Sichuan pickled cucumber & black shiitake

Sichuan pickled cucumber & black shiitake

This is a classic pickle that is so easy to make. I assure you that once you taste it, you will always have some in the fridge, where, by the way, it should last for at least two weeks. It is the foundation of a few classic Rockpool salads and is great with cold cuts like white-cut chicken, barbecued pork and tea eggs. If you love pickles, you will probably


  • 7 small Lebanese (short) cucumbers, cut into quarters lengthways and deseeded
  • 65 g (2¹⁄³ oz/½ cup) sea salt
  • 250 ml (9 fl oz/1 cup) peanut oil
  • 1 tablespoon Sichuan peppercorns
  • 10 dried small red chillies
  • 100 g (3½ oz) sugar
  • 100 ml (3½ fl oz) rice vinegar
  • 2½ tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 1 large knob of ginger, peeled and cut into very fine julienne
  • 20 dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked in warm water for 30 minutes, stalks removed, finely sliced


Put the cucumber in a colander over a bowl, sprinkle with the sea salt and mix well. Leave to stand for 1 hour to draw out any excess moisture and then rinse well under cold running water and drain.

Heat a wok until smoking. Add the peanut oil and, when hot, add the peppercorns and chillies and cook until blackened.

Add the sugar, vinegar, soy sauce, ginger, mushrooms and finally, the cucumber. Stir for a minute or two. Pack into a 2 litre (8 cup) sterilised glass jar, allow to cool and then cover and leave for a day or two to mature before using.

NOTES: First published in Neil’s cookbook Balance & Harmony.