Tag Archives: kimchi

7 Probiotic-Rich Foods You Need to Be Eating (And 3 Myths to Avoid)

Fermentation is far from a new fad, dating back to 6000 BC; and yet, it’s at the height of popularity right now. What began as a means of food preservation has turned into a nutrition phenomenon. It often begins with a few vegetables, some water and salt or a starter. Good bacteria break down sugars in the food being fermented to create lactic acid; this kills off any bad bacteria, leaving you with a tangy, sour, delicious food product that is literally bursting with nutrition. Fermentation makes food more digestible, it enhances its protein and mineral contents and it removes anti-nutrients like lectins found in grains. Most importantly, it’s rich in probiotics, which are live microorganisms that confer health benefits on the host (i.e. you). Fermentation has powerful effects on your immune system, digestive system and even your mood.

But, there’s confusion when it comes to fermentation, so here are three things to watch out for:

1. Yogurt May Not Actually Be the Best Source of Probiotics

Canadian yogurt is made with the active bacterial cultures Streptococcus thermophilus and Lactobacillus bulgaricus, but these are actually not considered to be probiotic by Health Canada, although they do have a range of health benefits. Look out for cultures such as Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium bifidum, Lactobacillus johnsonii on the ingredient list to find yogurt that is probiotic-rich.

2. Pickling and Fermenting Are Not the Same

Simply because something is pickled, does not necessarily mean that it’s fermented or rich in probiotics. For a food to be fermented, it needs the presence of live bacteria that also provide health benefits. Many foods are pickled using vinegar or “quick pickled”, which doesn’t allow for this probiotic presence.

3. Not All Fermented Foods Have Probiotics

Case and point: sourdough bread. The dough is fermented by bacteria, but once heated the probiotics are eliminated. Sourdough still has wonderful health benefits, probiotics are just not one of them. Other examples are beer and wine that have undergone fermentation but no longer have probiotic bacteria.

On the flip side, here are seven probiotic-rich foods you should incorporate into your diet:

1. Kimchi

Kimchi is a traditional Korean dish composed of pickled vegetables, mainly cabbage, and spices. It’s crunchy, hot and a delicious side addition to many meals. You can buy it at the grocery store or easily make it at home with this recipe.

Get the recipe for Chuck Hughes’ Cabbage Kimchi

2. Sauerkraut

Sauerkraut is another fermented cabbage dish, but this one was popularized in Eastern Europe. It’s got tons of Vitamin C and A, both important for keeping the immune system strong. Eat it as a side dish, in salads, or on top of a sausage. Like kimchi, you can buy sauerkraut at the grocery store and farmers’ markets, or make a batch in your kitchen.

Get the recipe for Vegan Sweet Potato and Sauerkraut Perogies

3. Kefir

Kefir is like a yogurt drink, but it’s slightly thinner and tangier with more bacterial presence. It’s often recommended to people who have digestive issues since it’s really rich in probiotics. It also has folic acid, so it’s a fabulous beverage to incorporate into your diet if you’re pregnant. Drink it by the glass or transform it into a delicious coleslaw dressing.

Get the recipe for Homestyle Kefir Coleslaw

4. Tempeh

Tempeh is a fermented soy cake originating from Indonesia. If you’ve never eaten it before, that description may sound odd, but it lends itself well to marinades and sauces and it makes for a fabulous mock bacon. The fermentation process not only provides probiotic richness, but it also helps eliminate phytates found in soybeans: these are anti-nutrients that bind to important minerals, like calcium, and prevent your body from absorbing them.

Get the recipe for Coconut Crusted Tempeh Skewers with Mango Salsa

5. Miso

Miso is one of the most versatile condiments: stir it into hot water to make miso soup, make it into a salad dressing, spread it over fish, chicken or cooked vegetables or even use it as an ingredient in baking cookies! It originates from Japan and is made from a combination of fermented soybeans, rice or barley.

Get the recipe for Glazed Salmon Miso Soup Rice Bowl

6. Kombucha

Kombucha is a fermented tea that is delightfully fizzy like pop. It’s brewed using a starter often called a mother or scoby (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeasts). This naturally carbonated beverage is rich in probiotics, antioxidants and B vitamins. Find it in the fridge at your grocery store or make it yourself at home.

See here for How to Batch Brew Kombucha

7. Preserved Lemons

If you’ve ever eaten a dish with preserved lemon, you know how tangy, tart and delicious they are. The really nutritious parts of lemons, such as the rind and pith (white part), are typically not eaten because of their bitterness, but after fermentation they become edible and tasty. A preserved lemon is a wonderful addition to Moroccan and Middle Eastern flavoured dishes; after fermentation, its concentration of vitamin C is heightened as well as its probiotic population.

Get the recipe for Chuck Hughes’ Preserved Lemons

Insanely Delicious Bacon Grilled Kimcheese Sandwich

There’s no way around it; grilled cheese sandwiches are ooey, gooey comfort food at its finest. While there are lots of mouthwatering  additions to a grilled cheese — apple, bacon, smoked meat — kimchi adds a zesty cabbage crunch.

This version marries the Canadian comfort classic of melted aged cheddar cheese and crispy bacon with tangy, spicy Korean kimchi.

Serve it with homemade spicy ketchup for the ultimate flavour bomb.kimchi-grilled-cheese-kimcheese

Bacon Grilled Kimcheese Sandwich

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Serves: 4

4 strips of bacon
8 slices white sourdough bread
2 1/2 cups aged Canadian cheddar cheese, grated
1 cup store-bought kimchi, drained with juices reserved
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onion
1/2 cup ketchup


1. Heat a large pan to medium and fry bacon until crispy, about 5 minutes. Remove bacon from pan and set aside on a paper towel. Remove pan from heat and reserve 1 Tbsp of bacon fat in a small bowl. Leave remaining bacon fat in pan for later use.

2. Divide cheese among four slices of bread. Cut each bacon strip in half and place on top of cheese. Divide kimchi among sandwiches and sprinkle each with 1 Tbsp of sliced green onion. Top each sandwich with remaining bread slices.

3. Reheat pan with bacon fat to medium. Place 2 sandwiches in pan and fry one side until golden, crispy and cheese has begun to melt, about 4 minutes. Flip each sandwich and fry the opposite side until golden and cheese has completely melted, another 4 minutes. Remove sandwiches from pan and set aside. Add reserved bacon fat back to pan. Repeat with the two remaining sandwiches.

4. Mix 2 Tbsp of reserved kimchi juice with ketchup. Serve with grilled cheese.

Looking for more deliciously cheesy snacks? Try our Garlic Fingers with Donair Sauce.

Fast Family Dinner: Fried Rice With Bacon

By Katherine Chong

Fried rice is one of those super versatile dishes you can whip up on any weeknight and it works especially well with leftover rice. Sometimes my much younger cousins, ages 8 and 11, come over for dinner. This is my go-to recipe for them—they can be picky eaters and getting them to eat what’s good for them can be difficult. However, I’ve found that mixing bacon with kimchi in fried rice appeals to both kids and adults.

The beauty of this recipe is that it is packed with kid-approved flavour, it’s flexible and it’s super quick to prepare. Both the rice and the bacon can be prepared ahead of time, to make the actual dinner itself super quick. After you’ve left work and picked up the kids, just 10 minutes in the wok or pan gets dinner on the table.

Bacon-Kimchi Fried Rice, Courtesy of Katherine Chong, piqueyeater.com, Toronto

Kid-approved and made in minutes, this satisfying fried rice recipe is perfect for weeknights.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Yield: 6-8 Servings

8 pieces low-sodium bacon (or turkey bacon)
4 cups (1 L) leftover cooked rice
3 eggs, beaten
2 cups (500 mL) frozen vegetables (of your choice)
1 cup (250 mL) kimchi, chopped
2 tbsp (30 mL) soy sauce
1 tbsp + 1½ tsp (22 mL) kimchi juice
¼ cup (60 mL) chopped green onion, divided

1. Chop bacon into 1-inch pieces. Fry in wok or non-stick skillet over medium-high heat until cooked but not crispy. Remove bacon from pan and drain off half the bacon fat.
2. Add leftover rice to skillet and cook, stirring, over medium-high heat.
3. Once rice is reheated, about 5 minutes, pour eggs into skillet and cook, tossing, until mixture begins to set.
4. Stir in frozen vegetables, kimchi, soy sauce, reserved kimchi juice, 2 tbsp (30 mL) green onions and reserved bacon. Cook, tossing, until heated through.
5. Top with remaining green onion just before serving.

Do you have a delicious dish to share with the rest of Canada? Submit your recipe for a chance to be featured on Great Canadian Cookbook and Food Network Canada!

The Piquey Eater
As a fourth-generation Chinese-Canadian, marrying the two cultures in the kitchen is a very important part of my life and something I write about on my blog. I’m also an adventurer, exploring other cuisines and cultures in the mosaic city of Toronto.

Quick and Easy Kimchi Fried Rice

Kimchi, that gorgeously-pungent, Korean fermented cabbage condiment that’s ridiculously satisfying and so addictive to eat. Thanks to the palate-crushing combo of spicy and sour and just the right amount of crunch, you’ll be looking for ways to add it to just about everything.

In this dish, I take advantage of all that built-in flavour to create a hearty bowl of fried rice that requires almost no added seasonings. With just a few fresh garnishes, leftover rice gets an umami-flavoured adrenaline shot.

Here, I’ve made it two ways. With a sunny egg that’s fried in sesame oil until crispy, and with a quick fry-up of ground chicken infused with garlic and ginger.


3 cups leftover steamed rice (3 cups), or freshly made rice, completely cooled
1 cup chopped kimchi
2-3 Tbsp Korean red pepper paste (gochujang)
3 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp vegetable oil
1 green onion, chopped
1 Tbsp roasted sesame seeds
1 sheet of roasted seaweed, shredded

1. In a large non-stick pan or wok, heat vegetable oil. Add the kimchi and stir fry for about one minute.
2. Add rice and gochujang and stir frequently with a wood spoon for 5-8 minutes. Add sesame oil and remove from heat.
3. Top with chopped green onion, seaweed and sesame seeds to taste.


Kimchi Fried Rice with a Sesame Fried Egg

4 eggs
2 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
1 green onion, chopped
1 Tbsp roasted sesame seeds
1 sheet of roasted seaweed, shredded

1. Heat the oil in a pan and fry eggs one at a time until desired doneness. Remove from heat.
2. Place fried egg over kimchi fried rice and garnish with chopped green onion, seaweed and sesame seeds to taste.


Kimchi Fried Rice with Ginger Chicken

1 pound ground chicken
3 Tbsp vegetable oil, divided
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp fresh ginger, minced
2 shallots, minced

1. Place garlic, ginger and shallots with 1 Tbsp vegetable in a blender and mix until chopped but still chunky.
2. Heat remaining oil in a large skillet and fry garlic/ginger mixture until fragrant, about 1 minute.
3. Add ground chicken and cook, breaking up chicken with the back of a wooden spoon and cook until browned, about 12-15 minutes.
4. Add chicken to kimchi fried rice and garnish with chopped green onion, seaweed and sesame seeds to taste.

BonnieMo Bonnie Mo is a Toronto-based editor and the face behind Food Network Canada’s Food Fetish column. She’s also a contributing editor over at slice.ca.