Welcome back! Today I’m sharing with you a very simple, yet delicious pickled specialty that my family just loves. It is called Cabbage Salad in Hungarian however my version is much more than that. I’m certain that once you try it you will fall in love with this “multivitamin in a jar and stop serving pickles with your favorite dishes. And (I know, I know, you don’t start a sentence with “and” but it’s just between us girls) your kids won’t even know that it’s good for them. So how can you go wrong?
TOOL THAT YOU’LL NEED
Glass Jars With Lids
Large Mixing Bowl
ABOUT MANDOLIN SLICER
If you decide to use a mandolin slicer, please BE VERY CAREFUL as they are extremely sharp and dangerous even if you are pay attention to what you are doing. I know the hard way. I once got a very serious cut. And (here I go again with the “and”) not even when I was slicing but when I finished washing the mandolin. Wanted to make sure that I properly dried it and that’s when I cut my finger.
So please be careful, or if you don’t feel confident, use a knife instead. It will do a good job as well.
1 large green cabbage
1 cucumber (English is best)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp black pepper seeds
1 tsp caraway seeds
1 bell pepper (any color)
1 chilli pepper (sweet or hot)
1 handful of fresh dill
2 cloves of garlic (or more)
Clean cabbage by removing the unwanted 2-3 layers of outer leaves and any other leaves that you think might not be suitable. If they withered or damaged in any way, you don’t want them in the salad. Cut of the rough end of it as it would not go into the salad either.
Now cut in half, then cut each half into half again, so you’ll end up with 4 pieces. Now you must decide if you are using a mandolin slicer or a knife. I always go for a knife lately, but if I need to have something cut with a mandolin, my daughter takes care of that.
Don’t worry she’s not a child, and she’s very careful. So, I cut the cabbage with a knife, which take about 2 minutes longer, so not a big deal. Once cabbage is done, put into the large mixing bowl. If your cabbage is very big, then use two mixing bowls. You will need to be able to mix everything together.
If you are using two bowls then always divide every ingredient into two to have equal distribution.
Cut off tips of the cucumber. I like English cucumbers as they do not have the bitter taste that regular cucumbers do at the tips. Slice the cucumbers very thin, or use the mandolin as you’ll need nice thin pieces. Place them into the bowl (or bowls) with the cabbage.
Peel carrots and shred them using a hand held vegetable grater or a food processor. However, I don’t like to use the food processor for two carrots, unless you use it for all the veggies, however the beets might stain it.
So I’m being old-fashioned and use the grater instead. It does the job in seconds without any mess. Add the carrots to the bowl (or bowls) as well.
Slice tomato with a knife or a mandolin, however if you are using the mandolin make sure that you use the hand protector that comes with it. Tomatoes are slippery and not as firm as lets say, cucumbers. I can’t press this enough, be very careful. I don’t want anyone to hurt themselves.
Add tomato slices to the bowl.
It’s better to use half ripened tomatoes or even green tomatoes as they are much easier to slice.
Now comes the fun part. The BEETS. The best advise I have to give you is have an apron handy as they might splatter on your clothes and then that’s it for them. The other advise is to use nylon gloves (latex free). You can buy them for pennies at the pharmacy. Oh, I just remember, we don’t have pennies in Canada any longer
Best to peel them under running cold water as they stain less this way.
Cut off the tips and start either peeling the beets or pulling off the outer layer or the skin. Once you’re done, start slicing them. It always amazes me how such an ugly vegetable could become so beautiful once sliced. I call them the butterfly of the vegetable world.
The ruby color will also paint your salad the most magnificent shade of red. That’s why we are not using red cabbage as it is not necessary. We are employing an artist, called the beet.
Peel and slice onion very thin. You may use the mandolin slicer or a knife. My daughter helped me and used the mandolin slicer to create shier, pretty onion slices. They also go into the mixing bowl.
Peel and shave or slice garlic cloves. You may adjust the amount of the garlic in the recipe. Sometimes I like to add a little more, sometimes a little less. All depends on my mood at the time. Add it to the mixing bowl.
Core pepper. You may use any color bell pepper. Today I’m using a yellow bell pepper. Simply cut into four and start creating thin slices. You may use a knife or a mandolin.
DEFENDING BELL PEPPERS
Many of my Hungarian acquaintances can’t say anything good about “poor” bell pepper. They keep telling me that it has no flavor, no juice and it’s not good for anything at all. They also tell me that they cannot use them to recreate Hungarian dishes.
I might also add, that I have one friend who keeps asking me where I get my meat when she comes over for a Hungarian Goulash dinner. She goes on telling me that meat in Canada cannot be used to make Wiener Schnitzel or Goulash. So where do I actually get my meat, hmmmm I don’t know? No point of telling her that I run to my local supermarket and pick it up there. I tried once and she didn’t believe me. She probably thinks that I either raise my own or fly every week to Hungary and get my meat there
So to get back to bell peppers, I might disappoint my friends when I reveal that the delicious “Lecso” (Hungarian Ratatouille) that they had last week, or the Stuffed Peppers they can’t stop raving about are all made with bell peppers. The “Lecso” with regular colored bell peppers that we see on the photo above; and the Stuffed Peppers are made with sweet baby bell peppers.
They have flavor, juicy and can be used in so many ways. You can cook them, sauté them or stuff them. So keep using the good old bell pepper, it deserves our love.
BACK TO THE RECIPE
When all the veggies are sliced and added to the bowl, add 1/2 the salt, 1/2 the caraway seeds, all the cumin seeds and black pepper. I will reveal another secret here. Recently I bought some Moroccan (yes, Moroccan not Hungarian) spice mix and I also add 1/2 tsp of this wonderful mix into the bowl. My Hungarian friends will most certainly tell me that I cannot use Moroccan spice after all, I’m Hungarian. But this is my recipe and I like to mix t up sometimes.
Mix together all of the wonderful veggies and spices by hand.
Place vinegar, sugar, 1/2 the salt and half the caraway seeds into a stock pot and bring to a gentle boil.
Stuff all the wonderful veggies that we sliced with such loving care into the jar (or jars). Don’t be gentle, keep stuffing. I like to add some cucumber and beet slices to the “inside wall” of the bottles as showpieces.
Now pour the hot pickling liquid over the veggies. The liquid needs to reach the rim as it will drain down to the bottom. Close the lid tightly and leave on countertop until completely cool.
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