Kwass

Kwass

If you live in England there is a 100% chance that you are friend with a polish person or you work with one.

When I first moved here I didn’t even remember where exactly is Poland or how big it is. I was pretty sure it was the size of Austria and I got impressed when I discovered it is actually bigger than Italy. (Don’t judge my geographic knowledge, I thrive in other areas. Do you know what w170 means when talking about flour? Nope? than we are even).

When I first moved to England I started working in Wagamama and the head chef was polish, the sous chef was polish and half of the team was polish.

So, being a smart girl 😉 , I decided to buy a dictionary and start studying their language to go beyond the understanding of their over-pronounced word “curva”.

I didn’t even manage to learn the alphabet. Their language is a serious difficult one to learn. 

And now my daughter is officially polish!! We managed to get her the passport few days ago and it has become more important than ever that I learn this difficult language. I still don’t know the alphabet, but I can pronounce few basic words, like come, go, what is this, sister, grandma (I actually don’t know which is the word for grandpa), drink, sandwich, hot, hello and eat.

Yep, this is basically all I know and learnt dating for three years a polish men. In just about 30 years I will be able to speak with my partner’s parents like a three years old kid.

The amazing thing about having a Polish partner is that you get to eat their food, which is incredibly tasty and rich. We are talking serious stuff here like homemade pierogi, soups and deliciously cured meat.

Today recipe is the base of a famous polish and east European soup: Barszcz (spelled differently in different countries). It is called Kwass and is a flavoured fermented beetroot water that adds that characteristic polish sourness to the soup. You can choose to use lemon juice for the same purpose, but the result is never going to be the same. Polish shops sell a version of it, but the homemade one is definitely better and this one is delicious. I cannot wait to try the white version to use as a base for the other soups.

Kwass
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Total Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 4 beetroots (around 400 grams once peeled)
  2. 1 tsp sugar
  3. 1 tbsp salt
  4. 4 garlic cloves sliced
  5. 2 bay leaves
  6. 6 grains allspice
  7. 1 tsp black pepper (whole)
  8. 300g water
  9. 300g sauerkraut liquid (I used a 520g bag)
Instructions
  1. Bring to boil water, salt and sugar and let it rest until lukewarm.
  2. Peel and slice the beetroots.
  3. Put all the ingredients in a 750ml jar alternating garlic and spices.
  4. Pour the sauerkraut water into the jar.
  5. Add the lukewarm water and cover the jar with a piece of cloth.
  6. Let ferment at room temperature for 4-5 days than filter with a sieve and store away in the fridge.
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