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Spice It Up! Korean Cole Slaw

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The Korean name for this cole slaw is YangBaeChu MuChim. It is a variation of Korea’s national dish, kimchi.[1] Kimchi (a/k/a Gimchi) to Koreans is like cheese to Wisconsinites, so much so that Korean “natives say ‘kimchi’ instead of ‘cheese’ when getting their pictures taken.[2]The Kimchi Field Museum in Seoul has documented 187 historic and current varieties of kimchi.”[1] Kimchi varieties are determined by the main vegetable ingredients and the mix of seasonings used to flavor the kimchi. The ingredients can be replaced or added depending on the type of kimchi being made. In addition, many varieties of kimchi can and are used as an ingredient in other Korean dishes.

Nutritional Value

Way back when, kimchi was prepared, placed in jars and buried underground for months to ferment for months.[1] Once refrigeration found its way to Korea, specially made refrigerators for allowing the fermentation of kimchi was made available to those that could afford such a luxury.

What does that little factoid have to do with the nutritional value of kimchi? Since the main ingredient of kimchi is a vegetable, kimchi contains a high concentration of fiber[3] is rich in vitamin A, thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), calcium, and iron[4] and low in calories. One serving can provide over 50% of the daily recommended amount of vitamin C and carotene. Most kimchi contains red pepper, onions and garlic, all of which promote good health and physical well-being.[1] The fermentation process aids in the development of the good bacteria that our bodies need. Health magazine named kimchi in its list of top five "World's Healthiest Foods" for being rich in vitamins, aiding digestion, and even possibly reducing cancer growth.[2]

Nutritional composition of typical kimchi[1]


Per 100 g


Per 100 g

Food Energy

32 kcal


88.4 g

Crude protein

2.0 g

Crude Lipid

0.6 g

Total sugar

1.3 g

Crude fiber

1.2 g

Crude ash

0.5 g


45 mg


28 mg

Vitamin A

492 IU

Vitamin B1

0.03 mg

Vitamin B2

0.06 mg


2.1 mg

Vitamin C

21 mg




The Difference Between Korean and American Cole Slaws

As much as I love American cole slaw, the use of red pepper in the following recipe is a great change from the usual mayo or vinegar based cole slaw. Red pepper “was introduced to Korea from Japan after the Japanese invasions (1592-1598) and became a staple ingredient in kimchi[5], but “not documented until the 18th century”.[6] Red pepper is the #1 ingredient for spice and is the source of heat for many varieties of kimchi and other dishes in Korean cuisine.

The following recipe was developed from my own trial and error. It is simple, easy, quick and quite tasty. The kimchi is crunchy with just the right amount of spice to give your palate a little heat and add spice to a dull meal.


½ head of cabbage, shredded

1 medium carrot, julienned (matchstick size)

2 green onions, finely chopped

1 tsp. garlic, minced

2 Tbsp. red pepper flakes (gochugaru)

1½ Tbsp. apple cider or rice vinegar

1 Tbsp. sesame seeds

2 tsp. sugar

1½ tsp. sesame oil

1½ tsp. salt

For Your Slicing, Shredding and Julienne Needs

Benriner Japanese Mandoline Slicer, Green
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Korean Red Chili Flakes, Gochugaru (1 Lb) By Tae-kyung
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Preparation Time: 20 minutes

Using a large knife, cut the halved head of cabbage in half lengthwise and then cut each half across the width in half. You should now have four pieces. Use a mandolin slicer and shred the cabbage and julienne the carrot (using the largest julienne insert for the mandolin) over a large bowl. If you do not have a mandolin slicer, use a knife to shred the cabbage and julienne the carrot and add to bowl.

Ready to Mix
In the same large bowl, add the remaining ingredients in order and mix together thoroughly with hands (wear rubber gloves to avoid staining of hands). Serve immediately or store in air-tight container (preferably glass) in refrigerator until ready to serve. Leftovers can be served for up to a week.

Try this kimchi as a side dish to meals or as a relish on hamburgers, hot dogs, sandwiches and tacos. For a more traditional use, serve with steamed rice and other Korean side dishes, including Kalbi.

Korean Cole Slaw

Discover Other Varieties of Kimchi



Oct 14, 2014 9:19am
I love Korean food and especially kimchi! You're recipe sounds easy to follow - I'm going to share this with the husband as a hint that he should make this.
Oct 20, 2014 7:06pm
I hope you enjoy it. Thanks for stopping by.
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  1. "Kimchi." Wikipedia. 2/09/2014 <Web >
  2. "World's Healthiest Foods: Kimchi (Korea)." Health Magazine. 2/09/2014 <Web >
  3. "Kimchi Nutritional Value." The Korean Diet. 2/09/2014 <Web >
  4. "Kimchi." The Vegetarian Resource Group - Vegetarian Journal. 2/09/2014 <Web >
  5. Sook-ja Yoon Good Morning Kimchi!. Seoul: Hollym International Corporation, 2005.
  6. Mark Magnier "In an age of SARS, Koreans tout kimchi cure." Los Angeles Times. 2/09/2014 <Web >

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