When I was growing up, Mum used to buy Chinese pickles in Chinatown that gave instant depth and character to dishes. But these days I like to make my own – they are easy and fun to make, and enhance dishes instantly. Add these pickles to other dishes or serve alongside any meal as a condiment.
3 carrots (about 300g in total)
1 tbsp salt flakes
5cm x 2cm knob (20g) ginger, thickly sliced
1 whole star anise
¼ tsp Sichuan peppercorns
1 litre (4 cups) white vinegar
295g (1⅓ cups) white sugar
1. To make the pickling liquid, combine vinegar and sugar in a heavy-based saucepan and stir over high heat until sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook, uncovered and without stirring, for about 30 minutes or until reduced by one-third and slightly syrupy. Set aside to cool, then refrigerate overnight.
2. Meanwhile, peel each carrot and cut in half crossways. Cut each piece into slices two millimetres thick, then into matchsticks. Place in a bowl, sprinkle with salt and mix well to combine. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
3. The next day, drain the liquid from the carrots, squeezing well with your hands. Place carrots in a 1 litre capacity airtight jar or container, pour pickling liquid over to cover, add ginger, star anise and peppercorns. Refrigerate for one day to allow flavours to develop before using. The pickled carrot will keep for up to two weeks in the fridge.
These carrots and their pickling liquid feature in my egg noodle salad (recipe here).