Цвіклі (pol. ćwikła) is a hot beets appetizer in Poland and Western Ukraine. It is made with boiled or steamed beets, grated, seasoned, and mixed with some horseradish puree and spices. The level of heat and the list of ingredients vary from region to region and from family to family. Besides all kinds of vinegar, the acidic elements range from lemon juice to dry red wine. Just make it to your taste.
Both beet varieties in this salad are an heirloom. Detroit red beets are the most popular, often described as “old standard.” Touchstone Gold roots have bright yellow flesh and retain their color when cooked. They are smooth, sweet and tasty, highly flavorful. Creamy Feta dressing with a touch of garlic compliments them, and the toppings add to their beauty. If you like a combination of earthy-sweet and pungent-salty, this salad is for you!
Mzhave Combosto is widely popular in former Soviet countries appetizer made with cabbage and beetroot. Since it belongs to the Georgian cuisine, it is also known as Georgian or Guria-style cabbage. Word MZHAVE literally means salted, fermented, or pickled. There are variations in different regions of Georgia (e.g., in Guria, Imereti, and Kakheti). Some cooks prefer natural fermentation when other add vinegar to pickle vegetables. Some recipes make the cabbage more hot and pungent, while other are not heavy with spices and herbs. Every household adjusts the recipe to the taste. The common ingredients are juicy white cabbage, beetroot, garlic, and chile pepper. Celery is also often in the list.
In Ukraine, we have a similar recipe — Pelyustka. The name comes from the word “petal” probably because pickled with beets cabbage leaves look like pink flower petals.
Rich, thick and dense, bright red, piping hot, always served with a dollop of a sour cream on top. My father and brother would say: “There is a borsch and there is red soup with beetroots and tomatoes. These are two very different things.”