Whether you’re a vegetarian or a vegan or just want to eat healthier and more nutritious food, you’ll also find that fermented foods can be a real treat! From the obvious (just to soothe those who might be new to the topic) to the exotic – here are eight must-eat fermented delicacies.
It’s made from carefully fermented soybeans, and it’s absolutely delicious. If you’re a vegetarian, the addition of tempeh to your diet will give you a complete source of protein. Tempeh needs to be cooked. Slice it into thin slivers and fry it, or crumble it in to dishes during cooking. The flavor of this traditional Indonesian food is deliciously nutty.
All it takes is cabbage, salt and a carefully controlled fermentation process, and suddenly the humble cabbage becomes a fantastic source of probiotics that help to keep your whole body healthy. It’s even used for cancer prevention. Get an enhanced load of absorbable minerals, vitamins as well as a healthy source of dietary fiber. Eat it as it is as a vegetable, use it as a burger topping or add it to soups.
Most people think of Kimchi as being a spicy cousin of sauerkraut, but there’s more to it than that. There are hundreds of different recipes for this Korean dish, and radish, scallion or cucumber is often used instead of cabbage. Koreans eat this nutritious food as a main course with fried rice or dumplings as well as using it for a spring-roll filling. In a study at Seoul University, birds with avian flu that were fed Kimchi recovered completely.
4) Other fermented vegetables
Since fermentation is basically a form of pickling in brine, so it should come as no surprise to discover that carrots, aubergines, squash, turnips, peppers, green tomatoes and even lettuce are also popular in a fermented format. Serve these tasty treats up as a side dish or experiment with a few of your own recipes.
Try this fermented food as a marinade for fish or chicken or a braising for vegetables. It also makes an excellent dip for fresh veg. Add it to sauces or spread it over corn on the cob before cooking. It’s more of a spice and a salt substitute than a food, and it’s made from a combination of grains that traditionally included soybeans, rice, buckwheat, millet, rice, rye and hemp. These days the range of foods you can make Miso out of extends to chickpeas, quinoa, amaranth and corn.
If you thought you were new to the idea of eating fermented food, this one should reassure you. You’ve been eating fermented food for years! It also proves the point about fermented foods having the ability to give your body probiotics. Watch out for store-bought yoghurt! Sweeteners will destroy the bacteria and even if the yoghurt is unsweetened, you have no idea of how much of the live culture has survived the manufacturing, handling and refrigeration process by the time you buy it.
Kefir is a drinkable, yoghurt-type drink, but it’s not quite the same as yoghurt. Apart from being a drinkable ‘food’, its flavor differs slightly from that of yoghurt. It’s full of probiotics, vitamins, minerals and protein. Start your day with Kefir taken on an empty stomach.
8) Fermented tofu
Also known as tofu cheese, fermented tofu consists of fermented soybean bean curd. It’s a favorite ingredient in East Asian cuisine. Use it in stir fries or veggie dishes or use it as a seasoning on meat. If you’re exploring Asian cuisine, you will find many recipes that include ‘fermented bean curd’ as fermented tofu is also known.
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