In praise of … Kimchi

If the thought of eating fermented cabbage makes you squirm, then perhaps you’re not ready for it – but plenty of others are. Kimchi, a staple of Korean cuisine which marries raw vegetables with spices, is enjoying growing popularity far west of Seoul or Pyongyang. A spicier, more colourful, cousin of Germany’s sauerkraut, it can lighten up a number of meals: simply eaten with rice, added to stews for depth of flavour, slathered on a fried egg sitting on top of a bed of wilted spring greens, or replacing onions in a hot dog. Variations are almost infinite, but a good start would be to bring together shredded Napa cabbage, daikon radish, garlic, ginger, fish paste and sugar, along with a generous helping of chilli powder. A few days fermenting in a glass jar does the trick – it is ready when the concoction starts bubbling. The result is pungent, but don’t let the strange smell put you off: it’s part of the experience. Best of all, it keeps for weeks.