Mixed pickled vegetables, sweet-salty-sour. “Ciolomada” or “Csalamade”.
I’ve eaten this pickles salad for decades, mainly prepared by my grandmother or older aunties, and it’s a treat. A mixture of vegetables and spices, aromatics, blended with sugar, vinegar and salt, it’s best eaten somewhat fresh, like a few weeks after it’s pickled.
Its original name, “csalamade” or even “Oltenia salad” (Oltenia is a region in Romania), has become in Transylvania, “ciolomada”, meaning in the end, a mixture, in this case, vegetables.
- cabbage, onion, cucumbers, peppers
- chili, carrots (optional)
- salt & black peppercorns, white wine vinegar, sugar, bay leaves
- garlic, thyme, dill (optional)
There are a lot of optional ingredients for this pickle, but as with anything, options are there in case someone doesn’t like a certain ingredient. Replace it, or leave it out. Use white wine vinegar or cider vinegar, as long as it’s white. Use or not chilies, maybe dill is not your flavour, leave it out.
The same with the salt, vinegar and sugar. Some like it more acidic, others sweeter.
Personally I’ve used about 1kg of each, cabbage, onion, peppers and cucumbers. Then, 250g of carrots and 2 red chilies. Now for the preparation.
Slice the onions thinly, sprinkle with some salt (sea or rock salt, I prefer rock) mix well and leave to sit for about 6 hours. The rest of the vegetables, sliced and diced in small pieces, get some salt and black peppercorns, dill and thyme (fresh or dried). Mix and pour over them about 200ml of vinegar and 100g of sugar.
Mix well, leave about 2 hours and taste for saltiness, sourness and sweetness. Add more as needed. Once the onions have sat for 6 hours, squeeze them in your hand to get the liquid out, and add to the rest of the veg.
Leave overnight in a cooler place, outside for example. Place in jars the next day, tightly packed and top the jars with the liquid. Keep in a dark place, and the mixed pickled vegetables should be just about ready in one week.
Other popular recipes in this category:
- Best Romanian chicken paprikash with flour dumplings.
- Traditional cabbage rolls (sarmale) stuffed with minced pork and smoked meats.
- Chicken and noodles soup.