Fermented Curtido

Curtido

Curtido is a traditional central american dish which is very simple to make, has a short fermentation period (3 days although you could easily go longer) and is very delicious.  I first came across curtido (sometimes called cortido) in San Francisco at a Salvadoran restaurant where it is served as a tabletop condiment along with their delicious pupusas.  It’s one of my most popular fermentations among my friends.  Most people don’t make fermented curtido but rather pickle it with vinegar, but I think you’ll find the fermented curtido recipe to be tastier with a little more zing to it.  I picked up the idea of fermenting this from Andrea Chesman’s “The Pickled Pantry,”  a very good kitchen book which covers many different fermentation recipes and pickles.

Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Fermentation time: 3 days
Yield: 6 cups

Ingredients:
1 head green cabbage, cut into 1/8″ ribbons
1 1/2 T sea salt
1 medium onion sliced in thin ribbons
1 large or 2 med carrots grated
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and diced
1T dried oregano (I’m sure fresh would be better)

Directions:

  1. Slice the cabbage into very thin ribbons approximately 1/8″ wide
  2. toss in a large bowl with the salt and let sit for 30 minutes or so until it begins to sweat.
  3. add the onion, carrot, jalapeno and oregano and mix together
  4. place in a fermentation vessel (I prefer a 1 gallon glass wide mouth cookie jar)
  5. use your fist to compress the mix into the bottom of the vessel
  6. place a weight directly on top of the mix (I use a 1/2 gallon jar filled with water).  The point of this is to continue to further extraction of liquid from the veggies.
  7. Within 8-10 hours, there should be enough extracted liquid in the container to cover the veggies completely.  I usually add enough water to make sure the veggies are covered by an inch of liquid.
  8. cover the vessel with a cloth to keep dust and other unsavories from getting inside
  9. leave for 3 days and taste it.
  10. refrigerate to slow the continued fermentation

Prepare this recipe and serve it as a simple side salad, or a garnish along with pupusas.  I like to put it (or any sort of fermented cabbage dish really, as a topping to dosas.

Yum!  Let me know if you have any suggested modifications.

 


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fermenTed

fermenTed

Developer / Chef at Fermentation Recipes
Ted Seymour is a passionate writer, blogger, photographer, traveler, avid fermenter and baker who lives on the coast of Northern California. His fermenting blog www.fermentationrecipes.com has received nearly 100,000 hits since inception and he has established himself as an authority on fermentation techniques.
fermenTed
fermenTed

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Comments

Fermented Curtido — 12 Comments

  1. 3-4 days seems like quite a short ferment time to me. I usually ferment el curtido for 4-5 weeks. Have you ever let it go longer?

    (first two weeks ferment at 66º F, then three more weeks at 48º)

    Looking forward to checking out your site more!

    • I’ve never really let it go longer, except at around 38 degrees in my refrigerator. Seems really tasty and sufficiently ripe after 3-4 days. What happens with the flavor after a longer ferment? I’ll definitely try a longer ferment time with it to see what happens. Thanks for the tip, Jennifer.

      • I’ve been eating a new batch of curtido and this time let it ferment for a longer period, about 2 weeks. Definitely got a little sharper, a little more sour. Still very delicious and the texture seems to hold well after the longer ferment too. Been making veggie sausage sandwiches and topping it with this curtido and putting a little kombucha mustard on the bread. Yum.

  2. It was so delicious just as a salad, before the fermentation stage! I was almost sad to have had to ferment it!

  3. Does anyone know the probiotic difference between 3-4 days fermentation vs. the several week fermentation? I was thinking maybe the 3-4 day fermentation, while tasty, doesn’t really fit well into the probiotic fermentation diet “guidelines”.

  4. Curtido is my favorite kind of kraut. Personally I like it 3-4 days…more than that is too sour for me (at least for eating it raw, as a side dish), but I’m probably a wimp as far as sauerkraut eaters go. :^) I use more carrot and less onion than you do, and like my carrot cut into small pieces rather than grated. I probably use more salt than you. All pretty minor differences and things to play with “to taste.”

    The color added by red chilis adds to the visual appeal so I try to use those. Typically the kind I find are less hot than jalapenos so you can use more for the same heat level.

    If you can find mexican oregano, which is a bit different, and stronger than the greek oregano most common in Anglo cooking, give that a try. That, I understand, is the more authentic thing to use. When I use that I back off the quantity somewhat.

    I’ve substituted marjoram for the oregano, and also thyme. Both are good, and I think my preference is the marjoram.

  5. SteveV: you almost certainly have less numbers or variety of probiotics in a short ferment. But I look at it this way: I get more probiotics if the flavor is at my sweet spot and I eat more if it. I like it not too sour, and I like it fresh and crunchy, and I WANT to eat it when it’s that way. If I ferment it longer, and I’m not that excited about the taste anymore, I have to make myself eat it, or find creative ways to mix it with something else to cut the sourness, so I end up eating less of it. So if I worry to much about “optimum levels of probiotics” it ends up being self-defeating.

  6. I just wanted to thank you for this recipe. I have been searching for this for about 4 years. You made my day!!!! I am now on my second batch. AND you have started me on my journey of ‘cultured’ foods. Thanks so much!

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