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Smoky Beetroot & Rhubarb Kimchi

Rachel de Thample's Kimchi as shared on Channel 4's Sunday Brunch


Give the beetroot a good scrub, or peel it. Quarter each root, then cut each quarter into 1cm thick slices and place in a large bowl. Cut the rhubarb into 1cm-thick slices.

Whisk the water and salt together in a bowl to make a brine. Pour over the beetroot and rhubarb. Cover with a clean tea towel and leave overnight or for 12 hours, if possible – this soaking time helps soften the beetroot so you can pack it more easily into the jar.

Drain the beetroot and rhubarb, saving the now-pink brine. Stir the chilli, garlic, ginger and ground cinnamon through the beetroot. Pack the veg into the jar, tucking the star anise and bay leaf in along the side of the jar once it’s about half-filled. Press each layer down as tightly as you can. Fill the jar until you have 2-3cm headspace.

Arrange an overlapping layer of bay leaves on top. Then, pour on the reserved brine, letting it slowly filter through the compacted veg - you should see air bubbles floating up as the brine works its way down. Fill the jar right to the top with brine. Secure with a lid.

Set the jar on a plate to catch any juices and leave at room temperature to ferment for 1-2 weeks until the brine is bubbly and the beetroot has a zingy tang.

Transfer the kimchi to the fridge to arrest fermentation. It will keep for months, if not years, as long as the beetroot is submerged under brine and the jar is airtight.


Smoky beetroot ketchup Blitz the fermented kimchi with the brine and/or a little cider vinegar in a jug blender. Pass through a fine-meshed sieve, thin with a splash of water, if needed, then sweeten to taste with honey, molasses or brown sugar. Store in the fridge and use within a week.

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Makes about 500g

300g beetroot

100g rhubarb

1 litre filtered water

40g sea salt

1 chipotle chilli, finely chopped or 1 tsp chipotle chilli flakes

A pinch of salted and smoked chillies

3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped

1 tbsp freshly grated ginger

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1 star anise

5 bay leaves

Fermentation time

7-14 days