Pic courtesy of Wholefood Heaven
So, when Mortier Pilon asked if I would like to experiment in my kitchen with their fermentation crock, and wondered if I fancied having a go at making some homemade vegan kimchi, it seemed that fate had at last played her hand and Vegan Kimchi Buddha Bowls would be happening in deepest Somerset!
Fermentation is not something we have taken to our collective foodie bosoms in the UK and I really think we are missing out. While we might grab a jar of sauerkraut off the supermarket shelf, most commercially produced fermented food is pasteurised which means that all the benefits to our health which fermentation offers are undone – daft! Much better to make our own and let all those beneficial microflora work their magic in our tummies!
- Restore the natural balance of your gut flora
- Stabilize gastric acidity
- Facilitate nutrient absorption
- Contribute to intestinal health
- Are preserved with no loss of nutritional value
- Stimulate the immune system.
Mortier Pilon’s fermentation crocks are made of glass with a ceramic weight to keep all your vegetables pressed down into your delicious fermentation sauce. The lid has a chamber for a water barrier which means that the crock provides an aerobic fermenting environment – which all sounds a bit scientific but means that oxygen is locked out as well as released from the fermentation crock. I’m told this is a good thing, that it is the essence of good fermentation so that’s good, isn’t it?! The crock also comes with a handy recipe booklet and there are more recipes and instructions online.
Homemade Vegan Kimchi Buddha Bowl
I combined the recipe for Kimchi Baechu (Nappa Cabbage Kimchi) in the accompanying booklet with Minimalist Baker’s excellent recipe for easy vegan kimchi since most kimchi recipes list fish sauce as an essential ingredient – bleurgh!
I made up my Vegan Kimchi Buddha Bowl with some roasted spiced butternut squash (roasted for half an hour with some oil, some smoked paprika and some cumin seeds), cooked basmati and wild rice, chopped Taifun smoked tofu, flash steamed ruby chard and some toasted Omega seed sprinkle. The kimchi did exactly what it was supposed to do and added a huge kick of flavour.
Since I made this first batch kimchi has popped up on toasties, with salad and with lentil loaf. It complements so many dishes and adds a real oomph to mealtimes. I warn you, it is a bit addictive – once you start fermenting, you can’t stop!
Mortier Pilon have a wide range of crocks for fermentation, canning and preserving and for kombucha brewing which I really fancy having a go at next.
For the Cabbage
- 3 large heads nappa cabbage aka Chinese leaves here in the UK
- 1/2 cup sea salt
For the Vegan Fish Sauce (Via Minimalist Baker)
- 6 tbsp tamari sauce
- 6 tsps coconut sugar
- 1 cup pineapple juice
- 1 cup warm water
- For the Chilli Sauce
- 3 tbsp freshly grated ginger
- 6 cloves of garlic finely chopped
- 1 onion diced
- 3 tbsp dried red chilli both Mortier Pilon and Minimalist Baker call for 1/2 cup – if you think your eyes will cope, go for it, mine won’t!
- 4 medium carrots grated
- 6 spring onions chopped
- Thoroughly rinse your cabbages and cut them into quarters – keeping the core intact so that the leaves stay attached.
- In a large, clean bowl, sprinkle the sea salt generously between each of the leaves, making sure you get right down to the bottom of them by the core.
- Cover the bowl and let it stand at room temperature for three hours
- Once every half an hour turn the cabbage and press it down with your hands – it will begin to soften and water will be released as it stands.
- While this is going on make your sauce.
- Put all the ingredients for your chilli sauce into a food processor and pulse until combined.
- Add all your vegan ‘fish’ sauce ingredients to the processor and blend.
- Combine your sauce with your carrots and spring onions in a clean bowl.
- Rinse your wilted cabbage throughly.
- Coat each cabbage quarter with sauce – I used a pastry brush to do this rather than getting chilli hands!
- Place the cabbage in the fermentation jar, pour in any remaining sauce, leaving 2cm of space between the cabbage and the rim.
- Place the ceramic weight on top.
- Screw on the ring and fill in the water barrier and pop on the lid.
- Leave to ferment for about a week.
What would you serve your homemade vegan kimchi up with? Have you got a fabulous recipe for fermented food I should be trying?
Disclosure: This Vegan Kimchi Buddha Bowl recipe was commissioned by Mortier Pilon to show off their beautiful glass crocks and the benefits of fermentation.