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 evaporate. 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 by: Karen Mintzias
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|Serving Size: 1 Serving (1034g)|
|Recipe Makes: 1 Servings|
|Calories from Fat: 20 (11%)|
|Amt Per Serving||% DV|
|Total Fat 2.3g||3 %|
|Saturated Fat 0.7g||3 %|
|Monounsaturated Fat 0.7g|
|Polyunsanturated Fat 0.8g|
|Cholesterol 0mg||0 %|
|Sodium 59.2mg||2 %|
|Potassium 893.6mg||24 %|
|Total Carbohydrate 45.1g||13 %|
|Dietary Fiber 17.9g||71 %|
|Sugars, other 27.2g|
|Protein 7.5g||11 %|
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Calories per serving: 179
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