Ćwikła (CHEEK-wah) is a popular condiment in Poland. This no-cook recipe combines grated horseradish with beets to create a colorful dish with a bit of sweetness as well as a touch of heat. Ćwikła is the perfect accompaniment for Polish sausage and ham and is an indispensable condiment at Easter time.
The ratio of horseradish to beets is generally 1 to 3, giving this dish a more mild taste compared to other horseradish condiments. You can use purchased horseradish in this recipe, but if you do get your hands on some horseradish root, try grating it yourself; just make sure the kitchen is well ventilated. This recipe provides canned and jarred alternatives, but it will taste best with fresh ingredients.
- 1 teaspoon white vinegar
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- 2 cups grated fresh horseradish root or purchased horseradish
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 pound beets (cooked, peeled, cooled, and grated), or 1 (14-ounce) can prepared beets (drained and grated)
In a large bowl, mix vinegar, brown sugar, horseradish, and salt until well combined.
Add grated beets and mix thoroughly.
Pack into clean sterilized jars and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
Serve warm or cold, although cold is more traditional.
Know Your Condiments
- Typically condiments, like mustard, ketchup, mayonnaise, soy sauce, barbecue sauce, relish, salt, and pepper, are not eaten on their own. Their purpose is to add increased flavor or even to introduce a new contrasting flavor to foods. Sometimes they are incorporated into the ingredients of a recipe and sometimes they are served alongside a cooked dish.
- A well-stocked pantry would include, at the very least, barbecue sauce, capers, chili paste or powder, chutney, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, honey, horseradish, ketchup, maple syrup, marmalades, molasses, mustards, oils, olives, pickles, salsa, vinegars, and Worcestershire sauce.
- There are as many different types of condiments as there are foods, and they are often connected to certain types of cuisines. The type of condiment offered will depend on where you are enjoying a meal. When in Poland, for example, you will find bowls or jars of Ćwikła on the table when served kielbasa or a dish that includes ham. As both sausage and ham are part of the Easter meal, Ćwikła is also present at the holiday feast.