Curtido is a pickled cabbage delight that also happens to be a great investment. Spend a few minutes building a batch and you'll have the option of nibbling on it for the next few weeks.
In Central America it's common to serve curtido with pupusas and other corn cakes, but you can use it on just about anything, including tacos, sandwiches, and anywhere else you use a traditional coleslaw.
This recipe is enough to load up two pint-sized Mason jars with veggies and brine. Not pictured is the overnight resting period where the real magic happens.
Similar to our pickled jalapenos, you can still eat it shortly after making, but it will only be a preview of what's to come. Letting it pickle overnight will allow the full flavor to develop.
(Note: these instructions are not meant for long term canning.)
To start you'll need:
1/2 head green cabbage
You can use a food processor if it's convenient for you, but thinly slicing the cabbage and grating the carrot works just as well.
Note that we are only using half of a jalapeno but this still gives it some serious zip. If you want a milder version I would recommend starting with 1/4 of a jalapeno.
Next, gather the remaining ingredients in a bowl:
1 cup vinegar
1.5 cups water
1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
freshly cracked black pepper
2 teaspoons salt (Kosher or sea salt)
Kosher or pure sea salt are most commonly used for pickling. The additives in iodized salt will sometimes affect the brine so it isn’t recommended.
Add this mixture to the veggies and combine well. Crushing the cabbage a bit while mixing will help it fit into the Mason jars.
Load up two pint-sized Mason jars with the veggies (tongs work good), and then fill them to the top with the brine.
Seal well and let them pickle overnight in the fridge.
The next day you'll have a zippy pickled delight that just might replace your traditional coleslaw. What?!! And you've just upgraded your fridge for the next few weeks. Well done.
Don't forget that using a half jalapeno still creates some real heat even though it doesn't sound like much. You can always dial back and use less (or none) if you want a milder version.
Spicy Curtido (Pickled Cabbage Slaw)
- 1/2 head green cabbage
- 1 carrot
- 1/2 onion
- 1/2 jalapeno
- 1 cup vinegar
- 1.5 cups water
- 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
- freshly cracked black pepper
- 2 teaspoons salt (Kosher or sea salt)
- Thinly slice the 1/2 head of cabbage, 1/2 onion and 1/2 jalapeno. Grate the carrot.
- Combine the remaining ingredients in a bowl: 1 cup vinegar, 1.5 cups water, 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano, freshly cracked black pepper, 2 teaspoons salt (Kosher or sea salt).
- Add the liquid mixture to the veggies and combine well. Crush the cabbage a bit so that it will fit into the jars.
- Fill two pint-sized Mason jars with the veggies and top with the brine.
- Seal well and let pickle overnight in the fridge.
We use a cabbage-only version of this Curtido in our Baja Fish Tacos.
You can use a similar technique to make some pickled onions.