Kimchi is a traditional Korean dish of fermented vegetables, the most common of which are napa cabbage and daikon radish (but check out other types of kimchi). In addition to being served as banchan, Korean side dishes presented as part of a meal, it can also be used in a variety of cooked dishes. Try it as a sauce for Brussels sprouts, with braised short ribs, or in Korean tofu soup. The versatility of kimchi makes it great to use in everyday cooking, and the fermentation makes it a powerful probiotic.
Game plan: Kimchi needs time to ferment, so we recommend starting a batch about a week before you plan to use it.
What to buy: Korean red pepper powder or kochukaru is what gives kimchee its spiciness. It can be found in Korean markets in large resealable plastic bags, in different grades of coarseness and spiciness. Choose a grade based on your personal preference.
Also known as saeujeot, Korean salted shrimp are very small, naturally fermented shrimp that impart authentic flavor to kimchi. They are sold in jars and can be found in the refrigerator case of Korean markets.
Special equipment: You will need a clean 2-quart or 2-liter glass jar with a tightfitting lid to hold the kimchi while it ferments. Do not use plastic, as the odors from the kimchi can be hard to remove from plastic.