I'm not sure how many of you will get into a pickle salad, but I'm just throwing this out there. I love a good brine, be it quick, fermented, salty, or sweet. The tangy bite of pickle juice can transform almost any mediocre plant material into something special. Bok choy, for instance, has a kind of inherent skunkiness. In fact, all cabbages do. Bok choy's skunk factor is low on the cabbage-meter, but even so, it can make the vegetable unnapealing to some. Personally, I could put bok choy on my Wheaties, but then, I am kind of a weirdo.
Having several picky eaters in my household, I am always looking for ways to de-veg my veggies. While I was prepping a meal of yaki onigiri one evening I decided to take the side salad in a slightly crazy direction. These sorts of experiments don't always end well. Many a recipe idea has resulted in disgruntled chewing and tossing of leftovers. This salad, however, was not one of them. This salad made my heart sing. This salad reminded me fondly of banh mi sandwiches and Korean barbecues.
This salad kicked ass.
Quick Pickled Bok Choy Salad
- 1 bunch bok choy, sliced
- 1 cup carrots, cut into sticks
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 tablespoons sugar (palm sugar is best, but white will do)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon mirin (or sake, or extra rice vinegar)
- 1 small cinnamon stick
- 1 anise pod
Prep veggies and set them aside in a heat-proof bowl. Combine the sugar, salt, vinegar, mirin, and spices in a small sauce pan. Whisk the ingredients together, then bring to a boil. Allow the brine to simmer for about ten minutes, then pour it over the veggies. Toss the veggies in the brine. They can be served immediately, or chilled to be enjoyed cold later. They won't taste great the next day, so go ahead and eat them all up.
This salad makes a great side for sushi, onigiri, noodles, or even barbecue.