Kimchi’s less fashionable relative (a little like a lesser-known Kardashian), sauerkraut is nonetheless my firm favourite. I’m not quite so au fait with Korean cuisine to know for sure if you can cook kimchi. Probably - but with full respect to kimchi of course, it won’t quite have the comfy palatability of choucroute for European taste buds.
I make this traditional, albeit largely made up, Christmas side dish of cooked sauerkraut with lots of wild dried mushrooms - tonnes of flavour. Chorizo and choucroute is lovely, choucroute garnie with sausages and speck comes in the same league as a good cassoulet and tastes just as blissful. There is something reassuringly tame about sauerkraut that makes it a fantastic canvas for cooked dishes which kimchi with all the arrogance of gochujang cannot match.
But I should be talking all about raw and fermented so I’m side-tracking. Recipes abound, everyone is fermenting like crazy and the reports of all those good bacteria doing wonders to our guts are making poor old sauerkraut blush. Ah, yes - you CAN make it with red cabbage, too.
The visions of heads upon heads of cabbage and special crocks (sic) necessary for the exercise are a vast exaggeration. A bit like making jam, you can shred barely a head with a couple of garlic cloves at a time and throw it in one medium sized jar - and it needn’t even be a special pickling type. It’s easy.
And it doesn’t smell the house out, honest.