Kimcheat Your Way to a Healthy Microbiome

Kathleen's picture

Korean food has been getting a lot of attention in the culinary world lately, much to my delight. Growing up in a Korean-American family, kimchi was a staple of my mother’s kitchen table and I can’t ever recall a meal where it was not incorporated into the cooking in some form or another.

Fermented foods are ubiquitous to Korean cooking and from an early age, I remember my mother emphasizing the importance of good digestive health. Kimchi was often the panacea to the myriad of bodily ailments - constipated or diarrhea? Eat more kimchi. Feeling sick? Here’s some kimchi stew. Feeling blue? My mother’s kimchi mandoo (dumplings) was an instant cure. Turns out, my mother was right on the money. Recent research and writing demonstrates that cultivating a good microbiome has long-ranging health benefits. Everything from good digestive health (which is the most obvious), to our metabolism, to emotional health seems to be tied to a good gut bacterial colony.

I apologize in advance for those of you who like exact measurements in their recipes. Korean food is often cooked with measurements that we call “son-mat” which translates to “hand-taste”. This means that recipes are often not written down. In fact, I’ve personally never received a recipe from my mother. Any Korean cooking I’ve learned to do has been from watching her, writing down the list of ingredients that she throws in the pan and experimenting on my own. So I invite you to do the same.

Kimchi Fried Rice

  • Brown rice (I will sometimes sub with quinoa)

  • Diced Kimchi (Shout out to Mrs. Kim of Kim’s Mart on Broadway x St. George who sells her delicious homemade kimchi out of her neighborhood corner store)

  • Vegetables (whatever is handy works - mushrooms, broccoli, kale, cauliflower, zucchini)

  • Butter (Kimchi and butter is the 8th Wonder of the World..Despite the bad rap it’s gotten over the years, I rave about how/why butter is actually a superfood here)

  • Eggs

  • Roasted sesame seeds

  • Sesame Oil

Optional: side dish of roasted and salted seaweed/laver (look for olive oil on the packaging as opposed to canola or corn oil). Confused about what fats are good for you? Check out this blog post).

  1. Cook rice or quinoa

  2. Stir fry vegetables in olive oil or butter til al dente. Set aside.

  3. Scramble eggs in butter

  4. Leave eggs in pan. Add kimchi and more butter. Fry about 3 minutes until kimchi is tender.

  5. Add cooked brown rice/quinoa to the frying pan. Add more butter.

  6. Add the vegetables you had set aside earlier.

  7. Garnish with sesame seeds and a drizzle of sesame oil

  8. Enjoy!

Healthy Microbiome Kimchi, fermented foods for Healthy gut microbiome