Pickled Chilis

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Pickled Chilis summary: pickled chilis based on a recipe in “Beyond the Great Wall” by Naomi Duguid and Jeffrey Alford; magnetic poetry isn’t just for the spring;

Please remember to play your turn of Magnetic Poetry!

Red Chilis All this fall, we haven’t been able to stop ourselves from grabbing a pair of scissors, walking out to the lane (we NEVER run with scissors; of course we don’t!) and stepping carefully over the neighbours’ carrot and beet beds, slipping through their back gate to grab just a few more of the really beautiful, red hot chiles growing in two pots there. Of course, there are other wonderful vegetables beckoning to us: tomatoes, butternut squashes, sweet peppers, mouse melons. But we avert our eyes. We have NOT been specifically invited to help ourselves to anything but the devilishly hot chilis.

We have put these beautiful red chilis into omelettes, sauce for ice cream, refried beans and pasta sauce.

Pickled Chilis But we were really excited to see the following in “Beyond the Great Wall” by Naomi Duguid and Jeffrey Alford:

Pickling is an age-old way of storing seasonally available ingredients; it’s also a way of lengthening the time you can keep any fresh ingredient successfully. Pickled chiles are a staple in many places beyond the Great Wall, as well as in parts of central china. They are, we’ve discovered, very handy and easy to have on hand. Over times, the heat of the chiles becomes a little muted, and the balance of flavors shifts toward slightly sweet, but the chiles keep their bright color and some texture too. You can use them in place of fresh chiles when stir-frying […] or put them out as a table condiment
– Naomi Duguid and Jeffrey Alford, “condiments & seasonings”, Beyond the Great Wall, p34

We often buy Lebanese pickled chiles. The jars are often party coloured, full of chilis of varying shades of yellow, green, yellow, orange and red.

Surely, our own pickled chilis would be better! Grabbing the scissors we walke quickly (never, ever run with scissors!) over to J and M-E’s garden and grabbed a handful of hot hot hot red peppers from their two beautiful potted “cayenne” chili plants.

Here’s what we did to make wonderful pickled (though very very hot) peppers:

Pickled Chilis
based on the recipe for pickled red chiles in “Beyond the Great Wall” by Naomi Duguid and Jeffrey Alford


  • several fresh red chilies (we used some labelled “cayenne” but they’re hotter than any cayennes we’ve ever had; they are closer in flavour to Piri Piris)
  • 1 c rice vinegar
  • good shot of Kosher salt
  • some (not too many) Szechuan peppercorns
  • some fennel seeds


  • sharp knife
  • pot
  • sterilized jar and lid
  1. Wash the chilies well. Cut the stems off and slice each chili into half inch pieces.
  2. Heat vinegar in a small pot. Add salt and stir until it dissolves. Add Szechuan peppercorns and fennel seeds. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down to simmer for half a minute. Remove from heat and allow to cool to lukewarm.
  3. Stuff the chilies into a sterilized jar. Push down gently to compact them. Slowly pour vinegar and spices over the chillies, filling to the top of the jar. Put the lid on and place the jar in a sunny spot for 2 days (we put it on the windowsill), then refrigerate. Duguid and Alford say that it keeps for up to 3 months.

Pickled Chilis

hot hot hot

Beyond Great Wall - Cover Beyond the Great Wall: recipes and travels in the other China
by Naomi Duguid and Jeffrey Alford

This lovely book, published in 2008, like the other cookbooks written by Duguid and Alford, is full of the most wonderful recipes and images – including stunningly beautiful photos taken by one or the other when they were on their travels in China. They reveal just how diverse a country China is.

The book is available both in hard cover and e-book form. Usually – especially for cookbooks – I advocate getting the hard cover. But the advantage to the e-book is that some of the really gorgeous non-food photos are large enough to be able to see. A magnifying glass is in order for the hardcover….

For more than twenty-five years, both separately and together, Duguid and Alford have journeyed all over the outlying regions of China, sampling local home cooking and street food, making friends and taking lustrous photographs. Beyond the Great Wall shares the experience in a rich mosaic of recipes—from Central Asian cumin-scented kebabs and flatbreads to Tibetan stews and Mongolian hot pots—photos, and stories. A must-have for every food lover, and an inspiration for cooks and armchair travelers alike.
Goodreads | Beyond the Great Wall

Magnetic Poetry

magnetic poetry I was tidying my desk and came across the magnetic poetry box. How on earth could we have forgotten to play magnetic poetry?! It’s the ultimate in contrived writing. That’s right. J’adore magnetic poetry!

As I’m sure everyone knows, April is National Poetry Month, and November is National Novel Writing Month. Both are simply awesome. So I am officially combining both ideas and announcing that April is herefore Refrigerator Poetry Writing Month.
-Rhino Writer, RePoWriMo, RePoWha?, Thursday, March 6, 2008

I don’t care that it’s October and months away from April and Poetry Month. Surely, every month is Poetry Month!

Here’s how to play: Choose twenty tiles randomly and then everyone creates poems using the same words. (We always hide our final poems until everyone creates their poem(s).) Make as many poems as you like with the tiles. The only rule is that each tile can only be used once.

We have the French version of Magnetic Poetry but I much prefer using our English tiles. Don’t you?

So. Want to play? I hope so. I hope so!

Here are your tiles (in alphabetical order):

[about] [above] [are] [chocolate] [did] [dream] [ing] [moment] [on] [on] [out] [over] [shadow] [smooth] [sordid] [summer] [the] [they] [tiny] [want]


Of course you will want to compose your poem(s) before seeing what I did with these tiles. Here is my poem from the above words.



This entry was posted in food & drink, posts with recipes, RePoWriMo, side, spicy, vegetables, vegetarian on by . Pickled Chilis

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3 responses to “Pickled Chilis

  1. Patricia

    I love Magnetic Poetry! Here’s mine:

    [they] [did] [dream][ing]
             [over] [tiny]
    [on] [the] [smooth] [summer] [shadow]

  2. Barbara M

    [summer] [moment]
      [chocolate] [over][shadow][ing] [the] [dream]

    This was a tough one. I wanted more “the”s …

    edit: Oooh, very good, Barbara! I wish I’d thought of “overshadowing”! -Elizabeth


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