Curtido (pickled coleslaw) from El Salvador

El Salvadoran Appetizer

(pickled coleslaw)


½ head cabbage
1 carrot
2 scallions or small onion
½ cup water
¾ teaspoon red pepper flakes
½ tablespoon Mexican oregano or oregano
½ cup white vinegar or apple cider vinegar

Makes 8 servings. Takes 3 hours including sitting and chilling.. A few hours of sitting and chilling is good for the chef as well.


Shred cabbage. Grate carrot. Mince scallions. Add cabbage and carrot to large mixing bowl. Mix with whisk. Boil water. Pour boiling water over cabbage and carrot. Let sit for 5 minutes. Drain. Add red pepper flakes, Mexican oregano, and white vinegar to bowl. Let sit for at least 2 hours. Chill in refrigerator for 15 minutes.

Goes well with many El Salvadorean dishes including Pupusas.


1) This recipe only uses a half-head of cabbage. This leaves another half. What can you make with cabbage?

2) Coleslaw and corned beef and cabbage, of course.

3) Suppose, however, your significant other hates cabbage and only ate it this time for this dish to show eternal devotion. However, if his/her–I have to do this his/her because I don’t know the sex of your sweetheart, but you’ll be able to tell just by looking–eyes turn bright red and his/her neck rotates three times at the thought of eating cabbage again, here are some suggestions:

3A) Take up the art of cabbage origami. Unfortunately, cabbage origami is a dying art since cabbage is much less flexible than paper. So, books on cabbage origami are quite hard to find.

3B) Wear a couple layers of cabbage leaves on your head whenever people come to your door to sell you something. One glance at your leafy hat and they’ll be gone lickety split.

3C) Use the cabbage layers as FrisbeesTM. It’s fun for the whole family. Then when the cabbage wilts, use it in your garden as a mulch. Can you do that with a regular Frisbee? I don’t think so.

– Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with its 180 wonderful recipes, my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, and all my other books, are available on

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