Posted in Recipes

Soy-Pickled Cucumber

Soy-pickled Cucumber 1

Today’s post is really just the result of me playing around with a number of different pickling recipes from both Chinese and Japanese cuisine. In many cucumber pickles, small ‘dill-pickle’ sized ‘cukes’ are used, and the pickling is by way of lactic acid fermentation for at least part of the process. Here, I am using large, seedless, English cucumbers and I am ‘quick-pickling’ using rice vinegar as the agent, and soy sauce, ginger, sesame seeds and rice wine for seasoning… Continue reading “Soy-Pickled Cucumber”

Posted in Product Reviews

Aurora Brand Giardiniera

Aurora Giardiniera 1

Giardiniera is an Italian mixed pickle that I have been long been meaning to try making for myself, but which, alas, remains one of the many projects still on my to-do-someday list. The version you see here is a product of the United States made available in Canada by Aurora Importing and Distributing. This company lists quite a wide range of products on their Website, and I have often purchased their Anchovy Paste in a tube.

The basic Giardiniera consists of a melange of cut vegetables that are first brined and then pickled in a seasoned oil and vinegar mix. Sometimes the vegetables are cut quite large and the result is consumed as ‘bite-size’ pickles, and in other cases, as here, the pieces are quite fine and the product is more of a relish used as a condiment on things like sandwiches, or burgers, and so forth.

Olive tends to the olive oil of choice but, here, soybean oil is used. The mix contains sweet peppers, carrots, cauliflower, celery and gherkins (which is a pretty common sort of blend), but hot peppers are included in many versions. The ingredients merely list ‘spices’ for the seasoning, but it does add (a bit ominously) ‘MAY CONTAIN: Mustard’.

This particular product is very well brined and the first impression of is a definite, but not unpleasant saltiness. The vinegar is used fairly lightly, and the original taste of the vegetables is still ‘somewhat’ apparent, but what I found curious is that there is actually a rather sharp bite here that suggests hot peppers were used, if only sparingly. Perhaps this is the mustard they warned as about…

Anyway, I quite liked this and, after the initial taste test, I used it as a jazzy condiment on a vegetarian pizza, and also on a series of sandwiches. The one sort of ‘failing’ here is that the colors are a bit muted and not as vibrant as would more likely be the case in a homemade, short pickle version. In less than two weeks from the date of writing this, I shall be in Ottawa and may well try a different brand or two from one of the excellent Italian food shops there…. I will report 😊

Posted in Recipes

Taiwanese Pickle

Taiwanese Pickle 1

This little appetizer is my take on a dish I had a while ago at a Dim Sum restaurant in Ottawa. It was described on the menu as ‘Taiwan Pickled Vegetable’ and was chiefly cucumber with just a little red bell pepper and slivered ginger. I am not sure about the ‘dressing’… these were obviously salt-macerated ‘quick pickles’ and they were quite sweet, only a little sour, and had just a faint touch of chili heat… Continue reading “Taiwanese Pickle”

Posted in Dim Sum Specialties

Dim Sum: 台灣泡菜

Taiwan Pickle 1

I had this pickled Cucumber in Ottawa recently. I have had Chinese pickled cucumber many times before, but generally Sichuan style versions which generally use chili, or chili oil. I recognized the last two characters in the Chinese same as meaning ‘pickled, or steeped, vegetable’ but the first two characters had me stymied for a bit … it was only once I realized that the first character was a phonetic that I guessed that the combination is rendered as ‘Taiwan’ (which proved to be right)… so, it seems that this little dish is a Taiwanese pickle.

Anyway, the cucumber were nicely macerated (using a little salt, I imagine). The result is not salty, though, but a good bit of sugar was added quite obviously, as the pickle is really quite sweet. The red strips are red bell pepper but there was a slight spicy heat coming through so I think just a touch of ground chili must have been included as well. The other addition was ginger cut into very large, thin slivers. This added a lovely flavor and another layer of sweetness. I really enjoyed these and I will make them myself this coming week … I am thinking that just a drop or two of rice wine might go nicely in it too…

Posted in Product Reviews

Branston Pickle

Branston Pickle 1C

About a year ago, I posted a recipe for Home-made Branston Pickle, which represents my method (quite succesful, I think) of reproducing the commercial variety I have loved ever since my childhood in England. Here in Canada, where one would more likely refer to it as a relish, rather than a pickle, it is not very widely known, nor widely available (indeed, it has been about ten years since I last saw it in stores here in Nunavut, and I purchased the jar you see above from Amazon.) Continue reading “Branston Pickle”

Posted in Recipes

Kimchi with Shrimp and Scallop

Kimchi with Shrimp and Scallop 1

Recently, I posted a recipe for a Simple Kimchi, and I mentioned that, in more complex varieties, Korean often boost the umami quotient of the pickle by include things like oysters, brined shrimp, or even fish guts. Today’s recipe does just that using shrimp and scallop except that, in this case, I am using Chinese style dried shrimp and scallops (the latter known as ‘conpoy’. I am also departing from the method I used in the Simple Kimchi recipe by using the slightly more traditional method of making chilli paste from scratch rather than using the pre-made Korean ‘Gochujang’ … Continue reading “Kimchi with Shrimp and Scallop”

Posted in Recipes

Simple Kimchi

simple-kimchi-1

When most people hear ‘Kimchi’, they tend to think of the most common variety made with Napa Cabbage. In truth, though, many things are pickled to make Kimchi and, even with the cabbage variety, there are thousands of versions, from the simple to highly complex. Beyond the cabbage, and, of course, chilli, there can be other vegetables added (scallions, for example), and the umami quotient is often enhanced with some sort of sea product. This can be in the form of Korean Salted Shrimp, oysters, anchovy essence, whole dried anchovies, or even fish guts.

Today, I am preparing a very simple cabbage version using just chilli and scallion. I am departing from the most common method of adding chilli, which is usually done by making a paste from powdered chilli, water, and generally rice powder, or even, in some cases, wheat flour. Instead, I am doing what some recipes do, and using Gochujang, or Korean Chili paste, which carries its own umami punch. I will be adding this to my cabbage a bit later than is common for a couple of reasons. First, while I am fairly confident, having regard to the ingredients list, that there are no preservatives in my commercially made paste that will inhibit fermentation, I am not taking chances. Also, the paste is already fermented and the chilli and rice flour don’t need further fermentation to develop their flavors…. Continue reading “Simple Kimchi”

Posted in Recipes

Chicken with Preserved Vegetable

Chicken and Preserved Vegetable 1

This recipe is built around the Sichuan Preserved Vegetable I featured in a foodstuff post recently. I am going to be cooking it with diced chicken breast and cashews in a hot, sweet, and sour sauce using chili, sugar and vinegar. This particular combination is pretty much ‘ad hoc’ for today’s dish but it is very much in the general tradition of Sichuan cookery…  Continue reading “Chicken with Preserved Vegetable”