Stereotypes claim that Germans are particularly fond of kraut. After all, there is no other side dish that fits – both in tastes and in aesthetics – so perfectly to any heavy German meat product you can imagine – ranging from all kinds of sausages, to Schnitzel, and other extremities such as pickled knuckle of pork.
Dear beloved reader – don’t worry, this text will not dive deeper into the greasy world of solid butchery (for those of you who would like to read about this kind of stuff, look out for our November entries J ). Instead, let’s focus more on the cabbage Germans are nicknamed after (“the krauts”), in its uncooked, fresh form.
When travelling Germany, you may notice the abundance of cosy, informal restaurants in any area frequented by middle-class Germans looking for laid-back, urban distractions. Examples of these areas include the Viertel in Bremen, the Schanze in Hamburg, Bergerstraße in Frankfurt, or downtown Stuttgart. This kind of restaurants may pop up in Kassel or Düsseldorf, and even in Dresden (the East suffers from the prejudice that they are lacking behind cuisine-wise) some may be found. Berlin is full of them.
The dishes these restaurants serve are contemporary and it may well be that the guests cook such dishes at home themselves. The portions are big but ingredients are healthy. Standard entries in the menus of these restaurants include “carrot-ginger-soup”, pasta with a zucchini-tomato sauce and all kinds of large salads.
It was in one of these restaurants that I stumbled across the following recipe for an easy-made but delicious kraut salad. The afternoon had been a tough toll of sightseeing in a town so full of things that me and my friend (coming straight from Colorado) were completely exhausted. We followed a crowed of girls looking for a place to sit down and sip on some latte machiatos, cappucinos, milk coffees etc.
Since it was afternoon, it was still too early for a propper dinner – we thought. Plus, I wanted something sweet (but not too sweet). My savior was a sweetish kraut salad (made of cabbage, orange, apple, walnuts and a creamy sauce). The cabbage had been sliced into thin pieces, while orange and apple were cut into small cubes, and walnuts had been grounded into irregular pieces. For a large portion, you need 500g cabbage, 1 orange, 1 apple and 100g walnuts. The sauce is based on sour cream (100g of a low fat version – it’s possible to use vegan versions of your choice), juice of half a lime mixed with splashes of lemon juice (as much as you wish), 1 tea spoon honey, half a tea spoon powdered ginger and some pepper if you wish. It is important that you mix the sauce before you add it to the mixture of cabbage, orange and apple. The nuts may be added to the sauce or the cabbage directly.
A warning on the side. On that day, I was undecided between my salad adventure or a piece of cake. The cake would have most likely left me hungry, meanwhile the salad stopped my hunger without making me feel full. But, later that night, when we wanted to go for a king-size dinner given the eventful day of discoveries and iconic moments, I had a salad again; no way, I could stuff into me another German-style portion, no matter how delicious the dish was. Instead, I was destined to watch my friend eat one of her best (very juicy) steaks in her life claiming that prices in the US for such food would be triple the ones in Europe…Well yeah, at least I ate healthy, I guess.