Csalamádé (Chuh-luh-maa-DAY) - Mixed Sours
This was my first time experimenting with ferments and pickling and sours. And it was a success I am happy report. It took all in all about 7 days to get the sauers to my liking, then in the fridge they went, and were gobbled up in about a similar space of time. What a rip off. Next time I need to make much more of it.
It was all last minute, made from left over vegetables I needed to do something with. So pickled slaw it was.
- shredded Chinese white leaf cabbage
- thinly sliced zucchini
- thinly sliced carrots, in the round
- thin strips of yellow bell pepper
From Alex Lewin's informative book Real Food Fermentation I read that the basic recipe for lacto-fermented vegetables is as follows:
- for every 2 lbs (900g) of vegetables use 4 teaspoons of salt
Easy. That's all there is to it.
You take your thinly shredded and sliced vegetables (it matters how you cut it) and you mix it with the appropriate amount of salt in a large glass mixing bowl. Really take your time with this. You've got to MASSAGE it in. Give it some well needed attention. Talk to it. Tell it how much you're going to love it. Do this for about 5 minutes. Squeezing and rubbing and squishing it all together, but nice and gently. You don't want to break anything, just coat it and knead it and stroke the salt in.
Put your stuff in a large clean glass jar that is larger than the amount you have. Now squish it all down. Again, do this firmly, but tenderly. You're looking to squeeze out all of the juices so ideally it covers the top of the veg. Do this nice and gently for about another minute or so. You will see the juices releasing gradually even if you don't think they are at first. That is what salt does, it draws out moisture.
Pop your tightly fitted lid on the jar and place it in a safe out of the way spot at room temperature for 4 to 7 days.
Check on it every day, stirring it up, moving things around, pushing it down and squeezing even more juice out. The pong is like no other. And I love it. By the 3rd day you should have a fair bit of juice that will cover your sour stuff. This is what allows the vegetables to ferment nicely. Keep checking back and tasting. Mine took 7 days to get it right, but I didn't have time to 'decant' it into a smaller jar on the 7th day, (on the sabbath upon which she rested?) so it was done on the 8th. Still, it was awesome. We had it with bean burgers and on some sort of chickpea wraps (can't quite remember what) and each bite was so-so yummy. Crunchy and sour and zesty and mighty damn tasty.
Use the bottom of another glass or smaller jar to squish your sour stuff down and get the juices flowing, or even your hand.
This is how much juice I got out of the first 'pressing', on the second day. Fermentation had begun:
This is what it looked like when it was ready:
Then you add some more juice to keep it cozy, and pop it in the fridge to stop the fermentation:
Tuck in! Jo étvágyat!
Here's a little secret: For a sneaky late night snack, I love to get a fork and raid the savanyusàg jar. Standing there with the fridge door open, I gently tease forth wilted fronds of crunchy cabbage and peppers and zucchini. You know what Im talking about, you've done it yourself ;)