How to make the perfect red cabbage sauerkraut
Amsterdam-based chef and member, Samantha Koch, shares her recipe
Sunday 27 February 2022 Video by Levien Priem
Soho House Amsterdam Committee member, Samantha Koch, is big on gut health. The wholefood recipe developer, chef, and founder of Healthy Happy has created a platform for food authors to present workshops and classes to their readership. She regularly hosts and moderates panels on food and wellness, and has also co-founded a kombucha brewery in Amsterdam.
In this video, filmed at Soho House Amsterdam, Koch demonstrates how to make the perfect fermented red cabbage sauerkraut, and explains the know-how behind lacto-fermentation. ‘Fermentation has been a longstanding part of my family’s food heritage in Malaysia as a traditional method of food preservation,’ she says. ‘It’s been a regular feature in our diet since forever. When I came to truly understand the science behind it in my twenties, and appreciate the benefits and flavour profiles, I was hooked.’
Read on for an explanation of fermentation:
Sauerkraut (fermented cabbage) is a traditional method of food preservation that has great health benefits for your gut. Cabbage naturally ferments because its leaves collect lactobacillus – a good probiotic bacteria – from the air and soil.
Lacto-fermentation forms the perfect environment for the lactobacillus to flourish. When the cabbage is massaged with salt, the cell wall structure breaks down to release its own water. The 2% salt technique creates the ideal brine habitat for lactobacillus to grow and for bad bacteria to die off. Leaving the cabbage in a stable and warm location (18 to 22°C) for around five to 30 days allows it to do its work and ferment into sauerkraut. Tasting it every few days informs you about how the taste develops until it reaches the flavour profile you like best.
Fermentation naturally preserves the nutritional benefits of the cabbage, making its vitamins more bioavailable for our bodies to absorb than when raw, and its red pigmentation is a great antioxidant. It also develops a wonderful sour and tangy flavour – all in all, great results for such a simple process.