This method of fermentation has been used for centuries. You can use it with any vegetable and it will keep for months — but I prefer the pickle fairly fresh, at about 4-6 days old. I have loosely based this recipe on the Nepalese version; try it in a vegie burger with some grilled eggplant (aubergine) and haloumi cheese.
Makes: 2 x 500 ml (17 fl oz/2 cup) jars
Preparation: 15 minutes + 1 hour salting + 4-6 days fermenting
- 450 g (1 lb) bok choy (pak choy), washed thoroughly and chopped
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
- 1 tablespoon coarse sea salt fresh or dried hot chillies, to taste
- Combine all the ingredients in a crockpot or food-grade bucket, making sure the salt is distributed evenly.
- Press the mixture down with your fist, then set aside for 1 hour, or until the salt has drawn out enough moisture to submerge the vegies in the brine.
- If not enough moisture is drawn out, add enough water to almost cover the vegies.
- Cover the mixture with a non-metallic plate. Place some tins of food on top of the plate, to press the mixture down, ensuring no metal comes in contact with it.
- Cover the crock or bucket with a clean T-shirt or cloth, then tie some kitchen string around the fabric to secure it in place.
- Press the mixture down once a day, and check the flavor every day until it tastes sour enough to you; for me this is usually 4-6 days.
- At this point, transfer the mixture to sterilised glass jars, seal and refrigerate. The vegies will keep in the fridge for up to 2 months.
Tip: Instead of bok choy, you can also try fermenting vegetables such as cabbage, radish, daikon, kohl rabi and leafy Asian greens.
Also from Lands of the Curry Leaf:
- Weralu Achcharu (Olive Pickles) Recipe
- Mesu (Fermented Bamboo Shoots) Recipe
- Gundruk (Spicy Fermented Vegetables) Recipe
Reprinted with permission from Lands of the Curry Leaf: A Vegetarian Food Journey from Sri Lanka to Nepal by Peter Kuruvita and published by Murdoch Books, 2019.