I received Karen’s fabulous book last year when it came out not long after HGGK book and in the bustle of my tour, I didn’t dive in right away. When I discovered it on my shelf in the fall, I was delighted at the trove of pickle know-how my friend packed into this book!
From authentic Korean kimchi, Indian chutney, and Japanese tsukemono to innovative combinations ranging from mild to delightfully spicy, the time-honored traditions of Asian pickling are made simple and accessible in this DIY guide.
The book is divided by country and focuses on the unique pickled fare of Japan, Korea, China, India and Southeast Asia. Think of all the delicious condiments and pickles you’ve eaten in restaurants of these cuisines; Karen is empowering you to learn to make them!
Asian Pickles introduces the unique ingredients and techniques used in Asian pickle-making, including a vast array of quick pickles for the novice pickler, and numerous techniques that take more adventurous cooks beyond the basic brine. With fail-proof instructions, a selection of helpful resources, and more than seventy-five of the most sought-after pickle recipes from the East—Korean Whole Leaf Cabbage Kimchi, Japanese Umeboshi, Chinese Preserved Vegetable, Indian Coconut-Cilantro Chutney, Vietnamese Daikon and Carrot Pickle, and more—Asian Pickles is your passport to explore this region’s preserving possibilities.
I particularly enjoyed the introductions to each country and the history, background and the ‘when and how to serve’ sections associated with these amazing pickled foods.
Karen has shared a recipe from the book for stuffed cucumber kimchi that I’m so excited to make with the next cucumber that shows up at my farmers market!
Photo above and excerpt shared with permission from the author and 10 Speed press
Kimchi is often synonymous with cabbage, but really it’s any kind of salted and preserved vegetable (or fruit, or seafood) on the Korean table. The humble cucumber, the iconic vegetable of pickling in many minds, does a new trick in this pickle. Stuff it, cucumbers!
Stuffed Cucumber Kimchi Recipe (Oi-sobagi Kimchi)
Time: about 1½ hours
- 3 pounds English hothouse cucumbers or thin-skinned salad cucumbers on the slim side (not pickling cucumbers)
- 2 tablespoons fine sea salt
- 1 medium carrot, peeled and trimmed
- 2 green onions, roots and tough tops trimmed and outer leaves removed
- 9 cloves garlic
- 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
- ¾ cup Korean chile flakes
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- ½ ounce dried shrimp, optional
Wash the cucumbers and trim and discard the ends. Cut the cucumbers into fourteen 2-inch sections. Stand each piece upright on a work surface and cut an X shape halfway (1 inch) down into each piece, leaving the bottom inch intact. Stand the cukes up in a shallow dish and sprinkle the salt on their bottoms and tops and down into the X cut. Let them sit upright for 1 hour to leach out some of their juice.
Meanwhile, prepare the filling. Dice the carrot and the green onion. You can do this by hand, or by cutting them into chunks and pulsing about 20 times in a food processor. Transfer to a small mixing bowl.
In the work bowl of a food processor, combine the garlic, ginger, chile flakes, fish sauce, sugar, and dried shrimp. Puree into a paste, pausing to scrape down solids from the sides. This should take about a minute or so. Once smooth, fold the paste into the carrots and the onion.
Drain any liquid that has pooled in the bottom of the cucumber dish, and lightly pat the cucumbers dry with a paper towel or kitchen cloth. Stuff about 2 to 3 teaspoons of the filling into each cucumber, working to get as much into the center as possible, and mounding a dollop on top.
These pickles are ready to eat immediately, or they can be served at room temperature for about 12 hours. Unused portions should be refrigerated and eaten within 3 days.
Karen’s publisher, 10 Speed Press, is generously offering up a copy of the book to one lucky winner and since it makes a wonderful gift set, I’m throwing in one of my new kimchi postcard sets to complete the present (no shame if this present is for you!)
Please note that 10 Speed Press has asked us to keep entries to US Residents only. Thank you and good luck!
Disclosures: I received a copy of this book at no cost to me and the winner will receive a copy directly from 10 Speed Press. My opinions about the book are not influenced by this arrangement. There are a couple links to the book above that mean Amazon will deposit a fraction of the proceeds from the sale into my bank account, which helps me continue to run the site and post new recipes and projects. You are welcome to buy the book in any way that makes you happy!