"Curtido” (from the Spanish encurtir, “to pickle") is a Salvadoran cabbage salad that’s served with pupusas, the popular national dish. Curtido is usually made with cabbage, vinegar, onions, carrots, and oregano.
Curtido is part of “Sal-Mex” cuisine (not “Tex-Mex") that can be found in a growing number of Texas cities, especially Houston. Jalapeño peppers are sometimes added to curtido, giving it some Tex-Mex heat.
Curtido (pronounced coor-tee-tho) is a type of relish. In Salvadoran cuisine, it resembles sauerkraut and is usually made with pickled cabbage, onions, carrots, and sometimes lemon juice. It is commonly served alongside pupusas, the national delicacy. In Mexican cuisine, curtido consists mainly of pickled carrots mixed with onions and chile peppers (usually jalapeño). It is used to accompany virtually any dish and is commonly found at numerous taquerías.
How to Make Curtido Salvadoreno (Spanish Cabbage Salad)
If you are tired of the same old cole slaw at family gatherings, here is a recipe that changes the scenery. It takes about an hour to make and two hours to chill. It is Venezuelan, and the best thing about it is that it doesn’t spoil. This is due to using vinegar rather than mayonnaise. Its sweetness is provided by the brown sugar, which is only 1 teaspoon in the entire recipe!
1 medium head cabbage, chopped
2 small carrots, grated
1 small onion, sliced
1/2 tsp. dried red pepper (optional)
1/2 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. olive oil
a large bowl for mixing and storing
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. brown sugar
1/4 cup vinegar
1/2 cup water
Step One Blanch the cabbage with boiling water for 1 minute. Drain and discard the water.
Step Two Place the cabbage in a large bowl and add grated carrots, sliced onion, red pepper, oregano, olive oil, salt, brown sugar, vinegar and water.
Step Three Place in the refrigerator for a least two hours before serving.
Google Groups: net.cooks
From: (Bubbette McLeod)
Date: Tue, 26-Feb-85 14:49:19 EST
Local: Tues, Feb 26 1985 2:49 pm
Subject: Re: Papusa recipe?
Cabbage Salad (Curtido)
1/4 cabbage, shredded
1/2 onion, shredded
1/2 large carrot, shredded
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup cold water
salt to taste
Mix the day before you want to serve and let set in refrigerator, covered. Drain off excess water before serving. Open hot pupusas and put cabbage salad inside before eating. (In Salvador, they sometimes add hot red chilies to the mixture.)
1 January 1987, Washington (DC) Post:
Pupusas are usually served with curtido, an enjoyable and distinctive vinegar-based cabbage salad mellowed with a touch of oregano.
A Guide to Ethnic Food in Los Angeles
by Linda Burum
New York, NY: HarperCollins
Curtido (Salvadoran): From the Spanish encurtir, “to pickle,” this shredded, pickled, and usually spicy cabbage always accompanies pupusas…
All pupusas come with curtido, a lip-stinging spicy cabbage relish. The restaurants I’ve listed in this section do them ...
Houston (TX) Press (July 29, 1994)
Or the most elegant pupusa in town: a diminutive, intensely corn-flavored masa disk layered with a fluffy mixture of cheeses, plus a bracing magenta backdrop of the chilefied pickled cabbage known as curtido.
Google Groups: rec.food.veg.cooking
Subject: Re: Wanted: Recipe for gorditas
Pupusas are served with a cabbage salad called “curtido.” Curtido is made with shredded cabbage, shredded carrot, onion, vinegar, minced chiles, and served cold on top of the hot, sizzling pupusas.
Houston (TX) Chronicle
16 October 1998, Houston (TX) Chronicle, “Prime pupusas prevail at authentic Salvadoran eatery” by Kathi Mosbacher, Dining Guide, pg. 8:
Street vendors in El Salvador sell pupusas teetering on a crisp green piece of banana leaf. At Panaderia y Pupuseria Salvadorena, they arrive in red plastic baskets. They are accompanied by a tomatoey salsa composed of fresh tomatoes, onions, garlic and jalapenos; and curtido, a tart, Salvadorian-style coleslaw.
The curtido, shredded white cabbage and carrots flecked with red pepper and oregano, pungent with apple-cider vinegar, is intended to be spooned into an opened seam of the pupusa, then topped with a little salsa.
November 1998, Faces, “Food: Modest to Gourmet” by Richard S. Calhoun, pg. 16:
There are some unique recipes in El Salvador. The most famous is the pupusa—a corn cake filled with cheese, beans, or pork. The pupusa looks like a fat tortilla and is very difficult to make. Unlike the tortilla, it is soft and holds its heat for more than ten minutes. Pupusas are served with curtido, a spicy pickled cabbage. Curtido is about the only spicy food found in the country. To make it, cabbage is pickled with vinegar, salt, sugar, oregano, cilantro, sliced carrots, and jalapeño peppers.
11 June 1999, Atlanta (GA) Journal-Constitution, pg. Q1:
Want to start with something gooey and evil? Then don’t miss the pupusa: a griddle-fried cornmeal pattie about the size of an Eggo waffle that’s stuffed with oozy white cheese and set over tart marinated cabbage (curtido).
Houston (TX) Press
Crema de la Crema
Los Ranchitos’ mellow, cream-heavy cuisine belies its strife-ridden origins in El Salvador
By Dennis Abrams
Published: February 10, 2000
Pupusa is one of the rare examples in which more is more: The cheese alone, after all, is good, and the cheese with loroco (a native herb) is even better; but the minced fried pork is terrific, and the best is the pork and cheese combo. Whichever you order, make sure to cut it in half and garnish each with curtido, a pickled cabbage mixture found in a giant plastic jug on every table. Its sprightly tartness is an integral counterpoint to the pupusa’s rich fillings.
Dallas (TX) Morning News
Loroco pumps tang into rice
May 4, 2004
By MARY G. RAMOS / The Dallas Morning News
Little green buds have popped up in several local supermarkets, delighting lovers of Latin American foods.
The tiny buds of the loroco (pronounced “lo-RO-co"), a plant native to Central America, are popular for perking up the fillings of pupusas, the dish that is called the national snack of El Salvador and Honduras.
Pupusas are plump little corn tortillalike patties stuffed with various combinations of meat, beans and cheese. They are lightly cooked on a griddle, and are traditionally served with tomato sauce and curtido, a pickled cabbage relish. Chopped loroco buds, whose flavor resembles a cross between squash and mild broccoli, give the fillings a distinctive tang.
12 April 2004, Casa Grande (AZ) Dispatch, pg. 9, cols. 3-4:
The frozen goods will arrive 12 years after Goya introduced its first Salvadoran products, red beans and curtido, a shredded cabbage relish. Salvadorans typically use curtido or a mild, smooth tomato salsa to cool the steaming hot pupusas before eating them with their fingers.
Cooking the Central American Way
By Alison Behnke, with Griselda Aracely Chacon and Kristina Anderson
Minneapolis, MN: Lerner Publications Co.
1/2 head green cabbage, shredded
2 carrots, grated
1 white onion or 3 green onions, sliced thinly
1 c. cider vinegar or white vinegar
1/2 c. water
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
To make curtido, combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours.
12 January 2005, Fresno (CA) Bee, pg. E1:
Everyone in El Salvador knows the pupusa. This thick tortilla, typically filled with combinations of cheese, beans, pork and a green vegetable blossom called loroco, is a staple of restaurants and home kitchens. Served with a thin, red salsa and curtido, a cabbage and carrot relish, pupusas are snacks, lunch, dinner—and sometimes even breakfast.
Rivera’s Mex Sal Restaurant
233 E Nasa Rd 1 Webster TX 77598 281.316.9298
MY REVIEW: Even though they claim to be Mex-Sal, this is definitely a Salvadoran restaurant, and a good one at that. Head to the back of the menu and check out the Salvadoran specialties. The Plato Mixto includes two pupusas, fried plantains, beans, cream, and curtido. (Curtido is spicy pickled cabbage that is traditionally served with pupusas.) The pupusas are among the best I’ve had; try the loroco variety.
As for the ambience… well, go there for the food. And it’s cheap, too.
NAME: Bruce R
SUBMITTED: 3/25/2005 LAST VISIT WAS: 3/05
FREQUENCY: Visited 4-6 times
Austin (TX) Chronicle (January 6, 2006)
El Zunzal Restaurant (642 Calles, 474-7749): This Salvadoran spot serves amazingly good and hearty fare: yucca frita with pork, tamales and papusas, the plantain platter, fried fish with garlic, and free curtido (cabbage salad with oregano) in crocks on the tables are delicioso.
Houston (TX) Chronicle
27 July 2006, Houston (TX) Chronicle, “Bona fide pupusas” by Eyder Peralta, Dining Guide, pg. 4:
Before you eat a pupusa, it’s tradition to sprinkle it with curtido, a pickled salad made with cabbage and carrots. I took a bite. The cheese had melted. The salty pork mixed well with the tart vinegar. And the tortilla, moist and just slightly sweet, complemented it all just like a perfect crust complements a pizza.
I left with a bag full of pupusas and a list of instructions: The rice-filled pupusas are meant to be eaten hot and without curtido.
Two Dirty Spoons
Monday, January 21, 2008
Pupusa Mania on Long Beach Blvd
Curtido is a traditional and delicious accompaniment to a pupusa, and is best compared to american coleslaw- although no mayo is involved. It is comprised of pickled cabbage, carrots, onions, and lemon juice, and can be very spicy if peppers are in the jumble. Not to mention the thick, habanero salsa that is obligatory on every pupusa! Time to up your spicy food tolerance people, california style; it’ll make you a better person.
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • (0) Comments • Tuesday, January 29, 2008 • Permalink