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This 4-Ingredient Korean Secret Is Scientifically Proven To Keep You From Getting Sick

Liz Moody
Contributing Food Editor
By Liz Moody
Contributing Food Editor
Liz Moody is a food editor, recipe developer and green smoothie enthusiast. She received her creative writing and psychology degree from The University of California, Berkeley. Moody is the author of two cookbooks: Healthier Together and Glow Pops and the host of the Healthier Together podcast.
Marvin Singh, M.D.
Medical review by
Marvin Singh, M.D.
Integrative Gastroenterologist
Marvin Singh, M.D. is an integrative gastroenterologist in San Diego, California. He is trained and board certified in internal medicine and gastroenterology/hepatology.
Image by Martí Sans / Stocksy
Last updated on December 10, 2019

While we've long lauded the health benefits of garlic for boosting immunity and fermented food for, well, everything, we've never combined the two—until now. Jean Choi, author of Korean Paleo, explains that the secret to highly delicious Korean food—and a powerfully strong immune system—is something known as Manuel Jjangachi.

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"This recipe is a popular side dish in Korea, loved for its spicy, garlicky kick, mixed with the addictive slightly sweet tang from the honey and the fermentation process," Choi explains. "Garlic, the main ingredient, is a known nutritional powerhouse for its antifungal and antimicrobial properties. It contains beneficial compounds found to reduce inflammation, offer antioxidant benefits, and strengthen our immune system. Honey also boosts antioxidants in our body and increases our ability to fight disease. When used together, these can become a powerful tool during cold and flu season or for everyday health maintenance."

While the two ingredients alone are great, they're made exponentially greater by the fermentation process. "The allicin in garlic, which gives it its immune-boosting properties, is significantly increased when fermented," Choi says.

She recommends that you enjoy Manuel Jjangachi every day as a condiment, but, if you're coming down with something, you can load up with about a quarter-cup of it two or three times a day to fight off whatever bug you are dealing with. Make it ahead of time and store it in the fridge indefinitely, so you have it on hand whenever you need it.

Manuel Jjangachi (Pickled Fermented Garlic)

Makes 4½ cups (454 g)

Ingredients

  • 1 pound (454 g) fresh garlic (about 10 heads)
  • 1⅓ cups (320 mL) apple cider vinegar, divided
  • water
  • ¾ cup (180 mL) coconut aminos
  • 2 tablespoons (30 mL) honey
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Method

  1. Separate the garlic cloves from the heads and cut off the root ends. Place in a large bowl and cover with hot water for 30 minutes to 1 hour so they are easier to peel. Peel the skin, then drain. Place the peeled garlic in a 1-quart (1-L) glass jar.
  2. Add 1 cup (240 mL) of apple cider vinegar, then fill the rest with water until the garlic cloves are completely submerged. Close the lid and let it sit at room temperature for a week.
  3. Drain the liquid from the jar. Combine the coconut aminos, ⅓ cup (80 mL) of apple cider vinegar, and honey, then pour it into the jar with the garlic cloves. If the garlic cloves aren't completely covered by the brine, add water until they are.
  4. Let the jar sit at room temperature for 2 weeks or longer. I've let them ferment for over a month. The longer they sit, the better the flavors will build. Begin tasting weekly, and once they have fermented to your liking, transfer to the refrigerator. They will last indefinitely.

Based on excerpts from Korean Paleo by Jean Choi, with the permission of Page Street Publishing. Copyright © 2018.d

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Liz Moody
Liz Moody
Contributing Food Editor

Liz Moody is an author, blogger and recipe developer living in Brooklyn, New York. She graduated with a creative writing and psychology degree from The University of California, Berkeley. Moody has written two cookbooks: Healthier Together: Recipes for Two—Nourish Your Body, Nourish Your Relationships and Glow Pops: Super-Easy Superfood Recipes to Help You Look and Feel Your Best. She also hosts the Healthier Together Podcast, where she chats with notable chefs, nutritionists, and best-selling authors about their paths to success. Her work has been featured in Vogue, Glamour, Food & Wine & Women’s Health.