Pickle & Preserve

Lucky Pickle (Leek and watermelon radish)

January  7, 2013
3 Ratings
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

Welcome in the New Year---this year, 2013, will be The Year of the Snake in the Chinese lunar calendar--- with an easy and elegant pickle. There are only a handful of ingredients and the idea is that each should resemble coins for good luck and prosperity, so we combine a lovely watermelon radish with big, fat slices of leek. This is what has come to be known as a quick pickle. It can be used the same day. But I prefer it a day or two later. This makes a groovy ban shan companion side to Korean type foods such as kalbi, bulgogi, or a kimchi pork stew. —pierino

What You'll Need
  • 1 big fat leek (white part only)*
  • 1 or 2 watermelon radishes, about ½ pound in total weight
  • 1 good sized jalapeno pepper (a fatty)
  • 5 peeled garlic cloves (slightly crushed)
  • Just a few whole szechuan pepper corns; I would suggest 8 as that is a lucky number in China.
  • 1 teaspoon Sugar, brown or white
  • White vinegar
  1. Using a tool like a mandolin or else a very sharp knife, thinly slice your watermelon radish
  2. Slice the white parts of the leek somewhat thicker, reserving the green tops for something else*
  3. Slice the jalapeno pepper
  4. Mix the sugar and vinegar together
  5. In a GLASS container that you can tightly seal layer the radish and leek slices along with the jalapeno
  6. Add in the garlic and pepper corns and cover with vinegar. Seal the container and refrigerate until ready to use. Give it a shake or two now and then.
  7. *I like to save the leek tops to use for a bouquet garnie for stock. I picked this up from Thomas Keller. Fill the tops with parsley, bay leaves and so on and tight all up with kitchen string. We are multi-tasking that leek.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • TiggyBee
  • pierino
Standup commis flâneur, and food historian. Pierino's background is in Italian and Spanish cooking but of late he's focused on frozen desserts. He is now finishing his cookbook, MALAVIDA! Can it get worse? Yes, it can. Visit the Malavida Brass Knuckle cooking page at Facebook and your posts are welcome there.

3 Reviews

TiggyBee January 9, 2013
Oh pierino, you've done it again.
pierino January 9, 2013
Thank you TiggyBee. Lately I've been taking inspiration from Korean-American cooks I admire; David Chang, Roy Choi and Saang Yoon. These guys just knock me out. But I wanted to keep the pickle simple and watermelon radishes came along...
TiggyBee January 9, 2013
I just recently made my own kimchee with radishes and cabbage, but your recipe kicks ass.