Syrian kabiss (Pickled vegetables)

Brined kabiss or pickles are famous in Syria throughout history with their colorful array of pickled vegetables.

 Pickles are created by immersing fresh fruits or vegetables in an acidic liquid or saltwater brine until they are no longer considered raw or vulnerable to spoilage.

Pickles was the best way to preserve food for a long period of time, and served as the perfect complement to mezze dishes as falafel, roast chicken or kebab.

The fermentation process is dependent on the Lactobacillus bacteria that naturally occurs on the skin of vegetables.  Bacteria cultures can be reintroduced to the vegetables by adding already fermented foods such as yogurt or other fermented milk products, pieces of sourdough bread and of course pickled vegetables such as sauerkraut.

You can combine different kinds of vegetables in one jar as carrots, cucumbers, radishes, turnips, peppers, green beans, cauliflower, and hot peppers then put them in a glass or ceramic vessel, together with a variety of spices. The container is then filled with cooled, boiled water and kept under a non-airtight cover for several weeks, depending on taste and external temperature. 


4 garlic cloves, peeled

2 cups vinegar (apple cider, distilled white, or white wine)

1 cup water

1 cup sugar

2 tablespoons kosher salt

1 tablespoon each of peppercorns, mustard seed, celery seed, coriander seed

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes


1- Put the vinegar, water, sugar, salt and spices to boil in a bowl. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat to cool.

2- Cut up the carrots, cucumbers, peppers and cauliflower into bite-sized pieced. Leave the green beans whole. If using hot peppers, pierce them all over with a knif , sliced of cucumbers and you can  save the tops of the peppers.

3- Pack the jars tightly with vegetables and garlic cloves. Ladle the vinegar solution into the jars to cover the vegetables. Top with the lids to the jars and refrigerate.


Hamsa Zughib