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Chinese Pickled Radish Recipe: A Tangy and Crunchy Side Dish

If you are looking for a simple and delicious dish to make at home, Chinese pickled radish is a great option. This tangy and crunchy snack is perfect for adding a burst of flavour to salads, sandwiches, and more. Plus, it's easy to make with just a few ingredients.

A bowl of shredded radish mixed with salt, sugar, and vinegar. A pair of chopsticks stir the mixture in a ceramic jar

To start, you'll need to select the right ingredients. Look for fresh, firm radishes with a bright pink colour. You'll also need garlic, ginger, vinegar, and sugar to create the pickling brine. Once you have everything you need, you can start preparing the radish by washing and slicing it into thin rounds or sticks.

Next, it's time to create the pickling brine. Combine vinegar, sugar, garlic, and ginger in a saucepan and heat until the sugar has dissolved. Then, pour the brine over the sliced radish in a jar or container. Let it sit at room temperature for a few hours before transferring it to the fridge to pickle for a few days. Once it's ready, you can enjoy your homemade Chinese pickled radish with a variety of dishes.

Key Takeaways

  • Chinese pickled radish is a simple and delicious dish that you can easily make at home.
  • To prepare it, select fresh radishes and create a pickling brine with vinegar, sugar, garlic, and ginger.
  • Once pickled, Chinese pickled radish can be used to add a burst of flavour to salads, sandwiches, and more.

Selecting the Right Ingredients

A hand reaches for fresh radishes, ginger, and garlic. A jar of rice vinegar and a bowl of sugar sit on the counter

If you want to make a delicious and authentic Chinese pickled radish recipe, then you need to choose the right ingredients. Here are some tips to help you select the best ingredients for your recipe.

Choosing the Best Radishes

The first step is to choose the right type of radish. In Chinese cuisine, the most commonly used radish is the Daikon, also known as white radish or Chinese radish. This variety of radish has a mild and slightly sweet flavour, making it perfect for pickling.

When selecting Daikon radishes, look for ones that are firm and heavy for their size. Avoid radishes that are soft, wrinkled or have blemishes. The skin should be smooth and free of cracks or spots.

Essential Pickling Ingredients

The essential ingredients for pickling radishes are vinegar, salt, sugar, and water. Rice vinegar is the most commonly used vinegar in Chinese pickling recipes. It has a mild and slightly sweet flavour that complements the radish's natural taste.

Salt is used to draw out the moisture from the radish and preserve it. Use high-quality sea salt or kosher salt for best results.

Sugar is added to balance the sourness of the vinegar and add a touch of sweetness to the pickled radish. You can use white or brown sugar, depending on your preference.

Water is used to dilute the vinegar and sugar mixture and to cover the radishes. Use filtered water for best results.

Selecting the right ingredients is essential for making a delicious and authentic Chinese pickled radish recipe. Choose the freshest and highest quality ingredients for best results.

Preparing the Radish

A bowl of sliced radishes, vinegar, sugar, and salt on a kitchen counter, with a spoon and a glass jar nearby

Before making Chinese pickled radish, you need to prepare the radish properly. Here are the steps to follow:

Cleaning and Peeling

Start by washing the radish thoroughly under cold running water. Make sure to scrub the skin well to remove any dirt or debris. If the skin is tough or has blemishes, you may want to peel it off using a vegetable peeler.

Cutting Techniques

Once the radish is clean and peeled (if desired), you can start cutting it into thin slices. The most common way to cut radish for pickling is to slice it into thin rounds. You can also use a mandoline to get even thinner slices.

It's important to slice the radish thinly so that it can absorb the pickling liquid properly. If the slices are too thick, the pickling process may take longer, and the radish may not pick up as much flavour.

Fresh daikon is the most commonly used type of radish for Chinese pickled radish. It has a mild flavour and a crisp texture that works well with the pickling liquid. However, you can also use other types of radish if you prefer.

Cleaning and peeling the radish is the first step in preparing it for pickling. Once the radish is clean, you can slice it into thin rounds or use a mandoline for even thinner slices. Remember to use fresh daikon for the best results.

Creating the Pickling Brine

A large pot simmers on the stove, filled with a fragrant mixture of vinegar, sugar, and spices. Nearby, a pile of fresh radishes awaits their transformation into tangy pickled delights

When it comes to creating the perfect pickling brine for your Chinese pickled radish, it's all about balancing flavours. You want to achieve a blend of sweet, spicy, and tangy that will complement the natural flavour of the radish. To do this, you need to pay close attention to the quantities of sugar, salt, vinegar, and water that you use.

Balancing Flavours

To create a pickling brine that is perfectly balanced in flavour, you need to start with the right quantities of sugar, salt, vinegar, and water. A good rule of thumb is to use equal parts sugar and vinegar, and half as much salt as sugar. For example, if you use 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of vinegar, you should use half a cup of salt. You can adjust these quantities to suit your taste, but be careful not to overdo it with the sugar or salt, as this can overpower the flavour of the radish.

Spices and Seasoning

To give your pickling brine an extra kick of flavour, you can add spices and seasoning. Ginger and garlic are popular choices, as they add a subtle warmth to the brine. You can also add chilli flakes or Sichuan peppercorn for a spicy kick. Be careful not to overdo it with the spices, as you don't want them to overpower the flavour of the radish.

Here's a simple recipe for a pickling brine that will give you perfectly pickled Chinese radish every time:

Ingredient Quantity
Rice vinegar 3/4 cup
Sugar 3/4 cup
Water 1/4 cup
Salt 2 tsp
Garlic, smashed 1 clove
Ginger, sliced 2 slices
  1. In a large measuring cup or heatproof bowl, combine the sugar, salt, garlic, and ginger.
  2. Add the hot water and stir until the sugar and salt have dissolved.
  3. Add the rice vinegar and stir to combine.
  4. Allow the pickling brine to cool to room temperature before using it to pickle your radishes.

With this pickling brine, you'll be able to create perfectly pickled Chinese radish every time. The brine is sweet, spicy, and tangy, with just the right balance of flavours to complement the natural flavour of the radish.

Pickling and Storing Process

Radishes being sliced and mixed with salt and sugar. Placed in jars with vinegar and sealed for pickling. Stored in a cool, dark place for several days

Marinating the Radish

To pickle radishes, you will need to marinate them in a mixture of salt, sugar, vinegar, garlic, and ginger. First, wash the radishes and slice them into thin pieces. Then, mix the salt, sugar, vinegar, garlic, and ginger in a bowl. Add the radish slices to the mixture and stir well. Let the radishes marinate for at least 30 minutes, or up to 24 hours for a stronger flavour.

Sealing and Refrigeration

Once the radishes are marinated, transfer them to a sealable container. Make sure the container is clean and dry before adding the radishes. Press down on the radishes to remove any air pockets and ensure they are fully submerged in the marinade. Seal the container tightly and store it in the refrigerator.

The radishes will start to ferment in the refrigerator, which is what gives them their distinctive tangy flavour. You can taste the radishes after a few days to see if they are ready, but they will usually take at least a week to fully ferment. Once you are happy with the flavour, you can start using the pickled radishes in your recipes.

Remember to always use a clean spoon or chopstick when taking the radishes out of the container. This will help prevent contamination and ensure the radishes stay fresh for longer. You can store the pickled radishes in the refrigerator for up to several months, as long as they are kept in a sealed container.

Serving and Pairing Ideas

A bowl of tangy Chinese pickled radish sits next to a plate of steamed dumplings, with a pair of chopsticks resting on the side

Now that you know how to make Chinese pickled radish, it's time to explore some serving and pairing ideas. Pickled radish has a crunchy texture that makes it a versatile ingredient in many dishes. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Soups: Add pickled radish to your favourite soup for a refreshing crunch. It pairs well with clear broth soups and hot and sour soups.

  • Snacks: Pickled radish makes a great snack on its own. Serve it with some sliced cucumbers and carrots for a healthy and refreshing snack.

  • Hot Dogs: Add pickled radish to your hot dogs for a tangy and crunchy twist. It pairs well with spicy sausages and mustard.

  • Fried Chicken: Pickled radish is a great side dish for fried chicken. It helps cut through the richness of the chicken and adds a refreshing crunch.

  • Restaurants: Look out for pickled radish in Chinese and Korean restaurants. It is often served as a side dish or an appetizer.

  • Market: You can find pickled radish in most Asian markets. Look for it in the pickled vegetable section.

  • Refreshing: Pickled radish is a refreshing ingredient that pairs well with spicy and rich dishes. It is also a great palate cleanser.

Try out these serving and pairing ideas and let your creativity run wild. Pickled radish is a versatile ingredient that can be used in many different ways.

Frequently Asked Questions

A bowl of pickled radishes surrounded by ingredients and utensils, with a recipe book open to the "Frequently Asked Questions" page

What's the best way to make a Chinese-style pickled radish?

The best way to make Chinese-style pickled radish is to slice the radish thinly and mix with salt. Let it sit for about 30 minutes to remove excess water. Then, rinse the radish with water and mix with sugar, vinegar, and other seasonings such as garlic, ginger, and chili oil. Store the mixture in a jar and let it sit for a few days to allow the flavours to develop. You can find a detailed recipe for Chinese pickled radish here.

Can you suggest a simple recipe for Chinese pickled radish?

Sure! A simple recipe for Chinese pickled radish involves slicing the radish thinly and mixing with salt, sugar, and vinegar. You can also add garlic, ginger, and chili oil for extra flavour. You can find a step-by-step recipe here.

How do you include carrots in a Chinese pickled radish recipe?

To include carrots in a Chinese pickled radish recipe, simply slice the carrots thinly and mix them with the sliced radish. Follow the same pickling process as you would for radish. You can find a recipe that includes carrots here.

What are the health benefits of eating Chinese pickled radish?

Chinese pickled radish has several health benefits. It is a good source of dietary fiber, which helps to promote healthy digestion. It also contains antioxidants that help to protect the body against free radicals. Additionally, pickled radish is low in calories and fat, making it a healthy snack option.

How often is it safe to eat pickled radish?

Pickled radish is safe to eat in moderation. While it is a healthy snack option, it is high in sodium, so it's best to limit your intake. Eating pickled radish once or twice a week is generally safe.

What's the shelf life of homemade pickled radish in the refrigerator?

Homemade pickled radish can last for up to a month in the refrigerator. Make sure to store it in an airtight container to prevent spoilage. If you notice any signs of spoilage, such as mold or a foul odor, discard the pickled radish immediately.