ANDEating kimchi may have some impressive health benefits, according to new research.

The fermented cabbage and vegetable dish is often linked to improving beneficial bacteria in the gut, and now a new study has found that the Korean classic may reduce the overall risk of obesity in men.

The results showed that men who ate one to three servings of kimchi cabbage per day had a 10% lower risk of obesity when compared to men who ate less than one serving.

The research, published in the journal BMJ Open, examined data from 115,726 people aged 40 to 69 in Korea. He also suggested that men and women who ate radish kimchi had an 8 to 11 percent reduction in the risk of fat in the midsection and abdomen.

So kimchi may be very good for you – as well as delicious – but it's not cheap to buy at the store.

If you want to reap the potential benefits of this gut-friendly food (especially if you want to eat several servings a day), the best way forward may be to prepare it at home.

Napa Cabbage Kimchi

Most traditional Korean meals incorporate some type of fermentation.

(Jinju Kang/PA)

According to Junghyun Park and Jungyoon Choi, authors of The Korean CookbookIf you sit down to a typical Korean meal, almost every dish incorporates some type of fermentation.

“Napa cabbage kimchi is one of Korea’s most iconic kimchi,” they say. “It’s typically made in the fall or winter when the napa cabbage is most delicious.”

This is Junghyun Park and Jungyoon Choi's napa cabbage kimchi recipe.

He does: 2-2.5kg


For the salted cabbage:

1 large napa cabbage/Chinese leaf

1 cup coarse sea salt

For the rice paste:

1 tablespoon glutinous rice flour

For the kimchi seasoning:

½ cup gochugaru

6 tablespoons minced garlic

1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger

2 cups Korean pear juice

1 tablespoon salted shrimp

3 tablespoons anchovy fish sauce

350g mu (Korean radish), cut into 4cm matchsticks

100g onion, halved and thinly sliced

50g chives, cut into 4cm pieces

30g minari, cut into 4cm pieces


1. Salt the cabbage: remove all damaged leaves from the cabbage. Make a five-centimeter incision at the base of the cabbage and pull it in half, tearing it with your hands. With extra-large napa cabbage, cut into quarters.

2. In a bowl, mix half a cup of coarse salt with four cups of water. Take the halved cabbage and dip it four times in the salted water, making sure each leaf is evenly coated. Repeat for everyone. Sprinkle the remaining half cup of salt evenly over the cabbage, focusing on the thickest parts of the leaves and including the outer layers and base.

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3. Choose an airtight glass or ceramic container large enough to hold the kimchi, with a little breathing room at the top (to prevent overflow during fermentation). Place the salted cabbage in the container with the cut side up. Pour remaining brine into bowl to cover. To keep cabbages from floating, place a heavier object, such as a water bottle, on top of the cabbage to keep it submerged.

4. Leave the cabbage in brine at room temperature for six to seven hours. Check that the cabbage is salty enough by gently folding the thickest part of the leaf; it should bend gently to the touch. Rinse the cabbage three times under cold running water, squeeze out excess water and place the cabbage side down in a colander to drain excess moisture. Discard the brine from the container.

5. Make the rice paste: In a small saucepan, combine the glutinous rice flour and a cup of water and place over medium heat, stirring constantly so the flour does not stick. When bubbles begin to form, cook, stirring, for another three minutes to form a paste. Remove from heat and let cool completely.

6. Make the kimchi seasoning: In a large bowl, combine the gochugaru, garlic, ginger, pear juice, brine shrimp, fish sauce, and cooled rice paste and mix until evenly combined. Add the radish, onion, chives and minari and mix.

7. To assemble the kimchi, stuff each layer of prepared cabbage with the kimchi seasoning mix. After finishing each slice, use the outermost leaf to wrap the cabbage to prevent the kimchi seasoning from escaping. Place the finished kimchi in the container with the cut side facing up, pressing the cabbages firmly so that there is no space left in the container. Pour the remaining kimchi seasoning over the pressed cabbages. Cover the surface of the kimchi with plastic wrap to avoid contact with oxygen as much as possible and close the container. Let it ferment at room temperature for one to two days and then refrigerate for another 10 days.

8. Kimchi can be stored for more than a year if kept well in the refrigerator, as long as it avoids contact with oxygen as much as possible.

'The Korean Cookbook' by Junghyun Park and Jungyoon Choi (Phaidon Press, £39.95).