A couple of weeks ago, I shared a recipe for Kimchi Kraut that I created a couple years ago as part of a project that never saw the light of day. Today, I’m bringing you the second recipe from that series. I call it Taco Kraut.
Certainly there are more traditional accompaniments to tacos, like curtido or escabeche, but despite that, I feel like there’s space in the world for another tangy taco topping.
It starts much the same way a regular kraut starts, with a finely shredded head of cabbage. Then you add healthy portions of cilantro, scallions, garlic, jalapeno, and salt.
Because I’m something of a spice light-weight, I only use a single jalapeno. Those with hardier palates among you are welcome to use more. You could also switch to a pepper with a bit more fire. I bet habanero would delicious (if you choose to go in that direction, definitely make sure to wear disposable gloves while massaging and packing up the kraut).
Once the ingredients are well-mixed and you can squeeze a handful of the cabbage and have a healthy stream of liquid running back into the bowl, you can pack it into a quart jar. I like to pack it in one handful at a time, pressing each layer down firmly before adding the next.
Now, I have relatively small hands and so can fit my mitts into a wide mouth quart jar without issue. If you were gifted with larger hands than I have and struggle to get your kraut tightly fitted into the jar, I highly recommend getting one of these sauerkraut tampers.
They typically run between $15 and $25 and are a boon to those who make sauerkraut regularly. I have the Pickle Packer from Masontops, but I’ve used others and they are universally handy.
In addition to the obvious use (tacos!), I like to tuck this kraut into quesadillas, fold it into warm black beans, and add it to this Cumin Cabbage Slaw (that recipe is nearly a decade old, but definitely holds up in terms of flavor and utility).
- 1 pound 12 ounces cabbage, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
- 4 scallions sliced
- 3 garlic cloves minced or pressed
- 1 jalapeno thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon pickling salt
- Place cut cabbage, cilantro, scallions, garlic, jalapeno, and salt in large bowl.
- Using your hands (if your skin is sensitive, wear food safe gloves), knead the ingredients together, squeezing firmly to help release liquid from the veg.
- When the volume in the bowl appears to have reduced by half, pack the massaged veg into a wide mouth quart jar in layers, firmly pressing it down each time before adding more (the entire batch should fit into a single quart jar).
- Press cabbage down firmly in the jar, so that liquid bubbles up over the surface of the jar. Loosely cap the jar (or top with an airlock, if you have one), position it on a small saucer or plate, and place it in a cool, dark spot.
- Check every other day, removing any bloom and pressing cabbage down if it has floated above the liquid (be warned, it will be a bit stinky. That’s normal).
- After a week, taste the sauerkraut. If you like the flavor, place the jar in the refrigerator. If you want something a bit stronger, let it continue to ferment until it pleases you.