These pickles are the perfect accompaniment to a spicy Malaysian meal, especially meat dishes. In this recipe the vegetables are just scalded in the vinegar mixture so they retain their integrity.
- ¼ small white cabbage, core removed
- 1 carrot
- 250 g green beans
- ¼ small cauliflower, trimmed
- 4 Lebanese cucumbers
- 150 g raw peanuts, toasted
- 660 ml white vinegar
- 275 g (1¼ cups) white sugar
- 250 ml (1 cup) vegetable oil
- 225 g canned pineapple pieces, drained
- 75 g (½ cup) white sesame seeds, toasted
- 40 g (1 cup firmly packed) dried red chillies
- 1 large lemongrass stalk, white part only, finely chopped
- 3 long red chillies, chopped
- 5 garlic cloves, chopped
- 4 candlenuts (see Note)
- 2 red onions, chopped
- 2 tbsp ground turmeric
- 1 tbsp ground galangal (see Note)
- 35 g (⅓ cup) ground coriander
- vegetable oil (optional)
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Soaking time 10 minutes
Standing time 4 hours
Preheat oven to 160°C. To prepare vegetables, cut cabbage and carrot into thick strips. Cut beans into 2 cm lengths and cauliflower into small florets. Halve cucumbers lengthwise, then scoop out seeds. Cut lengthwise twice again into eighths, then cut into 2 cm pieces. Wrap cucumbers in a tea towel and squeeze to remove as much moisture as possible. Spread each vegetable, keeping them separate, over 2 oven trays and place in oven. Turn off oven and leave vegetables to dry for 40 minutes.
Meanwhile, process peanuts in a food processor until finely crushed. Remove and set aside.
To make spice paste, soak dried chillies in hot water for 10 minutes or until soft, then drain. Process softened chillies, lemongrass, fresh chillies, garlic, candlenuts, onions and ground spices in a food processor to a smooth paste, adding a little oil if mixture is too dry.
Place 600 ml vinegar and 800 ml water in a stockpot. Add 55 g (¼ cup) sugar and 3 tsp salt, then bring to the boil. Working in batches, briefly plunge each vegetable separately in the vinegar mixture, then remove with a slotted spoon, returning mixture to the boil after each batch. Set the vegetables aside and discard vinegar mixture.
Heat oil in a wok over medium heat. Stir in spice paste and stir-fry for 3 minutes or until fragrant and paste starts to stick to wok. Add remaining 220 g (1 cup) sugar and 2 tsp salt, then stir-fry for 1 minute or until dark red and thick. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. Add remaining 60 ml vinegar and stir well to combine, then add blanched vegetables, pineapple, peanuts and sesame seeds, and stir well to combine. Cover and stand for 4 hours, then serve as an accompaniment with other dishes. The pickles will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
• Candlenuts, from Asian food shops, are used as thickeners. Substitute macadamia nuts.
• Ground galangal is available from selected greengrocers, spice shops and Asian food shops.
As seen in Feast magazine, Feb 2012, Issue 6. For more recipes and articles, pick up a copy of this month's Feast magazine or check out our great subscriptions offers here.
Photography by Anson Smart.