Hi there. My name is Bernie Molina. I am the award-winning author of Herencia Cookbook. Herencia Cookbook is a cookbook that honors my Mexican and Salvadorian upbringing in Los Angeles. For instance, in Herencia Cookbook, I honor my roots through fun and authentic recipes. Additionally, my Mexican and Salvadorian roots inspire my SalviMex fusion style of cooking. With all that being said, today I want to talk about a type of food that could always be found in my childhood home. Now that I have my own home, I continue to almost always have this food in my fridge as well. The food I am referring to is curtido. For those of you who are familiar with Salvadoran food, you may already know what curtido is. For those of you who are not, don’t worry. This article is all about curtido! Is curtido healthy? Is curtido a probiotic? How to make curtido. And how to eat curtido. I am so excited to get into it. So, let’s dive right into it.
What is curtido?
This is a classic dish in Salvadoran cuisine. Typically, it is enjoyed on pupusas. Curtido consists of cabbage, carrots, onion, pickled in vinegar with spices such as oregano. If you like spicy food, then you certainly have the option to add peppers, such a jalapeno, serrano, or even habanero. Some versions of curtido even contain beets. Truly, this tangy side dish can liven up any meal or snack!
How do you make it ?
- 1/2 cabbage, finely chopped
- 1 carrot, grated
- 1/2 onion, thinly sliced
- 1 sliced serrano pepper, optional
- 1 tablespoon Mexican oregano
- Salt, to taste
- 1 cup apple cider vinegar,
- Hot water, enough to cover your vegetables
- Firstly, put water to boil.
- Secondly, as you wait for your water to boil, wash, peel, and cut all of your vegetables.
- Next, place the vegetables in a bowl and cover them with boiling hot water.
- Then, wait about 3-5 minutes, allowing the vegetables to wilt.
- After, carefully strain the water.
- Now, cover vegetables with apple cider vinegar, salt, and oregano. Stir well.
- Finally, store in a glass jar in your fridge for about a week.
Does curtido contain probiotics?
As you see above, making curtido involves a quick pickling process. Since this is a pickled dish, it is a good source of probiotics. Think of kimchi, or sauerkreut. Both of those side dishes are made of spiced pickled cabbage. Just like curtido! So, if gut health is important to you, I suggest adding curtido to your diet.
I grew up seeing my mother make curtido often. In fact, I learned how to make curtido from her. Since I know how to make curtido, I actually often make other pickled items at home. For example, one of my favorite condiments is pickled red onions. I also love pickling cucumbers, and making escabeche! In general, consuming fermented foods such as the ones mentioned in this section, can be great for your gut health!
How do you eat curtido?
When I was pregnant, curtido was one of my (many) cravings. Seriously. I could not get enough of it! I already mentioned that it is classically enjoyed with pupusas. But, here are some of the other ways I like to enjoy curtido:
- Hotdogs – Once at Oktoberfest, I enjoyed a delicious German bratwurst hotdog with sauerkuet. Sauerkuet is basically pickled cabbage as well. A lightbulb went off. I thought to myself, I need to try putting curtido on my hotdogs at home. And sure enough, the combination is delicious. I suggest you try it!
- Saldads – Add some zing to your salads by spooning a bit of curtido on top. The vinegary veggies pair well with a classic green salad that has been drizzled with olive oil, lemon, and salt.
- Tacos – This one is so SalviMex of me! But honestly, curtido inside of a taco dorado tastes amazing. The crisp of the taco plus the juicy tang of the pickled veggies. It tastes even better if you make your curtido spicy! You can learn to make both here.
Ok, but is Curtido Healthy?
As I said, curtido was one of my big pregnancy cravings. Additionally, during my pregnancy, I took a nutrition class so I could learn how to properly nourish myself and my growing bebecito. Curtido was among the foods my instructor and I discussed. She confirmed that it is indeed healthy! But, why?
So, is curtido healthy? Yes! Curtido is more than just delicious. It is also healthy! Here are some of the health benefits of curtido:
Probiotics – I discussed above that, like kimchi or sauerkuet, curtido is a pickled cabbage dish. Since it is pickled, it contains probiotics, which are great for gut health.
Fiber – Additionally, one cup of curtido has about 4 grams of fiber.
Vitamin K – Further, since the main ingredient is cabbage, curtido is a great source of vitamin K.
Vitamin C – Very good source of vitamin c!
More Veggies – Combined with carrots, onion, oregano, and optional chiles, this veggie-packed side dish is the perfect way to add more vegetables to your diet… in a flavorful way! What’s not to love?
Conclusion: Is Curtido Healthy?
To sum up, do you like curtido? If so, how do you like to enjoy it? Let me know in the comments. Meanwhile, if you liked this post, then check out the blog and my book for authentic SalviMex recipes with a modern (and sometimes healthy) twist.