Mumbai chef highlights health benefits of fermented food
Chef Gresham Fernandes on how to ferment food and why it could be the best health fad
Chef Gresham Fernandes making burgers with the kimchi.âÂÂPics/Bipin Kokate
It's good for your gut, and just a more healthier way to live," says Chef Gresham Fernandes of Salt Water Grill. We are talking about fermented food and how it could change your life. "It's basically the breaking down of a product by its own enzymes. When that happens, it's just easier to digest. Also, it releases many more vitamins and nutrients that way. For example, rather than eating dal and chawal, it's healthier to ferment them together as an idli batter and eat that instead," he says. Technically, fermentation is the chemical breakdown of a substance by bacteria, yeasts, or other microorganisms.
"There are many fermented foods you can add in your diet - Kombucha, sour dough, even beer. One easy fermented food to make could be the kimchi," he says. Kimchi, which is a Korean dish of spicy pickled cabbage, is usually served in restaurants as an appetiser, but Fernandes says you can use it in a variety of ways - "purée it and add it to your fried rice or soup." To make Kimchi at home, Fernandes says one needs to just massage white cabbage with salt, and add ingredients like ginger, garlic and chilli paste according to taste.
Then, keep it out for a day in a container wrapped with a muslin cloth. When you notice a bubble formation the next day, put in the fridge. The major factor to watch out for is that everything is clean. "Make sure your containers are sterilised," says Fernandes, "I would also recommend that it's not fed to pregnant women because of its pungency." Fermenting is the best way to go if you are trying to clean up your life, he adds. "It's slowly replacing processed food. For example, instead of cheese paste, eat parmesan in its true form. It's fermented and healthier."
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