Homemade surkål (sweet and sour green cabbage) is a delicious accompaniment to a meal and one that is commonplace to serve alongside juleribbe (pork belly) during Christmas. This dish itself is an old European food tradition that dates back to the 18th century and is especially common in Northern Europe. White cabbage, or hodekål “headed cabbage”, is the key ingredient and has been an important component in Norwegian cuisine, with surkål being a staple side dish for various pork dishes, creamed cabbage often served with kjøttkaker “meatballs”, and, cabbage braised with lamb to make fårikål.
Surkål is quite delicate and leans toward the sweeter side with a touch of sourness, while the caraway seeds add a nice warmth. It’s somewhat reminiscent of sauerkraut in flavor, but completely different in that it is slow cooked rather than fermented – making it a quick side dish to serve up during the busy holiday season.
Surkål (Sweet and Sour Cabbage)
- 1 medium (750 g) head of cabbage
- 2 green apples, cored, peeled and grated
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon caraway seeds
- 3 tablespoons white vinegar, divided
- 1 cup (240 ml) stock
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
Using a mandolin or knife, grate the head of cabbage very thinly. Place the shredded cabbage, grated apples, salt, caraway seeds, 2 tablespoons vinegar and stock in a large pot. Bring to a gentle simmer, cover with a lid and cook for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
After 45 minutes, stir in the sugar and the remaining 1 tablespoon of vinegar. Season to taste. Remove from the heat and let sit for about 5 minutes to let the flavors come together.