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Pickled Cucumbers with Sichuan Pepper and Chiles

  • TOTAL TIME: 30 MIN plus overnight pickling
  • SERVINGS: 1 quart
  • HEALTHY
  • MAKE-AHEAD
  • VEGETARIAN

These tangy pickled cucumbers from chef Erik Bruner-Yang have the perfect balance of tart (citrus juice and rice vinegar), spicy (chiles and Sichuan peppercorns) and sweet (honey). While Bruner-Yang uses yuzu juice, this streamlined, more-accessible home version calls for a combination of fresh lime and grapefruit juices.

  1. 1 1/2 pounds Kirby cucumbers—peeled in stripes, halved lengthwise, seeded and sliced crosswise 1/4 inch thick
  2. 1/2 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
  3. 1/4 cup white soy sauce (see Note)
  4. 3 tablespoons fresh grapefruit juice
  5. 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  6. 2 tablespoons honey
  7. 1 tablespoon sambal oelek
  8. 3 dried hot chiles, such as Chinese
  9. 2 whole cloves
  10. 1/2 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns
  11. 1 star anise pod
  12. 1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
  1. Fill a large heatproof jar with the cucumbers. Add the vinegar, white soy sauce, grapefruit juice, lime juice, honey, sambal oelek and 1 cup of water.
  2. In a skillet, toast the chiles, cloves, Sichuan peppercorns, star anise and coriander seeds over moderate heat until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the hot spices to the jar, cover and shake until evenly distributed. Refrigerate overnight before serving.
Notes Look for white soy sauce, a lighter-colored soy sauce, at Asian markets.