Szechuan style cabbage relish
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Szechuan style cabbage relish
  Cabbage    Vegetables    Relish    Appetizers    Vegan    Chinese  
Last updated 6/12/2012 1:02:43 AM. Recipe ID 26355. Report a problem with this recipe.
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      Title: Szechuan style cabbage relish
 Categories: Relishes, Vegetables, Appetizers, Vegan, Chinese
      Yield: 1 Servings
      1 md Green cabbage

      8 c  Water
      2 tb Szechuan peppercorns
      3 tb Salt
      2 tb -Strong spirits, or up to:
      3 tb Strong spirits
           -- (gin, tequilla, or
           -- kaoliang wine)
      1 c  Icicle radish, julienned
           -- (Optional)
    1/2 c  Carrot, julienned (optional)
      2 sl -Gingerroot, or up to:
      5 sl Gingerroot
      1 sm -Fresh Chile, or up to:
      3 sm Fresh Chiles (optional)
  This relish is certainly the most ubiquitous and popular in all China.
  There is even a special earthenware pickling jar for it.  Encircling
  the mouth of the jar is a shallow, water-filled trough, into which
  the lid fits like an upturned bowl, affording an airtigh seal.  Many
  a restaurant, no matter how small, keeps an ongoing batch in the
  works.  It is especially favored as an appetizer or as an
  accompaniment to such specialties as boiled pot-stickers or noodles.
  Szechuan is a Western province of China where red pepper frequently
  enlivens the food.  The traditional hot, spicy flavor of this relish
  varies with individual taste; use as much or as little gingerroot
  and/or hot peppers as you like to do the job.  Chiles can be chopped
  for a really hot effect; or for mere warmth, leave them whole with a
  slit down one side. If you omit the chiles and gingerroot altogether,
  the resuld will be a pleasant pickle flavor with the natural
  sweetness of the crisp vegetables in the forefront.
  Green cabbage (not Chinese cabbage) is the principle ingredient, but
  other vegetables may be added for color (carrot) and variety (icicle
  radish). One batch requires several days' steeping.  The brine should
  be reused, for each time the vegetables contribute their flavor, and
  it gets better and better.
  DIRECTIONS: =========== Discard limp outer leaves of cabbage. It is
  not necessary to separate leaves individually. Break the head into
  fairly large yet bite-sized pieces. Pat dry and let excess moisture
  To make marinade: Brin to a boil the water, peppercorns, and salt.
  Strain out the peppercorns as you pour the liquid into a plastic
  container (with air-tight lid), ceramic bowl, or crock.  Let cool to
  room temperature.
  When the brine has cooled, add the alcohol, then cabbage and
  additional vegetables.  Weigh these down with a clean, heavy ceramic
  object (I simply use a plate) or stone so that they remain submerged
  in the brine.  Cover tightly with plastic wrap or air-tight lid.
  Store in the refrigerator for at least three days before uncovering.
  The first one or two batches may seem a bit salty and raw-tasting;
  after that a mellow, richly mature character develops.  It can store
  indefinitely if kept cold, airtight, and clean.  Always use clean,
  dry utensils when removing the vegetables.  You can remove as much as
  you want at a time and add new vegetables before the previous batch
  is used up.
  To replenish the brine after several batches, add a little alcohol
  and a salt solution (1/2 teaspoon salt boiled with 1/2 cup water).
  The original marinade can be reboiled with additional water and salt,
  but this results in some flavor loss.
  Variation: Shred the marinated cabbage or chop it coarsely, to yield
  about 5 cups, loosely packed.  Toss with 1 tablespoon soy sauce,
  2-1/2 teaspoons sugar, 1 tablespoon vinegar (cider or Chinese dark),
  and 1-1/2 teaspoons sesame oil.  Serve at room temperature or chilled.
  * Source: The Fragrant Vegetable, by Martin Stidham * Typos 

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Recipe ID 26355 (Apr 03, 2005)

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