Citizens, Chinese pickles have a very long history, dating back thousands of years, including these from the Cantonese part of the country!
In the 1970s, a two-thousand-year tomb was found in which a woman was buried with her kitchen. The tomb contains various ingredients, including cooking instructions for pickles and pickles aplenty in crocks.
In the book written during the Wei dynasty(386-524), QiMingYaoShu(齐民要术) systematically introduced the way of making pickles at that time.
Chinese pickles have a long history that dates back to 1100 B.C.E., during the Zhou dynasty. The word “pickle”, “tsu (‘zi’ in Pinyin)” in Chinese, means “salt and incubate”. The pickled vegetables and fruit we refer to today date in practice back to the sixth century B.C.E.
Ancient people pickled mainly to preserve their vegetables and fruit because pickling preserves food far past the natural date of expiration. Foods would often be pickled during the harvest season for consumption during later parts of the year. Cantonese Chinese pickles all need to balance the flavors of sweet, sour, pungent, salt, bitter and savory.
For this recipe, these delicious and crunchy pickled vegetables grace the tables of many of the finest Cantonese restaurants, offered gratis to stimulate the appetite and complement the subtle flavors of Cantonese cuisine.
They also happen to be very easy to make – my version is sweet, spicy and with a bit of numbing heat thanks to a small detour to Sichuan province with the optional inclusion of Sichuan peppercorns (my favorite brand may be bought here). Feel free to omit them if you prefer the classic recipe. 🙂 This would be a delicious start to a Cantonese feast, perhaps with this delicious pork stew as a main course! I promise you will love these, Citizens!
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