Finding ways to make fresh, healthy food at home is one of my passions, and pickled onions are a staple we keep on hand at all times. My husband is a big onion fan and I’m a big pickle fan—so a batch of these spicy pickled onions goes quickly in our home. It only takes 5 minutes to make a batch of these colorful sweet/tart/spicy treats, so there’s no excuse not to try them—unless of course, you don’t like onions. If you are reading this, my guess is you do!
Spicy pickled onions make everything taste amazing. They add that extra bit of love to every meal. I use them on sandwiches, salads, tacos, and serve them alongside hamburgers and wraps. I’ve even put them in cocktails! It’s one of those homemade specialties that impresses every time, so don’t get caught without a jar in your fridge (how embarrassing!).
Pickled onions are probably the easiest of pickles to make. If you haven’t pickled before, this is the place to get started. I tend to make them as I’m cutting onions for other recipes, one jar at a time.
We love all things spicy, so if you like something with a little kick, these are for you. They are sharp and sweet with a refreshing kick from the peppers. They taste a little like another favorite of mine, the spicy bread and butter pickle.
My old screw-top Mason jars, while effective, were becoming unpleasant to work with. The aluminum caps were difficult to pop off and the screw-on lids were starting to show a little rust. The Weck jars were the perfect solution. They are wide on top, making it easy to fish out whatever treat is inside, plus they look pretty in my refrigerator.
Use any old jar with a lid, or make these in a glass container or bowl with some plastic wrap on top. There’s no need to fuss because these are easy, remember? I don’t want a silly little jar keeping you from making these spicy pickled onions.
Use can use any type of onion too. Sweet Vidalia onions work very well, or you can use plain white onions. Red onions are my preference because they look so nice. The red turns to a bright pink after sitting in the brine for a day or two. These keep for about 2 weeks in the refrigerator. Enjoy!
Combine vinegar, water, sugar and salt in a small bowl. Whisk until sugar dissolves.
Place onion slices, cinnamon stick, cloves, pepper (or chili), garlic cloves and mustard seeds in glass jar or container. Pour vinegar mixture over the top and cover.
Refrigerate. They can be used after 1 hour. Store in the refrigerator for 2 weeks.
I have a long history with kimchi, and two distinct memories come to mind when I think of it. The first memory is from when I was around nine years old. That is when kimchi became a regular part of my life due to my new Vietnamese stepmother.She had a lot of Korean friends and we all loved to eat at a local Korean restaurant. I immediately loved the stuff. It was crunchy and spicy and I ate it even though it smelled funny.
My mom would also buy bottles of kimchi at the supermarket. I’m not sure if she already ate it, or if I begged her to buy some. But if my kid begged me to buy bottled cabbage, I’d buy it too! I was around thirteen when my second distinct kimchi memory occurred.
It was Halloween, and my best friend and I wanted to make a “scary sounds” cassette recording (that’s what we used back in the olden-days). We had a long walkway up to the house which was under lit, and completely surrounded by lush tropical plants packed so tight, not a blade of grass would grow. The palm fronds overhead formed a dark tunnel up to the doorway, which was decorated in the appropriate Halloween assortment of cobwebs, paper witches and fabric ghosts.
That night, we placed a boom box in the open window, blasting out into the street our homemade recording of strange and spooky sounds. First there was the sound of witch-y teenage giggling, followed by some moaning. Then rattling chains, more giggling and finally…the gross sound of me chomping open-mouthed on kimchi into the microphone.
Now that I’m all grown up, I make my own kimchi every few months at home. It’s delicious to snack on, and despite the amount of red pepper, it’s really good for your digestion. Kimchi is usually made with cabbage, but I decided to try some daikon and carrot sticks instead. Fermented for a few days in the closet, the sticks come out perfectly crunchy, delicious and fun to eat.
Place the daikon, carrot and salt in a strainer in the sink. Toss the vegetables in the salt to coat. Let sit for 3-4 hours. Wash thoroughly to remove the salt and allow to dry.
Place the daikon, carrot, scallions, garlic, ginger, brown sugar, fish sauce, soy sauce and chili powder in a bowl. Mix thoroughly.
Transfer the mixture to a container with a tight lid, leaving a few inches of room at the top. You can let this ferment for 2-3 days in a closet or eat right away. If you allow it to ferment, turn the bottle upside-down a few times to distribute the moisture. Gas will build up as it ferments, so take care when opening.