Is Fermented Kimchi Halal?


Photo Courtesy: Jin Li

Kimchi is halal to eat. The tiny traces of alcohol released during the fermentation process is not enough to intoxicate you. Therefore, it is considered halal for muslims to eat Kimchi.

According to Islamic scholars, fermented food is halal. (source).

In this article, we will take a closer look into why it is considered halal.

What is Kimchi?

Kimchi is a famous dish in Korea. In a nutshell, Kimchi is fermented cabbage. To clarify, kimchi is a vegetarian dish that contains cabbage, radish, spices, and a lot of other ingredients. Kimchi is a dish suitable for Muslims, and vegans

Kimchi is very popular in Korea and other Asian cuisines. Kimchi has been gaining popularity and muslims should be aware of whether it is halal or not, and why that is.

Why Is Kimchi Halal & Permissible for Muslims to Eat?

Kimchi is considered halal because of two reasons: There is no mention in the Quran or any other Hadith that it is haram. Furthermore, alcohol content in Kimchi is too low to intoxicate you.

The general principle in Islam indicates that all foods are permissible (halal), and nothing is disallowed (haram) except for which there is evidence in Quran or sunnah that says it is haram and should not be eaten. An example of this would be pork.

Back to kimchi, there is no direct evidence in the Quran or any hadith that classifies it as haram therefore, it is considered halal. 

There are many different types of halal fermented food, kimchi is one of them (source).

Scholars stated that minimal amounts of intoxicating alcohol are permissible. Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen has a fatwa addressing this, he stated that a small amount of intoxicated alcohol is not haram. (source)

Islamic scholars have noted that the fermentation process in food is considered halal. A fatwa from Islam web states that if there is a tiny amount of alcohol that is transformed into a non-intoxicant, it is pure and halal (source).

In conclusion, we can say that kimchi is considered halal. On the other hand, we definitely encourage you to pay attention to the ingredients involved in preparing halal kimchi.

Does Alcohol In Kimchi Make It Haram To Eat?

There are hundreds of kimchi recipes; none of them contain alcohol in their ingredients. But during the fermentation process, a very tiny amount of alcohol is released. but this small amount is not considered haram as it doesn’t have the same effect as regular alcohol, so we can say it is permissible to eat kimchi. (source).

The general rule when it comes to consuming foods with tiny traces of alcohol is that even if you consume a lot of it, it should not be able to intoxicate you.

A great example of this is Kombucha Tea. During the 10 day fermentation process, there is a small amount of alcohol released. However, the alcohol content is small. If you were to only drink kombucha for a week, that wouldn’t be enough to intoxicate you (it won’t be able to get you drunk).

What does Fermentation mean?

Fermentation is a process that transforms any ingredients into another edible food using bacteria. Such as milk into yogurt, cabbage into kimchi, and so on… 

Fermented foods’ benefits are:

  • Fermentation makes food more easily digestible and increases nutrient absorption, 
  • It gives food a better taste,
  • Fermented food is done by using microorganisms and these bacteria have a lot of benefits to your body. (source)

We should mention that fermentation releases a small amount of alcohol. But this amount is very tiny to consider haram.

What does Kimchi Taste Like?

kimchi is a fermented dish. That is to say, its most prominent flavor is typically sour, and during fermentation, a tangy, pungent flavor similar to pickled food is created.

How to Make Halal Kimchi

Kimchi’s basic ingredients are :

  • Cabbage
  • Ginger
  • Garlic
  • Red pepper powder
  • Onions
  • Fruits 
  • salt, sugar, and Spices 
  • Vinegar
  • And other ingredients depend on the recipe.

First, we mix all of the ingredients. Second, we seasoned the cabbage with the above ingredients. Finally, put the mixture in a container that is well closed for at least a month. Here is a video for the halal kimchi recipe.

Here’s the Halal kimchi recipe that we mentioned above (source).

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