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Sichuan-Inspired Pickled Vegetables

You’ll love what happens to radishes and carrots in this pickle—one turns a sheer sunset pink while the other practically pulsates orange. Chinese pickles are a cook’s great cheat. In an elaborate Chinese menu, they save you from having to pull off time-consuming appetizers while they tune up palates for what’s to come.–Lynne Rossetto Kasper and Sally Swift

LC No Ordinary Pickle Note

No ordinary pickle—that’s what the complex taste of this simple recipe will no doubt leave you thinking. The cinnamon lends a unique and curious depth to the veggies. And though we like the heat, we confess to being tempted to toss in a few smashed Sichuan peppercorns in place of the chiles next time we’re hankering for some innocent intrigue. Certain to make you forget forevermore the classic Vlasic.

Sichuan-Inspired Pickled Vegetables Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 20 M
  • 20 M
  • Makes about 3 cups

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups distilled vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 generous teaspoon medium-hot ground chiles, such as mirasol, guajillo, New Mexico, or hot Hungarian paprika
  • 1 star anise, broken into pieces
  • 1 1/2-inch piece fresh ginger, cut into 6 pieces
  • 3- to 4-inch piece cinnamon stick, broken into pieces
  • 2 to 3 medium carrots, cut on the diagonal into 1/2-inch-thick slivers
  • 8 to 10 red radishes, cut into 1/8-inch-thick rounds

Directions

  • 1. In a 3-quart saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the vinegar, salt, sugar, and chiles, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Boil for 1 minute.
  • 2. Meanwhile, wash and rinse two 1-pint glass jars and lids with very hot water. Divvy the anise, ginger, and cinnamon between the jars, then place the carrots in one jar and the radishes in the other.
  • 3. Pour half the hot vinegar mixture into each jar and let cool. Cover and refrigerate for at least 12 hours. The pickles keep for up to a month in the refrigerator.
  • 4. When ready to serve, drain the pickles and place them in small bowls with toothpicks or as finger foods.
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