This particular recipe is quite familiar in our Latin American restaurants, most often found as the monstrous center-piece on the table of those roadside cabanas found along the country side. For those of you who have never heard the term before, I’m sure there’s an equally delicious garnish in your cuisine that serves the same purpose: like sauerkraut, kimchi, or tart cole slaw! Typical of Central American cuisine & also known as curtido in El Salvador, it’s usually prepared as a fermented cabbage relish served with their famed pupusas, the Salvadorian national delicacy.
However, a wide variety of encurtidos can be prepared, and some people love this fantastic way to preserve their home-grown produce for a long-lasting & tasteful treat! Taking this practical sense into consideration, anything you wish can be prepared into a tasteful encurtido: cucumbers, eggplant, peppers, onions, etc. Fermented veggies not only offer a wonderful, funky kick to any plate, but letting it go for weeks will increase the probiotic benefits and makes it a perfect compromise between health benefits and convenience!
For the Encurtido
- 2 cups (300g) of the desired vegetable, onions in my case
- 1 cup of white vinegar
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Cumin powder
- 1 teaspoon of sugar
Cut the vegetables in chunks, small cubes, or julienne strips…however you wish! Set in an airtight glass container or mason jar, previously boiled and hygienically air-dried. In all fermentation processes, hygiene is important as anything from air filtering in to too little salt can being to harvest the bad bacteria that leads to spoilage.
Add the rest of the ingredients into the jar and seal well. Give it all a good shake and let the encurtido rest for at least two days – the recommended time is a week, but we all know we can never wait that long!