Around the beginning of autumn here in my country people are preparing foods to be used in winter, such as pickled cucumbers, pickled cabbage or even better, the nr.1 must have a respectable cook should have, the zarzavat. It flavors in style the numerous types of soups and ciorbe from Romanian cuisine, and some other Balcanic countries.
The recipe is easy, however, you should consider arming yourself with a big dose of patience. Have a glass of wine on the table, play some music and start making your zarzavat!
INGREDIENTS for 5 kg zarzavat:
4 big carrots (or 8 small carrots), 1 celery (root and leaves), 1/2 kg yellow pepper, 1 kg tomatoes, 3 parsley bundles, 5 spoons of sea salt (1 spoon sea salt/ kg)
KITCHENWEAR & utensils: large bowl, knife, grater and spoon for mixing.
STORAGE CONTAINER: 5 kg jar (or 5 kg of smaller ones)/ 5 kg bucket
HOW TO: the main part of this recipe is cutting and grating your vegetables and chopping the parsley. It does not matter the order in which you cut the vegetables, just as it does not matter what’s first on your bowl. Grate the carrots and your wonderful celery root. Cut into small pieces your tomatoes and yellow peppers. Chop the parsley and celery leaves. When you’ve completed the task of having everything chopped into your bowl add the last ingredient, the sea salt. Speaking of which, the salt has to be grayish and big. And now that everything is added, all we have to do is mixing the ingredients together. Do it with your clean hands or by using a spoon.
We have arrived at our last step, and that is storing our zarzavat for the winter. You can store it in a bucket or a jar. Once it is placed and sealed, the mixture is going to leave a rich in flavour juice that’s going to add with or without the vegetables a one of a kind taste to your foods, especially to your ciorbe. There’s nothing like it. It is home made with zero preservatives or any other artificial ingredients.
Store your zarzavat away from light, like your pantry or basement.
Oh my, it smells divine!
And now we can store it away.
Some facts about zarzavat: it is traditionally prepared around at the beginning of autumn to use the last harvest of tomatoes and the remaining vegetables on our list. That’s how you get the best tasting legumes. You can, however, prepare the zarzavat at any time, given the easy access we have in getting vegetables and legumes at any moment, throughout the year.
For best results, choose tasty legumes with a strong smell.