Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers;
A peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked;
If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers,
Where’s the peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked?
(from ‘Peter Piper’s Practical Principles of Plain and Perfect Pronunciation’ (1813) by John Harris)
A few weeks ago, we were looking through our cookbooks to see if any of them had ideas for what to do to make a vegetable dish Asian-style. As I was going through the index of Barbara Tropp’s “China Moon Cookbook”, it suddenly occurred to me that we hadn’t really made many things from the book. If any at all.
But it looked like a great book! And intriguing too – written by an opinionated New York Jewish woman. Of course she’s opinionated! Aren’t we all?
We started reading the book. And loved what we were reading.
We immediately started making things from it. And loved what we were eating. And kicked ourselves for waiting so long to delve into this beautiful cookbook.
Thank you again, B, for a lovely Christmas present (for Christmas 2000!!!) We’re so happy we have finally paid proper attention to it.
When we got to the recipe for “Pickled Red Cherry Peppers”, we realized that our search for decent pickled peppers was probably over.
Nuts and pickles are the cheerful accessories of the world of good eating, at least as defined by me! […] The flavors of chili and garlic tantalize the palate and pique the appetite for what lies ahead. […] In the world of Chinese cooking, this is the necessary yin and yang — those counterpoints of taste, color, and texture that make a meal sing. [Nuts, Pickles, and Nibbles, p.42,43
Red cherry peppers are a small sweet pepper about the size and shape of a fat child’s thumb. They are wonderful when pickled […] Red bell pepper squares could also be pickled in this fashion, and if you are a glutton for fire, you could try small spicy peppers as well. [Pickled Red Cherry Peppers, p.56]
– Barbara Tropp, China Moon Cookbook
We like to put pickled peppers on our burgers. For some unknown reason, our supermarket has stopped carrying the Lebanese pickled hot peppers we like. As far as I know, the brand still exists. But our store is just not carrying the pickled hot peppers any more. (Somebody must have done a demographic study and decided that our neighbourhood doesn’t want hot pickled peppers. )
We compromised by getting a jar of the President’s pickled hot peppers. They are quite disappointing. The peppers aren’t even remotely hot.
Still, I have to admit that they were edible; we finally finished the jar. We then replaced them with another brand of what turned out to be really inferior pickled peppers claiming to be hot. In fact, the first item on the ingredient lists is “hot peppers”.
But the second ingredient is “vegetable oil”. Vegetable oil? Since when do pickled peppers have oil in them? Sure, Mr. Patak’s Indian pickles do contain oil; they also have a lot of flavour. Alas, these particular pickled peppers are flavour free.
So. Yes!! How could we not make China Moon pickled peppers, or at least a relatively close facsimile? We knew what peppers we were going to use: our neighbour Jim’s insanely hot Cayenne(??) peppers that he grows just for us!
This summer, there is a bumper crop of Jim’s chillis. I’m not sure we’ll get a peck of them, but there are already a lot. And these are just the beginning!
I think they are even hotter this year too.
The pickles look beautiful, don’t they? Along with Jim’s chilis, we added coriander seed and garlic from OUR garden.
And they are so good.
Hot, though. Really hot….
Hmmm, what are we going to do with the largely unfinished jar of inferior oily pickled peppers?
These pickled peppers aren’t just for Chinese food or for putting on burgers! They’re also great on grilled rosemary chicken with pilau. We garnished it with carrot greens (yes, you CAN eat carrot greens!), mint, nasturtium, and pickled hot pepper. Coté de Roses Rosé went perfectly with this fabulous dinner.
Edit 25 August 2021: Oooops!!! Did I say that we pickled Jim’s chillis? No no no. It was some beautiful long peppers that we got in China Town when our eyes were bigger than our stomachs and thought we were going to make twice the amount of new Sambal Oelek than would fit in the fridge.
… Jim’s chillis are smaller (and hotter) than these chillis.
We just cut one of Jim’s chillis into coins to put into Laksa Mi for breakfast this morning. Wheeeeee!! There’s nothing like tearing up at 9:00am!
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» Delving into the Archives: Indonesian Potatoes with Chili Sauce
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» palak paneer and pickled carrots
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» Chili Paste Revisited (JFI: Ginger)
» chili paste! (EoMEoTE#14)