Joy of Cooking's Quick Sichuan-Style Cucumber Pickles


  • Makesabout 1 quart jar
Joy of Cooking's Quick Sichuan-Style Cucumber Pickles

Photo, Heidi’s Bridge.

The right balance of spicy and tart, these pickles make a great crunchy snack.


  • 1 lb. English or Persian cucumbers

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • 1 1/3 cup rice vinegar

  • 3 tbsp sugar

  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

  • 1-in. piece ginger, peeled and thinly sliced or julienned

  • 2 tsp salt

  • 1 1/2 tbsp vegetable oil

  • 1 1/2 tbsp toasted sesame oil

  • 1 1/2 tsps Sichuan peppercorn

  • 1 tsp mustard seed

  • 1 tsp white peppercorn, (optional)


  • These spicy pickles go especially well with pulled pork and other rich meats.

    1. Halve cucumbers lengthwise and cut diagonally into slices.

    2. Place the cucumber slices in a medium bowl and toss well with salt.

    3. Transfer to a colander in the sink and let drain for 1 hour. Meanwhile, add to the bowl: rice vinegar, sugar, garlic, ginger, salt. Stir until the salt and sugar have dissolved and set aside.

    4. Heat vegetable and sesame oils in a small skillet or saucepan over medium heat until hot. Add chiles, peppercorns, and mustard seeds and fry, stirring frequently, until the dried chiles are just beginning to darken, about 30 seconds.

    5. Carefully and quickly pour the oil and fried spices into the vinegar mixture.

    6. After the cucumbers have drained, rise well, drain again, and add to the brine. Let steep for a few hours, then serve or pack into a clean quart jar. Store refrigerated for up to 2 months.

Tip: For a milder pickle, halve the amounts of Sichuan peppercorns and dried chiles.