Monday, August 9, 2010

Sweet and Sour Pickled Vegetable Salad

I've long wanted to figure out the whole pickling deal. I don't know why it really took me so long. I guess it just sounded complicated. It sounded like a lot of mason jar sterilizing, large bubbling vats, and endless storage space (or friends to give this stuff away to). Friends I have, storage space and patience for mason jar sterlizing....? maybe not. BUT browsing through my terrific Thai cookbook I realized that many recipes call for pickled vegetables, and it's not hard to do in the slightest!

Different recipes also call for different types of pickling. The pickling I've done here requires a large amount of sugar, which is why the salad is called 'sweet and sour'. The sour comes from the rice wine vinegar. The flavor combination really works here. And it's another fun way to incorporate the ever healthy bean sprouts into a recipe.

This recipes makes about 2 large lunch meal salads, or 4 small side salads.
The prep time of this recipe is 2.5 hours, because of the time you will allow the vegetables to pickle in the brine. Besides that, the work involved will take you no more than 10 minutes.

Pickled vegetables:
1 carrot, julienne
1/2 cucumber, julienne
1/2 cup rice vinegar
1/2 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 tsp salt

1 cup Chinese cabbage, chopped
1 cup bean sprouts, washed
2 scallions, diced
1/2 large red chilli, sliced on the diagonal
2 tbs soy sauce
juice of 1 lime
2 tbs crushed peanuts or cashews

1.) Start by making the brine for the pickled vegetables. This requires that you boil the water, vinegar and sugar until the sugar has dissolved and cool the mixture.
2.) Pour the brine over the jullienne vegetables in a large jar or bowl and let marinate (or pickle) for at least 2 hours. I left mine in the fridge so they would be nice and cold with my salad.
3.) Meanwhile, prepare the rest of the salad ingredients.
4.) Drain the pickled vegetables, reserving the liquid. Add the vegetables to the salad.
5.) To make the dressing, add the soy sauce, lime juice and 1/4 cup (125ml/4 fl oz) of the pickling brine.
6.) Sprinkle with the nuts and serve.

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