Pickled Cucumbers with Sichuan Pepper and Chiles
- TOTAL TIME: 30 MIN plus overnight pickling
- SERVINGS: 1 quart
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 1/2 pounds Kirby cucumbers—peeled in stripes, halved lengthwise, seeded and sliced crosswise 1/4 inch thick
- 1/2 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
- 1/4 cup white soy sauce (see Note)
- 3 tablespoons fresh grapefruit juice
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 tablespoon sambal oelek
- 3 dried hot chiles, such as Chinese
- 2 whole cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns
- 1 star anise pod
- 1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
- 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.
- 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.