Fermented 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 was served as a tabletop condiment along with their delicious pupusas. It’s one of my most popular fermentations among my friends. Most people/restaurants don’t make fermented curtido but rather pickle it with vinegar, but I think you’ll find the fermented curtido recipe to be far tastier and packs 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.
- 2 1/2 lbs green cabbage
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons sea salt
- 1 medium onion
- 1 large or 2 med carrots grated
- 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and diced
- 1 1/2 Tablespoon dried oregano (fresh preferred if available)
- Prepare the Ingredients - Slice the cabbage into very thin ribbons approximately 1/8" wide. Slice the onion into thin ribbons as well. Grate the carrots.
- Toss with salt - combine cabbage, onion and carrot in a large bowl. Sprinkle the salt evenly throughout and then toss is all to distribute the salt. Let it sit for 30 minutes or so until it begins to sweat.
- Add the Jalapeno and oregano - mix thoroughly
- Place in a fermentation vessel - You can use a fermenting crock or use a mason jar topped with an airlock. You can use an airlock of your choice. This kit is a nice option.
- Compress - As you add the ingredients into the vessel, compress with a pounder (basically a nicely shaped piece of wood) or you can use your fist if the mouth of your crock is wide enough. If you're using mason jars, you'll need enough jars for 6 cups. As your compressing and adding ingredients, you should see the liquid level beginning to rise. The liquid is natually being released and doesn't need to be added.
- Add a weight - place a weight directly on top of the contents. The point of this is to continue further extraction of liquid from the veggies and keep the ingredients submerged. If you use a mason jar, I love these weights if you're using mason jars.
- Cover - Place the lid on your fermentation crock or the airlock cover onto your mason jars. If the liquid doesn't quite reach the surface, that should be ok to start, but definitely check to make sure the extracted liquid in the container covers the veggies completely in 8-10 hours. If it doesn't, definitely compress further.
- Wait impatiently - luckily, this is a fairly short ferment as it should be ready in three days. You could leave it longer for sure. If you do, it will generally continue to sour over time.
- Taste it! - You've waited this long. Now give it a try. Should have some heat from the jalapenos, some "zing" from the fermentation process, and an enjoyable and unique flavor from the oregano.
- Jar it up and refrigerate - Refrigerating helps to slow the continued fermentation. You can use these caps for your mason jars if you like.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 24 Serving Size: 1/4 cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 15Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 403mgCarbohydrates: 4gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 1g
Other Articles of Interest
Red Cabbage Sauerkraut – my most popular recipe (and a personal favorite too)
Prepare this recipe for fermented curtido and serve it as a simple side salad, or a garnish on tacos or along with pupusas and burritos. I like to put it (or any sort of fermented cabbage dish really, as a topping to dosas. If you like, I posted an alternate version of this recipe using purple cabbage. I also added a recipe for a delicious healthy kale curtido salad. Another great reason to make curtido!
Fermented Curtido Recipe Extra Tips and Modifications
- Radishes can be a nice addition
- Serano, habanero or other chili peppers can be substituted if you don’t have jalapenos, but you’ll have to adjust of course for heat/flavor. One reader suggested 2 1/2 manzano peppers in combination with 1 jalapeno.
- While I love the flavor of oregano in fermented curtido and think this recipe is perfect, you could also consider adding cumin, chipotle, coriander or black pepper.