Tag Archives: onions

Cebollas Encuridas

In Mexico’s Yucatan, pickled red onions—cebollas encuridas— are served at almost every meal, appearing as soon as you sit down, along with the salsa. They are a delightful and delicious way to enhance foods, from simply piling them on tortilla chips to using them to enhance a dish. I came to be fairly addicted to them when I toured the Yucatan a few years ago, and I now make them regularly.

You must use sour orange juice. It’s completely different from sweet orange juice—more like lime juice. Straight vinegar would be better than using sweet orange juice, but look for sour orange in the Hispanic- or Mexican-foods aisle of your grocery store, or check at a Hispanic grocery store. It’s worth the effort, because the flavor really is different if you try substitutes for the sour orange.

And just so you know, these are good with more than just Mexican food. Almost anywhere you’d use pickles, relish, or onions can be enhanced with this flavorful condiment. Enjoy.

Cebollas Encuridas
Yucatecan Pickled Onions

1 large red onion, thinly sliced
boiling water, to cover
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. salt (or to taste)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup sour orange juice, or to cover
1/2 tsp dried oregano, preferably Mexican oregano Continue reading


Leave a comment

Filed under Culture, Food, Recipes, Travel




The Allium genus includes some of my favorite purveyors of flavor, including garlic, shallots, leeks, scallions, and onions. It is hard to imagine cooking without these fragrant, vibrant plants. And in fact, no one has ever really had to, because wild members of the allium genus grow worldwide. That’s why, even though onions as we know them arrived in the Americas with European explorers, we still ended up with Native American words that refer to a place where wild onions were causing a stink: the Potawatomi word checagou, which means “place that stinks of wild onions,” and the Menominee word shika’ko, which means “skunk place,” which actually referred to the smell of the wild onions. We’re not sure which of these words was the derivation of Chicago, but the point is, there were a lot of wild onions growing here long before domesticated onions made it over with European settlers. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under culinary history, Food, Geography, History, Nutrition