It could be that long beans – the long and skinny green beans found in Asian markets – are not available near you, and that’s totally fine: straight-up skinny green beans make a fine substitute. However, if you can find long beans, they’re a lot of fun in this pickle, with their lighter texture and fresh snap. These preserved beans are in more of a marinade than a brine; thus, instead of a canning jar, I suggest you make them in a shallow, flat food storage container where the beans can lay in a single layer. Snack on these like potato chips, or chop them and either toss with beef or shrimp in a stir-fry or stir into congee.
Time: 1 day
- 10 ounces long beans, or 12 ounces green beans
- 3 tablespoons kosher salt
- 1 (2/3-inch) piece ginger
- 2 small cloves garlic
- 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
- 4 tablespoons soy sauce
Trim the beans, discarding the ends, and chop into 4-inch lengths. If you’re using green beans instead of long beans, be sure to cut off both ends of the beans (don’t just snap the stem) to allow the flavors to penetrate.
Lay the beans in a single layer in a flat, shallow dish. Cover them with the salt and let them sit for 2 hours, rolling them occasionally. Rinse the beans, discarding any extra salt or residual liquid, and pat them dry with a clean kitchen towel.
Mince the ginger and finely mince the garlic (or press it in a garlic press) and combine them with the sugar and soy sauce in the bottom of a clean, shallow container with a tight-fitting lid. Add the beans and toss them well to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours.
Your beans are now ready to eat, though you should stir them before eating. Kept covered, they will keep at least 3 weeks.
Makes 1 cup.
This recipe is from Asian Pickles China.
Most vegetables lose their bright color when dunked in brine for a few days, but shallots buck that trend beautifully. Not only do these midget onions turn a pretty pink hue, but they also get sweet and mild as they pickle, making them a pleasure to slice and toss atop anything from the wok, but also mild enough to meld into leafy salads, sandwiches, chicken or tuna salad, and cold noodle dishes. And with the twist of orange and the booze in this brine, there are certainly cocktail applications to explore here far beyond the scope of Chinese cuisine. This recipe is an excerpt from Asian Pickles: China: Recipes for Chinese Sweet, Sour, Salty, Cured, and Fermented Pickles and Condiments.
Makes about 2 cups
Time: 3 days
- 13 ounces shallots (enough to fill a pint jar)
- 3 (1-inch) pieces orange zest
- 2 tablespoons good-quality Shaoxing wine or gin
- cup plus 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- About cup cool tap water
Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil. While you’re waiting, peel and trim the shallots.
Once the water is at a high boil, blanch the shallots for 2 minutes, until just tender. Drain and rinse well under cool running water to stop the cooking.
Place the orange zest in the bottom of a clean pint jar. Pack in the shallots and pour in the wine or gin, vinegar, sugar, and salt, then top off the jar with the water as needed to cover all the shallots.
Cover tightly and shake to combine the ingredients. Let sit on the countertop for 24 hours before refrigerating. The pickles are ready to eat after 3 days. Kept refrigerated, they will last at least 6 weeks.
I love American Public Media’s The Splendid Table nationwide radio show which, sadly, is not available on the air in my native San Francisco. (What’s up with that? Thank you, Internet!) Host Lynne Rossetto Kasper is just the sweetest lady on the planet, and they have very cool stories from every corner of the foodisphere – from chicken gizzard candy to Padma Lakshmi.
I’ve had the pleasure of being on the show four times – my most recent call-in is from the end of August, 2013, where I talk about all kinds of ketchup, and why it rocks to make your own (my recipe here). In addition:
- I talk about miso pickles, keeping a nuka bucket, and other aspects of Japanese pickling. (2013)
- I share some thoughts on bacon making and other easy home-cured charcuterie. (2009)
- I walk readers through my recipe for Chocolate Fudge Pops and other frozen treats for grown-ups. (2009)
Three’s the charm! Asian Pickles China: Recipes for Chinese Sweet, Sour, Salty, Cured, and Fermented Pickles and Condiments is the third e-book in the series, and it is now ready for download! Plunk down a mere three bucks and this baby is yours. Even if you don’t have an iPad, a Kindle, or any kind of electronic device other than a desktop computer, you can still read and revel in all 15 glorious recipes.
Some of my fave recipes include:
- Spicy Blackened Sichuan Pickled Peppers
- Tianjin Preserved Vegetable
- Sour Celery and Red Pepper
- Hong Kong Pickled Papaya, Shallots, and Cucumbers
Let me know what you think…
Time: 3-5 days
Note that this recipe can also work for cucumber spears, carrot sticks, or small cauliflower florets, and that it’s very easy to double, triple, or scale this to create as many jars as you need. These are the quintessential garnish for Bloody Mary’s, and a critical bit of acid bite for oily meats, sausages, or fowl. By all means, get experimental with other flavors like fresh ginger slices, jalapenos, cinnamon sticks, or black peppercorns, but dill – particularly its seed – is an essential pickle flavor.
- 1 large, whole, garlic clove, lightly crushed
- 1 tablespoon dill seed
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon dried chile flake (optional)
- One small bunch of fresh dill weed
- About ¾ of a pound of perfect green beans, washed and trimmed
- About 2 oz. each distilled white vinegar and water
In the bottom of pint-sized jar with a tight-fitting lid, place the garlic, dill seed, salt, and chile flake (is using). Lay the jar on its side, and add the fresh dill, standing up. Then, working to fit as many green beans as possible into the jar, stand them up in the jar next to one another snugly.
Fill the jar halfway with vinegar, and then top off the remainder with cold, fresh tap water. Cover tightly, shake gently to dissolve the salt, and refrigerate. In three to five days, you’ll have delicious pickles that will last for several months.
Makes 1 pint.