I was going to wait until I made another batch but what the heck. So most of you are familiar with traditional kimchi, it's cabbage fermented with a myriad of vegetables and loads of the unmistakable red Korean pepper flakes. It's spicy, tangy, fizzy and rich with umami enough to whet the appetite. But not everyone is into spicy food, and others have dietary restriction regarding the seafood in the paste blend. So I introduce the not so popular sister white kimchi. This is more akin to the European Sauerkraut, but of course the flavor profile is much more complex than just caraway seeds.
A little history, before the introduction of chili peppers in Asia, kimchi was originally made this way. Come the16th century, trade routes from the Americas finally reached most of Asia and introduced the chili pepper, though Koreans and Chinese will dispute that according the the Imperial Material Medica of those times, chili peppers were already being used as medicine since 850 and Koreans by the early 1400's, but there were no proof of cultivation. These peppers produced immediate heat sensation upon ingestion and through the theory of oriental medicine was believed to have Yang properties. Kimchi which was already known to have cooling effect or Yin properties because of its sour taste and the type of vegetable used in it is primarily eaten during the cold winter months, people started adding chilies into their kimchi crocks to balance the properties of the food and give them internal warmth in the winter. Eastern cultures believe that food can also be medicine. One legend of how kimchi with chili pepper came about was, there was a king who had weak constitution, and usually of no appetite, and guess what, the only thing he'd peck on is the kimchi side dish. The imperial kitchen who monitors what the royal family eats are at wits end on what to do. A clever court attendant who was assigned in the imperial kitchen secretly added chili peppers in the crock knowing its medicinal properties. The king ate the new kimchi, took another bite, then another, the spiciness whetting his appetite, then a few more days later the king was eating his full meal. The queen, delighted, asked her own court attendants to find out who's been preparing the king's meal. When she found out it was, the queen summoned her and promoted her rank and was designated the sole person to handle the king's meal. The news of the healing properties of the new found kimchi spread across the lands and from then on that's how people started preparing their kimchi and the plain white kimchi was left in the shadows.