Traditional Sichuan Pickling Method (Fermentation)


I love a vibrant colourful side dish of tangy Sichuan style pickles on my dinner table. To make good pickles, a good fermentation jar is needed. It’s hard to source in Australia so if anyone who ever needed any assitance in sourcing it, please contact me.

My first jar is a small 16cm x 20cm porcelain jar from 2nd hand eBay antique seller. The jar consists of the body, a lid and a reverted bowl. What’s so special about this jar? It has a water groove that allows the water to act as insulant to block oxygen yet to allow the air to crawl out during the fermentation process.

Natural lactic acid is then created. It’s the most healthy way to have your fibre, yummy pickles and probiotics in one go.

With the final production (see Pic#1, I rince it slightly with water as it’s a bit salty for my liking, then add a bit of sugar and drizzle some chilli oil to serve). The vegetable is nicely crunchy with a hint of aroma from the spices.

What you need (based on 1 L of water):

Sea salt                       50 g
Sugar (brown or rock)    40 g
Cool Water (boiled)        1 L
Garlic  (de-skinned)    5 cloves
Dried Chilli                  15 g
Dried Szechuan Peppercorn      1g
Star Anise (optional, or cinnamon quill)    1 ~ 2
Young Ginger               60 g    
High potency white wine (>20%)    10g e.g. Rice Wine, Sake, Gao Liang, Vodka

Chinese Raddish (Daikon)
Napa Cabbage (Won Bak)
Long Bean
Mexican turnip (Achar / Kengkuong)
Beetroot (would dye the pot red though)
…. Just to name a few

Prepare the pickle jar:
Sterilise the jar with boiled hot water, dry thoroughly.

1.    Boil the water and add salt; mix the solution thoroughly and let it cool down.  
2.    Pack all ingredients into the jar then add the saline solution, alcohol and the rest in. Submerge everything under the solution (point 1) entirely.
3.    Put the lid on and insulate the jar by adding water into the groove.
4.    Pickles will be ready in 10 days.
5.    New vegetables can be added on, with more salt and more wine.
6.    Add more salt, if it’s too acidic; add more water with a dash of sugar if it’s too salty.
7.    The pickling period will be less and less as the Mother Juice has been brewed over time.  (full of probiotics)

* Never throw away the Base Pickling Solution.

* Use a separate utensil to handle the pickling. NO OIL can ever come near the entire process.

1.    keep the jar in a cool place (<30 degree)
2.    Ration for Water : Salt = 1 Cup : 1 T
3.    If the water’s contaminated and forms white layer on top of the water, give a few drop of wine and air it for 10 minutes.
4.    Use a separate set of utensil, any sign of oil into the jar would cause contamination.
5.    All vegetables need to be dried properly before serving the jar.
6.    Use boiled or filtered water.
7.    Most importantly, the Base Pickling Solution is sacred (full of probiotics) and should be kept a portion at least to pass on.
8.    Watery vegetables (e.g. cucumber, daikon) takes shorter time to yield and can easily contaminate the jar, preferably use a separate jar.

** To achieve nicer and crunchier pickled chillie, avoid adding ginger. (Ginger makes the chilli soft).


Extra Reference:





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