Tuesday, July 1, 2008

I Love Zeli

I'm sure you're wondering, what is zeli? It is the Czech version of sauerkraut. They make it a little sweeter and add caraway seed (same flavoring used in rye bread). You're probably also wondering why I bring this up now? Saturday I cooked 1 1/2 gallons of zeli for the Wallace Toronto Foundation Family Event. (By the way, this Foundation I'm talking of donates its time and resources in helping the people of the Czech and Slovak Republics. If you would like more information please visit

When I volunteered to help I was counting on my husband to be here, but he ended up having to go to the 11-year scout's adventure camp. So, I was on my own. Thanks to some kind neighbors and my oldest helping with the youngest I was able to do it! I was even more shocked a stroke of pure luck...native Czechs complimented me on a job well done. They wanted the recipe and everything. I can't take all the credit since I was taught by a wonderful Czech cook. Here's the recipe if you feel brave enough to try it:


1 12 oz. can sauerkraut (drain, if desired; leaving liquid makes zeli more tangy)
1/2 large onion (sweet or vidalia)
1 tsp flour
1/8 cup water (alter amount if leaving sauerkraut liquid)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
caraway seeds to taste

Simmer all ingredients together until onions are clear and tender.
Serve with brats (bratwurst), smoked sausage,
pork loin (see picture below), and other meat dishes.
Try substituting this sauerkraut for the traditional kind used in Reuben sandwiches.

One of the best things about eating zeli is the great memories that come flooding back from the time I spent in the Czech Republic (former Czechoslovakia). I served for 18 months as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I learned to love some amazing people and was able to share with them the greatest blessing in my life--the gospel of Jesus Christ.


  1. I've never had it! We should totally do multi cultural night! oh baby!

  2. This looks and sounds delicious!