Curtido - Fermented Cabbage Slaw
Do you enjoy making fermented foods for the home? I know I do! The health benefits of fermented foods are well-documented and there is so much out there that you can make! Whether it is kimchi from Korea (hint hint: I have my version), sauerkraut from Germany, homemade kombucha or vinegar, kefir, or even beautiful miso in a Japanese dish, you have a small list already. Now, that list just got bigger with Curtido!
This is made with simple ingredients that everyone can find locally. Sure, there is some prep work involved but, when it is all done, it is totally worth it! Be sure to have some sterilized canning jars or air-tight plastic containers with lids to let this ferment on your counter and be ready for packing in the fridge when the time comes!
I make this in large batches so that is how I compiled the amounts used. This was written in a way that it will be very easy for you to scale it down on your own. For some ingredients, you will need a digital scale.
INGREDIENTS: 1lb/453g Cabbage (green or purple) shredded or grated 8oz/226g Red or White Onion - thinly sliced 8oz/226g Carrots - shredded or grated 2.5oz/71g Garlic, freshly minced 1-2 Limes juiced 1/4 C Red Wine Vinegar Kosher salt - for coating and to ferment Cane Sugar - to taste, optional Mexican Oregano - to taste, optional
For some of the ingredients, you will notice both oz/g have been used. A digital scale is a valuable tool to have in your kitchen. For about US$10-$20, you can find a versatile digital scale that allows for multiple options of weighing your ingredients and to tare when working with a one-bowl recipe. Choose your cutting method for this recipe: knife, box grater, food processor or even a peeler. Into one mixing bowl, add your garlic and vegetables. Toss this evenly. Squeeze the limes right over the bowl. Make sure to toss the vegetable base in the lime juice as evenly as possible. Add your kosher salt to the very top - gently coating. Then, mix this around. Repeat twice as the kosher salt is the key element in fermenting the vegetables. This will help draw out the natural fluids of the vegetables into the bowl.
DO NOT RINSE and keep that fluid in the bowl. We want this mixture to sit on the counter with a weight on top of it to keep it packed down. In a 60-90 minute time frame, you will want to toss to coat and pack this down again with the weight (I used a take-out plastic lid with a large glass mug on top of it). After that time frame, go ahead and add your vinegar. Toss this again to get a nice coating. Normally this would sit on the counter for three to four days to let the fermentation really take control. However, if you prep this in the early morning, it can still be served the night-of but wont be as fermented at that point. It will still taste delicious though. You will see some seepage at the bottom of the bowl and that is normal. For storing, you need a sterilized jar or an air-tight plastic container, partially covered while the fermenting process finishes on the counter. Pack this down and store in the fridge. Where Curtido is traditionally served with pupusa, let's take a look below!
Here we have the final dish that showcases a Cilantro-Lime dressing, the pupusa, some salsa fresca con calabacita, grilled steak, garnishes of chili and cilantro - and of course, our Curtido.
I just love the bold and beautiful colors come through and it really makes this dish eye-popping! Definitely give this a try! I know Im making this again in the near future!