Sichuan style pickled vegetable is super popular in Sichuan area and some other south provinces of China. It is the foundation and soul of Sichuan style cooking. Almost every single family in Sichuan has one or more pickled jars. In this jar they can pickle freshly vegetables along with peppers, gingers, garlic and some other spices which differ from family to family. Every family has their own special unique way to pickle vegetable. It is the taste of home to them and also the secret weapon in their home cooked meals.
I brought back two pickle jars my previous trips back to China. And I learned how to do Sichuan style pickles from my mother-in-law who has been doing it for decades. So I am proud to say I learned from the best. O(∩_∩)O~
Sichuan style pickling is a complicate and delicate process. I am not going to talk too much about it here. The basic way is boil a large pot of water; let it cool down; add salt, along with high alcohol content rice wine (40% or higher), chili peppers, Sichuan peppercorns, ginger, garlic and a bun of other spices. Add 1/4 head cabbage or daikon as a starter. In a week, the pickle juice should start to become sour but with a pleasant fragrance from vegetable fermentation.
The best way to make Sichuan style pickles from scratch is to get some old pickle juice from a good old pickle jar. It is the best way to achieve deep rich and delicate pickle flavor in a short time.
Every family treats their pickle jar well with respect because the jar provides not only pickled vegetables but also a taste of home. It is alive with soul if you treat it well.
The most common pickled vegetables are cabbage, daikon, string beans, young gingers and peppers. Freshly string beans are very rare in Michigan where I live. It seems like they are only available in Asian grocery store from time to time. But most of time they are not so fresh. So can you imagine how excited I was when I spotted some lovely freshly string beans last time I went grocery shopping in Detroit area?
I stir fried half of the string beans and made pickles with the other half.
Rinse the string bean well. Air-dry them on a clean rack.
Wrap every four string beans with another one. So there are five string beans in each bunch. It is just for the convenience to get them in and out of the pickle jar. You don’t have to twist them the same way as I do. It has nothing to do with flavors.
Add to the pickle jar. Wait for about 10 days until they all turn slightly deep yellow color.
You can eat them right out of the pickle jar. It is already very tasty.
I just love to stir fry them with ground pork. The fat from pork adds tons of flavors to the beans.
5 to 6 bunches of Sichuan style pickled string beans (they are also available in Chinese grocery store if you don’t have any homemade ones)
1 pound ground pork
10 pickled chili peppers
6 to 8 dried chili pepper (I use them for flavors. Skip if you are not into spicy food)
2 gloves of garlic
1 small piece of pickled ginger
1 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns
2 to 3 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 to 1 teaspoon sugar
a pinch of freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon rice cooking wine
salt to taste
2 to 4 tablespoons cooking oil
Finely chop the pickled string beans. If you really want to try this recipe but don’t want to make any pickled vegetable at home, you can always buy the ready to eat version pickles from an Asian grocery store.
Chop the pickled chili peppers too.
Peel and thinly slice the garlic and pickled ginger. With a pair of scissors, finely cut the dried chili peppers.
Heat a wok over high heat. Add oil, garlic slices, Sichuan peppercorns, ginger, dried chili peppers and pickled chili peppers. Stir fry for a couple minutes. Add ground pork. Stir fry over high heat until the ground pork turns slightly golden brown. Add freshly ground black pepper and rice cooking wine. Stir fry for another couple minutes.
Add chopped string beans, along with sugar, salt and soy sauce to taste.
Stir fry over high heat for another 2 to 3 minutes.
Remove from heat and serve immediately.
My husband is very excited and happy with this dish because I bring back the familiar taste of his hometown for him, which makes me happy too! O(∩_∩)O~
The dish goes well with cooked rice, porridge or rice wine!