Salvadoran Curtido


One of my favorite late night spots to go to after work when I was in the restaurant business was this tiny Salvadoran place in the Mission district that served papusas. For anyone who doesn’t know what a papusa is, it’s a lovely little stuffed handmade tortilla filled usually with either cheese or a mixture of cheese, beans and pork. We’d get big bottles of beer and a table full of more papusas than anyone could actually eat. Papusas are always accompanied by a bottle of not-very-spicy hot sauce and a bowl of curtido – fermented cabbage and chilis. The combination of flavors and textures is heavenly. Catching a little buzz from the beer doesn’t hurt either.

A latino friend of mine has promised to teach me how to make papusas. So in return for the lesson I am bringing home-made curtido to the party. You know me, any excuse to get something fermenting on my counter.

Health bennies:

  • High in probiotics
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Detoxifying
  • Great for the digestive and immune systems

Salvadoran Curtido

Servings 6 cups


  • 2 heads Green cabbage cored and sliced thin
  • 3 each Carrots peeled and grated
  • 2 each Jalapeños seeded and sliced thin
  • 1 each White onion sliced thin
  • 1 Tablespoon Chili flakes
  • 1 Tablespoon Oregano dried
  • 4 % Sea salt The amount of salt you use will depend on the total weight of the vegetables


Equipment needed:

  1. Scale
  2. Fermenting crock
  3. Weights that will fit inside the crock


  1. In a large bowl weigh out the cabbage, carrot, jalapeño, onion, chili flake and oregano. Convert the total weight to ounces.
  2. Multiply that weight in ounces by .04. This will give you the amount of salt in ounces you need to add to your recipe.
  3. Weigh and add the salt to the vegetable mixture.
  4. With your hands massage the salt into the vegetables mixing thoroughly and squeezing firmly to release the cabbage's juices for about 5-10 minutes.
  5. Pack the mixture firmly into your fermenting crock and weigh down with weights.
  6. Make sure the vegetables are covered with at least 1-2 inches of liquid.
  7. If the vegetables are not covered, make enough brine to pour over them so that they are. (Brine = 1 teaspoon of salt for every cup of water)
  8. Cover and store on the counter at room temperature for 2 weeks.
  9. Transfer to jars with lids and refrigerate.