Chinese cabbage, asparagus lettuce, cabbage, leaf mustard, turnip or radish, celery, fresh sweet red pepper, fresh ginger shoots, etc. - a mixture or all or several kinds of above, quantity of each according to personal likes, altogether about 3 lbs.
Ingredients for pickling liquor:
7 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons chillies
1 teaspoon Chinese peppercorn
4 tablespoons ginger root
4 tablespoons baigan (a potent, distilled, colorless spirit)
3 tablespoons brown sugar
11 cups drinking water
To prepare this dish, a special "pickle jar" is usually used in China. It is an earthern jar whose mouth is in the form of a raised rim bordered by a depression which rises again to form a raised circular outer edge. If unavailable, this may be replaced by any big jar with an air-tight cover.
1) Clean and sterilize pickle jar and wipe its inside dry with clean cloth.
The dry chillies used should be complete and unbroken. Wash them clean and cut off stalks.
Skin ginger root and wash clean.
2) Pour water into jar. Add all seasonings and this becomes the pickling liquor.
3) Wash all vegetables (pare, wherever necessary). Drain and place them in jar.
Pour an adequate amount of water to fill the depression on top of the jar. Cover jar with an upturned bowl of the right size which fits into the depression with water to keep it air-tight.
Leave the jar in a comparably cool place. The water in the depression should be changed from time to time, and the brim of the jar should be kept clean.
4) The pickles will be ready to eat in 3-4 days or a week, depending on the season.
It is recommended to keep a special pair of chopsticks with which to take out the pickles. For it is absolutely important not to let anything oily or greasy get into the jar.
The pickles may not be so tasty at the beginning but will taste better later on. The older it is, the pickling liquor will grow better and more flavor-some.
If a thin white film is formed on the surface of the liquor, add a little brown sugar and baigan spirit.
5) To add new vegetables into the jar, they should be shriveled up a little by drying in the air before they are washed, drained and put inside; add each time also a little salt and other ingredients (amounts to taste).
New vegetables may be added to the old, as above. Or they may be pickled as a fresh batch after the first lot has been finished.