Zesty Asian-Style Cabbage Appetizer: A Restaurant Favorite

Craving that tangy crunch? Dive into our Asian-style cabbage appetizer, a luscious mix of sweet, sour, and crisp notes. Designed not just as a pickled delight but to awaken your palate before diving into the main dish.

Pickle in a Pinch!

If the idea of pickling sounds daunting, let’s put your mind at ease. This recipe is incredibly straightforward. These rapid-pickle veggies can stay fresh for a week or even two when refrigerated. Just remember to scale your batch as per your requirement.

A few pickling commandments to swear by:

  • Cleanliness is key! Ensure your containers, utensils, and even hands are free from oil or grime. Keep those veggies lasting longer by avoiding any cross-contamination.
  • Desire that crispy bite? Draw out the moisture from veggies before immersing them in the pickling mix. Here, we use salt to drive out excess water from the cabbage.
  • Given the reactive nature of salt and vinegar, always opt for glass or ceramic containers over metallic ones for your pickling adventure.

Now, while this formula offers a standard Asian pickled cabbage that many restaurants showcase, feel free to serve it as a zingy side dish. For those with an adventurous palate, toss in fresh Thai chilies, minced garlic, or even a mix of bay leaves and whole peppercorns.

Ready to dive in? Here’s the starter pack!


  • 2 pounds cabbage (900g), torn into substantial chunks
  • 2 carrots (roughly 6 ounces/170g), diced
  • ¼ cup of salt, with an additional ½ teaspoon kept aside
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1 cup of white vinegar (ensuring 5% acidity)
  • 3 garlic cloves (lightly crushed)
  • 2-3 vibrant chili peppers (optional for that added kick)

Let’s Get Pickling!

1. Begin by tearing the cabbage into generous pieces (around 3” x 3”) and remember they will condense post-pickling. Toss in the diced carrots and the ¼ cup of salt. Combine well. Place a weighty object atop, like a baking dish (or any other heavy item), and let it sit refrigerated for an hour. This method ensures the veggies remain crisp. Avoid over-marinating to prevent excessive saltiness.

2. In a separate pot, combine water and sugar (introduce optional ingredients like bay leaves and peppercorns now if you like). Upon boiling, cease the heat and stir in the vinegar along with the ½ teaspoon of salt. Allow this brine to cool thoroughly. Give it a taste test to ensure the balance of flavors and make adjustments if required. Always dip a fresh spoon for tasting!

3. After marination, rinse the cabbage and carrots multiple times to remove any excess salt. Drain well and gently press out additional moisture. Transfer the vegetables to a sterilized glass or ceramic container.

4. Introduce the crushed garlic and chili peppers to the mix. Drench the veggies in the cooled brine, ensuring they are completely submerged. Let it sit refrigerated for a day. Serve chilled or at ambient temperature. For any remaining portions, keep them immersed in the pickling liquid, ensuring hygienic handling.

Pro tip:

Pickled cabbage pairs exquisitely with grilled meats or can be enjoyed solo as a snack. It’s a refreshing way to introduce probiotics to your diet, enhancing gut health. Embrace this appetizer for its delightful taste and its nutritional punch! Enjoy!

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