Advance Praise for Asian Pickles (My New Cookbook…YEAH!)

I am BLUSHING from head to toe…these are some kind, kind words from my fellow compatriots in the pickle business. Look for their sweet gushings on the back cover of Asian Pickles: Sweet, Sour, Salty, Cured, and Fermented Preserves from Korea, Japan, China, India, and Beyond, my print book out in June, 2014. And, please also support their kitchen-critical efforts by visiting their blogs and buying their books! APCoverTiny

“I love this book! Karen Solomon has spent years exploring the remarkably varied pickling styles of Asia. This is among the very best books I’ve encountered on pickling, and it goes beyond pickling itself with recipes for foods used in or served with pickles. Karen’s descriptions of technique are clear and crisp, and her personal tone made me feel as if she were whispering encouragement in my ear.”

Sandor Ellix Katz, author of The Art of Fermentation

“In this culinary passport to Asia, Karen Solomon helps you discover the delicate flavors and complex spices of pickles you didn’t know existed. A delicious roadmap for pickle lovers everywhere!”

Lauryn Chun, author of The Kimchi Cookbook

“With this book, Karen Solomon has forever updated the American pickle canon. Featuring both truly traditional Asian pickles and her varied and inspiring adaptations, it is required reading for all home preservers.”

Marisa McClellan, creator of Food In Jars (and the forthcoming Preserving by the Pint)

“There’s much more to the world of pickles than cucumbers and carrots. Thoughtfully exploring techniques less known to most American picklers and highlighting the diverse and vibrant ingredients of each region, Karen Solomon delivers a pan-Asian relish tray of crunchy, tart, sweet, and spicy bites for novice and experienced picklers alike.”

Sean Timberlake, founder of Punk Domestics

Onion and Cilantro Chutney – from Asian Pickles by Karen Solomon


Onion and Cilantro Chutney,jpg

This simple, refreshing chutney takes its flavor from a mellowed onion, but by all means feel free to skip the step of blanching it if you like more of a raw bite. The lime and the cilantro make it bright and as pleasing to the eye as it is to your stomach. And versatile? Uh-huh. Its subtle sea­soning makes it equally at home with roast chicken and potatoes as with vindaloo and rice.

Makes about 1 pint


  • 6 ounces red onion (about ½ large onion)
  • ½ cup cilantro leaves
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice (from about 2 limes)
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1½ teaspoons ground cumin

Bring a small pot of water to a boil while you slice the onion into ¼-inch-thick strips.

Blanch the onion by boiling it for 20 seconds, then immediately draining and running it under cold water; toss it with your hands to cool it down and stop the cooking. Drain thoroughly and transfer to a small mixing bowl along with the cilantro, salt, and lime juice.

In a small skillet, combine the oil with the cumin and let it toast, stirring con­stantly, until it turns medium brown and becomes fragrant, about 3 minutes. Let it cool slightly and scrape cumin and oil into the bowl.

Toss completely and serve immediately. Cover and refrigerate any unused por­tion. This chutney will keep up to 3 days.

This recipe is from Asian Pickles: Sweet, Sour, Salty, Cured, and Fermented Preserves from Korea, Japan, China, India, and Beyond from Ten Speed Press.

Salt Cured Long Beans – Recipe from Asian Pickles China

Salt Cured Long Beans (1)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.

Pickled Shallots Recipe from Asian Pickles China E-Cookbook

PIckled ShallotsMost 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.


Talkin’ Ketchup (And More!) on The Splendid Table

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.

ketchupI’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)