Paneer-Stuffed Pickled Chiles — Recipe from Asian Pickles

Paneer Stuffed Pickled Chiles,jpg

I am no stranger to spicy food, but I once ate one of these that was so hot I had to lie down. Why? Because I was being macho and I didn’t remove the seeds and membranes from the peppers. I have also, of course, eaten many that were just the right degree of spiciness. No matter what hap­pens with the heat, you will deeply enjoy the sweet (dates), pungent (onion), and bracing (vinegar/ginger) aspects of these perfectly peppery pickle bites. Oh, and if Indian paneer cheese is not available, you can make do with another very mild, low-salt milk cheese like queso fresco, haloumi, or a firm quark.

Makes 8 to 10 stuffed peppers 


  • 4 or 5 green jalapeño chiles
  • 4 or 5 red Fresno chiles
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped yellow onion (about ½ small yellow onion)
  • 1/3 cup minced cilantro
  • 2/3 cup finely diced paneer (about 3 ounces)
  • 5 dates, pitted and finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground fenugreek
  • ¾ cup distilled white vinegar
  • 1¼ cups water
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 3 thin slices fresh ginger
  • 1 large clove garlic, smashed

Bring a small covered saucepan of water to a boil.

Use scissors or kitchen shears to cut the stems off the peppers, leaving the pep­pers intact.

When the water is at a rapid boil, slip in the peppers and cook 5 to 7 minutes, until soft enough to be malleable. Drain and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking.

While the peppers cool, combine the onion, cilantro, paneer, dates, salt, and fen­ugreek in a medium mixing bowl. This is your stuffing.

Now it’s time to stuff the peppers. Using a paring knife, start at the stem end of a pepper and make a long slit, lengthwise, down almost to the pepper’s tip. Pinch the pepper together like a change purse to open up the incision you just made. Unless you truly enjoy extremely spicy food, I suggest you use a spoon to gently scrape out as many of the seeds and membranes as you can, leaving the pepper intact. Follow suit with the remaining peppers.

Stuff the peppers with the stuffing until you can’t fit anymore inside without splitting the pepper. Lay the peppers on their sides, cut side up, in a shallow con­tainer with a well‑fitting lid that is just big enough for all.

To make the brine, combine the vinegar, water, sugar, ginger, and garlic in a small covered saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a sim­mer for 15 minutes. Pour the hot brine, complete with the ginger and garlic, over the peppers to cover them completely. (If your storage container is rather large, and you need more liquid to cover the peppers fully, you can double the quan­tity of brine.) Secure the container with a lid and let sit at room temperature for 24 hours. Move the peppers to the refrigerator and let them sit for 5 days. Serve the peppers whole or carefully sliced into bites. Kept refrigerated, these peppers will last up to 2 weeks.

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

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.

Bloody Mary-Critical Dilly Pickled Green Beans Recipe

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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.

Green Strawberry Salsa Recipe (That’s Actually Pink)

Green strawberries.

Not a Photoshop’ed trick. Not a crazy new varietal. Just the young, green, unripened berries that usually fill your jam jar. They are delicious on their own – berry-ish minus the sugar (duh!) – and they remind me a lot of tomatillos. I know these may be tricky to find across the nation, but I’m sure your local farmers market vendor will be happy to bring you some. For them, it’s a shorter growing cycle and a hearty fruit that’s much easier to transport.

Sylvia from Yerena Farms has gotten some press from selling her strawberries to chefs doing all sorts of crazy things with them (and good for her, because I adore her and her family and they are extremely shrewd business people and farmers). I have yet to pickle them (but oh, I will!) but I took her suggestion and put together this little salsa – delicious! I made it pretty tangy to insure that it’s safe for water bath canning. And I was inspired by the salsa at Tacolicious and used mint instead of cilantro, but by all means you can swap that out for a more familiar salsa flavor. Chip away (ha ha!) and enjoy.

Oh, and just a word about the color. I also include some fresh berries for a little balanced sweetness. Pink food! Yeah!


Green Strawberry Salsa Recipe

Time: 25 minutes

  • 1 pint (about 12 oz. by weight) of unripened strawberries; washed, hulled, and chopped to a medium dice (2 ½ cups)
  • 7 oz. ripe strawberries (1 1/4 cups washed, hulled, and chopped to a medium dice)
  • 4 oz. red onion (3/4 cup chopped to a medium dice)
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice (from about two juicy Persian limes)
  • 1 ½ tsp. kosher salt
  • ½ tsp. chile powder (make sure it’s just straight chile; no added oregano or anything else)
  • ¼ cup plus 3 T white distilled vinegar
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, tightly packed

In a medium saucepan, combine the green berries, ripe berries, onion, garlic, lime juice, salt, chile, and vinegar. Cover and bring to a boil for about 5 minutes, when it will become thick and saucy, stirring occasionally. While it’s cooking, mince the mint.

Allow the salsa cool for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently, and then stir in the mint. Your salsa is now chip-ready and it will keep, refrigerated, for about two weeks.

Makes 1 1/2 pints.

Photo credit: Pete