Daikon Water Kimchi
Daikon Water Kimchi

Daikon Water Kimchi

Most people are familiar with the Korean Kimchi composed of cabbage, fermented in huge pots, and colored a brilliant, vivid red from lashings of Gochujang, or Chili Powder. There are thousands of types of Kimchi however, and many of these involve vegetables other than cabbage being fermented in brine, without a lot of other ingredients. These sorts of simple pickle are referred to generally, as varieties of ‘Water Kimchi’, in Korea, and radishes, especially those known by the Japanese name ‘Daikon’ are probably the most popular. The process is not complicated, and crisp, tangy pickles can be prepared, and ready for the table, in as little as two, or three days.


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Chicken Wings Steamed with Sichuan Pickle
Chicken Wings Steamed with Sichuan Pickle

Chicken Wings Steamed with Sichuan Pickle

Chicken wings are wonderful when steamed so that their own juices blend with added flavorings to produce a rich and savory sauce. In this recipe, the ‘drumette’ section of chicken wings are steamed over a bed of celery, which adds its own aromatic contribution, and pickled zhà cài, or Sichuan Preserved Vegetable to provide a nice, sharp, tangy note against the spicy backdrop of chili oil.


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Chicken with Sichuan Preserved Vegetable
Chicken with Sichuan Preserved Vegetable

Chicken with Sichuan Preserved Vegetable

This simple little dish is very easy to prepare, but it packs a pretty potent flavor wallop from the addition of the spicy and sour Sichuan Preserved Vegetable, known as Zhà Cài (榨菜). I have augmented the usual heat and tanginess of the pickle with a little chili paste and vinegar, and then rounded out the flavors with just a dash of sugar. Cashews add a nice flavor and textural contrast to both the chicken and vegetable.


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Zha Cai - Sichuan Preserved Vegetable
Zha Cai – Sichuan Preserved Vegetable

Zha Cai, or Sichuan Preserved Vegetable, is a spicy Sichuanese specialty featuring a type of mustard stem pickled by packing it with salt, garlic and chili.  It is a very versatile pantry ingredient that packs a powerful flavor punch and can be added to soups and stews, as well as steamed or stir-fried dishes.


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Basic Cabbage Kimchi
Basic Cabbage Kimchi

As Basic Cabbage Kimchi recipes go, this one can rightfully be called the Simplest and the Most Basic version for a couple of reasons. First, it requires you to have on hand only four ingredients; Cabbage, Green Onion, Salt, and Korean Chili Paste. Secondly, the fermentation process uses the traditional Korean method for salt-pickling, which is dead easy to follow.


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My Taiwanese Pickles
My Taiwanese Pickles

These Taiwanese Pickles were inspired by a dish of ‘Taiwan Pickled Vegetable’ served to me at a Dim Sum Restaurant. That version was also composed of slivers of Red Bell Pepper, Cucumber and Ginger, and the dish was obviously a salt-macerated ‘quick’ pickle. The pickling medium (more of a dressing really), was quite sweet, just a little sour, and had just a faint touch of chili heat…

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Chili Beef with Pickled Cauliflower
Chili Beef with Pickled Cauliflower

Chili Beef with Pickled Cauliflower is not a traditional dish in the cuisine of any particular country as far as I know. Rather, this dish was put together to use and showcase some of my own homemade Simple Cauliflower Pickle. The result does rather have the flavors of South Asia, though, and it would probably fit, both in terms of taste and appearance, in a meal alongside other Indian dishes.


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Simple Cauliflower Pickle
Simple Cauliflower Pickle

I often buy a commercially made pickle consisting of sections of gherkin, cocktail onions, and cauliflower florets with turmeric as a main flavoring component. The cauliflower is my favorite part but I usually find that there are too few pieces in each jar and, with most brands, they are often just a tad too sweet. This simple cauliflower pickle recipe contains nothing but cauliflower florets, just a little sugar, and a nicely complimentary spice blend that is both tangy and mildly spicy.


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Kimchi with Conpoy and Dried Shrimp
Kimchi with Conpoy and Dried Shrimp

Many recipes for Kimchi call for fermenting cabbage, or other vegetables, with some type of seafood in order to add an extra umami dimension. The seafood typically used is often Korean brined-shrimp, but oysters, octopus, and even fish guts are sometimes used. Here, in a twist on the more traditional blends, Conpoy and Dried Shrimp being added as the umami boosters.

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