich in Vitamin A (from leaf vegetables such as Chinese cabbage , chili, green onions, mustard leaves), vitamin C (especially from chili, but also from green onions, mustard leaves) and other vitamins, iron (from leafy vegetables, shellfish), minerals (Mustard leaves and ginger), proteins (from cucumber, radish and especially oysters and fish sauce) as well as alliin , allicin and allicepide (garlic). The lactic acid and acetic acid produced during fermentation have a germicidal effect. The content of vitamins also increases, within three weeks the proportions of vitamins B1 , B2 and B12 double . The dietary fiber contained in kimchi promotes digestion, the garlic and chillies lower the cholesterol content of the blood.

Types of kimchi

See also


  • Gin-Young Song: Kimchi - Taste and Migration. On the food culture of Koreans in Germany . (= Studies and materials of the Ludwig-Uhland-Institut of the University of Tübingen. Volume 44). Tübingen Association for Folklore, Tübingen 2012, ISBN 978-3-932512-72-8 .

Web links

Commons : Kimchi  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. 30 new entries in UNESCO lists of intangible cultural heritage. (No longer available online.) Archived from the original on February 5, 2017 ; accessed on August 5, 2018 . . UNESCO December 2013.
  2. Mei Chin: The Art of Kimchi. on, accessed July 11, 2010.
  3. Da-Ja Jang, Kyung Rhan Chung and a .: Discussion on the origin of kimchi, representative of Korean unique fermented vegetables. In: Journal of Ethnic Foods. Volume 2, No. 3, 2015, pp. 126-136, doi: 10.1016 / j.jef.2015.08.005 .
  4. Origins of Kimch'i on, accessed March 2, 2017.
  5. ^ History of Kimchi ( Memento March 17, 2009 in the Internet Archive ).
  6. CS Kwak, MS Lee, HJ Lee, JY Whang, SC Park: Dietary source of vitamin B (12) intake and vitamin B (12) status in female elderly Koreans aged 85 and older living in rural area. In: Nutr. Res. Pract. Volume 4, No. 3, p. 2010, pp. 229-234. PMID 20607069 .
  7. Kimch'i Nutrition on, accessed March 2, 2017.