Fermentation

Easy Kimchi Recipe with Turmeric

Our fermented broccoli recipe is without a doubt the most visited page on our blog. We love that fermented foods have become so popular and that the connection between gut health & overall health is gaining more mainstream attention. Be sure to look at some more of our fermented recipes to read more about how these foods can help improve our digestion and benefit our health on all levels. It’s pretty amazing and delicious stuff!
When we first fell in love with fermented veggies a few years ago, Kimchi was one the first experiments we tried in our little Colombian apartment. To be totally honest, it was quite a disaster and one that we look back on and laugh at. Let’s just say that we were naively enthusiastic with the quantities of chilli, ginger and garlic we used. Combined with tropical heat and a really strong fermentation, our entire home was infused with intensly funky smells for days and we almost blew our heads off trying to eat this spicy concoction. We’ve since adjusted our recipe and found a balance of flavours that’s much kinder on tastebuds and body…

Easy Kimchi with Turmeric

Many traditional kimchi recipes contain vinegar, fish sauce, sugar and a paste made of garlic/ginger/chilli, but we’ve steered away from the traditional method in order to create a really simple recipe that still has a lot of flavour. This easy kimchi is made in a really similar way to sauerkraut , but has some extra ingredients that give it a stronger and spicier flavour. We’ve also used white cabbage because it’s grown locally to us and is what we have available.

How much salt to use when fermenting:

Vegetable to salt ratio - the magic formula for ferments
After a lot of experimenting, we've reached a good understanding of the salt/vegetable ratio for pickles and ferments. As a general rule of thumb, we always weigh our vegetables, then add 1.75% of this weight in salt. For example, 1kg of cabbage will need roughly 17.5g of salt. 500g of cabbage will need roughly 8.75g of salt. For reference, 1 teaspoon of finely ground salt is approximately 5.7g. 


Easy Kimchi

Servings: makes 2 large jars of kimchi

Ingredients:

  • 1 kg of white cabbage, sliced finely (roughly 2 small cabbages, but make sure you weigh them before you start)
  • 17.5g of good quality salt (this is 1.75% of the cabbage weight, if you are making different quantities you can calculate it for your amount of cabbage)
  • 2 medium carrots, grated
  • 2 teaspoon of turmeric powder or 1 two inch chopped turmeric root
  • 1 fresh red chilli, finely chopped (adjust depending on how spicy you like it)
  • 2 inch piece of ginger, chopped finely
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, chopped finely
  • 6-7 black peppercorns
  • 1/2 onion, diced finely
  • 2 large sterilised jars (you can sterilise them with boiling water)

Instructions:

  1. Before you chop your cabbage, peel away 2-3 of good quality outer leaves and put to one side for use later.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients except from the chilli. Make sure that the salt is thoroughly mixed with the cabbage. If you have time, leave it for 15-30 minutes - this will help draw the moisture out of the cabbage.
  3. With clean hands (or with gloves if you don't want turmeric stained fingers!) begin to mix and massage the kimchi. Continue for around 5-10 minutes, until liquid squeezes out of the cabbage. This liquid will help the fermentation process.
  4. Add the chilli to the bowl and stir in with a wooden spoon.
  5. Add the kimchi to your sterilised jars, pusing down as you go so that no air is trapped in the bottom of the jar. Keep pushing down as you add more kimchi (the back of a wooden spoon is really helpful for this). The idea is to pack the kimchi tightly into the jar.
  6. Once you've filled the jars, continue to push the kimchi down until the cabbage is submerged in some of its liquid. If the mix seems dry, leaving the jar for an hour or so between pressing down can allow more liquid to release.
  7. Fold the cabbage leaves that you set aside at the beggining to form a 'lid' that will fit into your jar. This stops little bits of cabbage floating to the top.
  8. Place the lid on top of the kimchi and again, push the kimchi down with the back of a wooden spoon. The 'lid' should be submerged in liquid.
  9. If you can, put a weight on top of the kimchi to keep it submerged in the liquid. We use a small glass with a weight or pebbles inside.
  10. Cover the jar with a fine cheesecloth and secure with an elastic band.
  11. Now it's time to let the kimchi ferment. Around 7 days is a good amount of time, but some people will prefer more or less. If you live in a very hot climate then you will probably need less time. Everyday, check on your jars and firmly push down the kimchi with a wooden spoon. You should see air bubbles rise from the bottom of the jar and the kimchi should remain submerged in liquid.
  12. After around 7 days, taste the kimchi to see if it suits your taste buds. If it tastes too strong or salty you can leave it a few more days.
  13. Once your satisfied with the flavour, secure the jar with a lid and store in the fridge. It's now ready to be eaten and should last for months if sealed well. We find that the flavour generally improves after the kimchi has been in the frige for a few days.
Easy Kimchi with Turmeric

Have you ever tried making Kimchi? We’d love to hear your experience!

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How to Make Soy-Free Tempeh with Yellow Split Peas

For us, tempeh is one of those foods that is so much tastier when made at home. We’ve never been wowed by shop bought tempeh or considered it worth spending money on, but since we’ve been making this from scratch we’ve become complete tempeh converts. Making your own tempeh means you can get really creative with different legumes & flavourings too. This version with yellow split peas has a delicious, nutty flavour and due to the fermentation it’s a great option for people who find it hard to digest beans and other legumes. We also have a great tandoori marinade recipe for tempeh here.

How to Make Soy-Free Tempeh with Yellow Split Peas
How to Make Soy-Free Tempeh with Yellow Split Peas
How to Make Soy-Free Tempeh with Yellow Split Peas

What is Tempeh?

Tempeh originally hails from the island of Java in Indonesia. It often gets thrown into the same category as tofu, quorn and seitan as being a somewhat bland meat-replacement, but for us tempeh has a lot more flavour and also contains a lot of nutritional benefits. Traditionally, tempeh is made from soy beans which are soaked, cooked and then fermented using a specific culture called rhizopus oligosporus. As the beans ferment, they form into a block that is held together by a white fibrous network of mycelia. The tempeh can then be cut into slices and used in stir frys, curries, salads, sandwiches and more. It sounds like pretty freaky stuff on paper, but it has a great nutty flavour and is especially delicious marinaded!

Nutritional Benefits of Home-made Tempeh

Making your own tempeh definitely takes a lot more time than buying it from the shop, but we think it’s completely worth the effort in terms of flavour and also the variety of legumes you can use. Some nutritional benefits of home-made tempeh are as follows:

  • The fermentation process breaks down the phytic acid and anti-nutrients from the beans, which makes it easier to digest and absorb.

  • Studies show that tempeh is rich in prebiotics, which promote beneficial bacteria in the digestive system.

  • A rich source of protein & calcium

  • A whole foods alternative to tofu or quorn. Homemade tempeh is unprocessed & unpasteurised, therefore maintaining a lot more nutritional benefits and bacteria.

What You Need to Make Tempeh

  • A vented container: We use a freezer bag with 7-8 small holes in it that are large enough for air circulation. Using a clear container allows you see the tempeh as it ferments and you can reuse the bags after use. You could also a Tupperware with holes in.

  • A warm place for the beans to ferment: The beans have to be kept at a temperature of 25-30 degrees to begin the fermentation process. This takes around 12-24 hours. We use a dehydrator for this, but you could also use an oven with the light on (& the door slightly ajar), an electric blanket or a warm area in your house such as an airing cupboard.

  • A fermentation starter: You will need to purchase a starter to make the tempeh. We recommend this brand in the UK, you only need to use a small amount for each batch so it works out as good value.

  • Dried Beans: As mentioned, soya beans are traditionally used in tempeh recipes, however our favourite to use is yellow split peas as they have a great flavour. You can try various other types of beans and get creative with it. We recommend buying organic whenever possible.

  • A Tea Towl to wrap the tempeh in during the fermentation.

How to Make Soy-Free Tempeh with Yellow Split Peas
How to Make Soy-Free Tempeh with Yellow Split Peas

Ingredients

  • 500g of yellow split peas (or your legume of choice)

  • 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar (or white vinegar)

  • 1/3 teaspoon of tempeh starter

Method

  1. Soak the split peas overnight (or at least 6 hours).

  2. When ready, drain the peas and rinse once or twice with cold water.

  3. In a large saucepan add the peas and cover by 2-3 inches with water. Bring to the boil and then simmer gently for 20-30 minutes until just tender but not falling apart.

  4. Drain the cooked split peas in a colander and allow to cool, you want them to be almost completely dry. They should dry left out in the colander over 1-2 hours, or you can spread them on a clean tea-towel and pat dry.

  5. Add the peas to a bowl and stir in the apple cider vinegar and tempeh starter culture.

  6. Now spoon them into your vented container (freezer bag with holes poked through, or Tupperware, see above)

  7. Lightly press down the split peas in the bag so it lies flat and fairly even. Now store at 25-30 degrees C until you see a few areas of white, dust-like spots forming inside the bag (these can be quite subtle so look closely).

  8. Once the fermentation has started the tempeh will start creating its own heat, so you want to lower the temperature slightly to around 20-24 degrees C. Leave the bag/container wrapped in a clean tea towel for 24-36 hours (max 48) until the bag is fully colonised with the culture and has formed a solid block (see photo below). For this part we place the container in our airing cupboard.

  9. When the tempeh has become a solid block, remove it from the bag/container (this can take a bit of jiggling/squeezing to get it out) and store it in an air tight container in the fridge. Enjoy it fried, baked, grilled or on the barbecue.

NOTES - You may see some grey/black spots develop on the tempeh - this is normal and safe. It’s also common for the tempeh to smell slightly sour. If it begins to smell really bad/off or develops other colours then trust your instinct and discard it. (Thankfully this has never happened to us!)

How to Make Soy-Free Tempeh with Yellow Split Peas
How to make soy-free tempeh with yellow split peas

Have you tried tempeh before?

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Purple Sauerkraut with Fennel Seeds

We're back with another fermented recipe ... this time, it's our favourite sauerkraut recipe - made with purple cabbage and infused with fennel seeds. We love eating this with just about anything, it's such a delicious addition to a meal. You can make this recipe with green cabbage too, but we love the vibrant colour of red cabbage & the fact that it's more nutritionally dense. In fact, we recently read that purple cabbage actually has more vitamin C than oranges, as well as so many antioxidants that are healing for the body. 

Eating sauerkraut regularly has really transformed my digestion over the past couple of years. During a difficult patch of stomach issues a few years ago, I dove deep into so many nutrition and holistic health books/podcasts to try and find a cure. Once I started to uncover how much our digestion is linked to our entire system, I became so determined to heal my gut and find balance again. It's pretty fascinating that our gut bacteria is so related to our brain function, immune system, happiness and so much more.

Food can be such a powerful medicine if we look at the source of illness instead of trying to suppress the symptoms. Alongside avoiding stress, one of the most important ways to strengthen our digestion is to feed our guts with friendly bacteria. Making your own fermented foods at home is such an affordable and tasty way of doing this. Especially as it's been shown to be more beneficial if the sauerkraut has been made and fermented in your local area. This is due to the relationship between the bacteria in your environment and the original bacteria in your gut. If you buy a sauerkraut that has been produced far from where you live, you may not receive the full benefits. For more fermented recipes, click here!

Purple Sauerkraut with Fennel Seeds
Purple Sauerkraut with Fennel
Purple Sauerkraut with Fennel
Purple Sauerkraut with Fennel

Vegetable to salt ratio - the magic formula for ferments
After a lot of experimenting, we've reached a good understanding of the salt/vegetable ratio for pickles and ferments. As a general rule of thumb, we always weigh our vegetables, then add 1.75% of this weight in salt. For example, 1kg of cabbage will need roughly 17.5g of salt. 500g of cabbage will need roughly 8.75g of salt. For reference, 1 teaspoon of salt is 5.7g. 

To make 1 large jar you'll need:
1 large jar, sterilised with boiling water
1 large red cabbage, sliced finely
1.75% weight ratio of good quality salt (see above)
6 whole peppercorns
3-4 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon of fennel seeds

Method

1. Before you chop your cabbage, peel away 1-2 of good quality outer leaves and put to one side for use later.
2. In a mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients so that the salt is thoroughly mixed with the cabbage. If you have time, leave it for 15-30 minutes - this will help draw the moisture out of the cabbage. 
3. With clean hands (or with gloves if you don't want purple stained fingers!) begin to mix and massage the cabbage. Continue for around 5-10 minutes, until liquid squeezes out of the cabbage. This purple liquid will help the fermentation process.
4.Add all the ingredients to your sterilised jar, pushing down as you go so that no air is trapped in the bottom of the jar. Keep pushing down as you add more cabbage (the back of a wooden spoon is helpful for this). The idea is to pack everything really tightly into the jar. 
5. Once you've added all the cabbage to the jar, continue to push it down until the cabbage is submerged in some of its liquid. If your sauerkraut seems dry, leaving the jar for an hour or so between pressing down can allow more of the liquid to release. 
6. Fold the cabbage leaves you set aside at the beginning to form a 'lid' that will fit in your jar. Place this on top of the sauerkraut and again, push the ingredients down with the back of the wooden spoon. Add a weight on top of the cabbage to keep it submerged in liquid. We use a small glass with some weights inside. Cover the jar with a fine cheesecloth. 
7.Now it's time to let the cabbage ferment! Around 7 days is the perfect amount of time. If you live in a very hot climate then you may need less time. Everyday, check on your jar and firmly push down the sauerkraut with the back of a wooden spoon. You should see air bubbles rise from the bottom of the jar. The cabbage should remain submerged in liquid.
8. After around 5-7 days, taste the sauerkraut to see if it suits your taste buds. 
9..Once your satisfied with your flavour, secure the jar with a tight lid and store in the fridge. It's now ready to be eaten and shared and should last for months if sealed well. The flavour generally improves after the sauerkraut has been in the fridge for a few days. 

Purple Sauerkraut with Fennel
Purple Sauerkraut with Fennel
Purple Sauerkraut with Fennel
Purple Sauerkraut with Fennel

Have you ever fermented anything at home? We'd love to hear your experiences! 

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Vegan Cashew Cheese Burrata

We've been experimenting with some dairy-free cheese recipes recently, which has been so much fun! This cashew cheese has been our favourite so far - it has the creamy texture of a soft cheese, but with a delicious nutty flavour. It's fermented over a few days, so it's full of healthy bacteria to help digestion and keep our tummies happy.We love incorporating fermented foods into our meals, not only because they are delicious, but they are also so healing for the gut. This cheese uses a probiotic to ferment, so it's a simple process and a great recipe to try if you're new to fermenting. The fermentation does take a few days, but please don't let this put you off...  It really is so simple to make & it's fun hanging the cheese in your kitchen and seeing it change!  

Cashew Cheese Burrata and Raw Crackers
Cashew Cheese Burrata and Raw Crackers

Cashew Cheese Burrata

(Recipe adapted from The Plant Power Way: Italia)
Ingredients
1 1/2 cups of cashews
1 acidophilus probiotic capsule
1 teaspoon of good quality salt
3/4 cup of plant milk (coconut or oat works well)
1 teaspoon of coconut oil

Method
1. Soak the cashews in water overnight. The next day, drain and rinse the nuts.
2. Add the cashews, acidophilus powder, salt, 1/4 cup of milk, coconut oil to a high speed blender. Blend on a high speed until the mixture is smooth. 
3. Fold the mixture into the center of a piece of fine cheesecloth. Gather the edges and tie them into a bundle with string. 
4. Hang the cheese bundle from a hook for 24 -48 hours. A thin rind should set up on the outside of the bundle. Place a small dish underneath it to catch any moisture drips. 
5. In a small bowl, place the remaining 1/2 cup of milk. Add the cheese bundle to the mix bath and place it in the fridge for 1 - 3 days. 
6. Remove the bundle from the milk bath and place it on a cutting board. Unfold the cheesecloth and cut the cheese into slices using a sharp knife. Enjoy! 
7. Consume within 3-4 days. 

Have you ever eaten/made vegan cheese? We'd love to hear your experiences! 

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