If you like sweet and sour, you'll love these Asian quick pickles. Green Pickled Chili is so easy to make, and goes with so many Chinese and Western recipes, you'll be wondering why you didn't make them sooner!
⭐ Why This Recipe is a Star
- Quick and easy: literally takes minutes of active cooking. If you can boil water, you can make this! (You'll also need to pickle for a minimum of 1-2 hours to really develop the flavors.)
- Saves money: so much cheaper than buying chili pickles from the supermarket!
- Flexible: you can use red chilies instead, or add extra ingredients such as garlic and spices. Moreover, the green chili pickles add so much flavor to so many Thai and Cantonese recipes, such as wonton noodles, stir fried vermicelli and hor fun! You can even use them in fusion dishes, like roast chicken sandwiches, burgers and tacos!
What are Green Pickled Chilies?
Green pickled chilies are a beloved Cantonese ingredient. Like quick pickled cucumbers, they add a tangy, spicy kick to any dish, especially Asian noodles and other street food, and are packed with health benefits. Wonton mee, for example, wouldn't be the same without it!
This easy recipe for green pickled chilies adds authentic Cantonese flavor to your cooking!
Not really. They're more sweet and tangy but you may get the occasional outlier chili which is pretty hot!
- green chilies: in Asia, we grow up pickling Spur chilli or Kashmiri chilli but you can also use Cayenne, Jalapeños or Serrano chilies. Green is traditional, but there's no reason you can't use red chilies too. However, I would stay away from bird's eye chili or chili padi as these small chiles are super spicy!
- white vinegar: rice vinegar is traditional but I've also made them with Apple Cider Vinegar (keep the quantity the same.) The flavor does change slightly as the chilies will taste a bit modern.
- salt and sugar: Don't vary the salt as we don't want it too salty but you have a lot of leeway with the sugar. People use anything from a few teaspoons to ⅔ the amount of vinegar! (I used less as I'm too old to be unhealthy!)
- hot water: this is for an optional step of soaking the chilies. You can skip this step if you boil the vinegar solution before pouring over the chilies. However, I usually do both (soaking and boiling) to help soften the green peppers.
The amount of vinegar is sufficient for this quantity of chilies only. Whilst you can use the same solution to quick-pickle Asian cucumbers, please don't add them to the same batch as the chilies (or increase the chilies) without increasing the amount of vinegar solution used.
📖 Variations & Substitutes
- Spiced: like homemade salted eggs, you can add anything from cinnamon stick, star anise, ginger and garlic to vary up your brine!
🔪 Step-by-Step Instructions
1a. Rinse, dry, remove the stems and slice the green chilies into approximately ⅓ inch rounds.
Note: I've tried slicing the chilies more thinly but, somehow, all the testers agreed that thicker slices taste better. So the thinner slices just ended up being more work for nothing!
1b. Option 1: soak the chilies in hot water for 10-30 seconds. You can skip this step if you are going to boil the brine later.
However, I recommend doing both to soften the chilies. If not the skin can be a bit tough!
2. Option 2: if you did the hot water soak, you can skip this but I recommend doing both.
Bring the vinegar, salt and sugar (and other spices, if using) to a boil, stirring till all the sugar is dissolved.
Remove and allow to cool.
Note: if you're only doing 1 of the 2 optional steps, I recommend this over blanching as, if not, it can be difficult to ensure all the sugar is dissolved. (See below.)
3a. Strain the chilies, using a slotted spoon or colander and place in a sterilised glass or ceramic jar. (Plastic is not recommended due to the acidity.)
3b. Pour the pickling solution mix over the chilies, ensuring all the chilies are submerged in the liquid.
4. Close the jar tightly then refrigerate for 1 hour to overnight before using. You will see the color change after 1 hour.
It's entirely up to you. In Asian cooking, we remove the seeds of the red chilies as the seeds bring the heat. However, green chilies are pretty mild so you don't have to worry too much about them. If you want to remove them, I recommend placing the sliced chilies on a colander and shaking- the seeds will naturally fall out of the holes!
🥡 How to Store
If you sterilise the jar with hot water before pickling, it lasts for a long time in the fridge.
In Singaporean hawker centres, they're even left out for the day at room temperature which can get quite hot! But I recommend refrigerating.
I keep mine for no more than 1 week in the fridge, but some people keep them for 2-weeks or even longer!
Note: make sure you use clean and dry spoons to get the chilies!
👩🏻🍳 Expert Tips
Tip #1: Make sure the chilies don't bring a lot of water to the vinegar solution to prevent spoilage. You may need a kitchen towel or paper towel to soak up any excess!
🥗 Suggested Accompanying Recipes
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Green Pickled Chilies (Quick Pickle)
- Heat-proof jar No plastic as the brine is acidic, sterilised with boiling water.
- Non-reactive Pot
- Knife and chopping board
- 1 Cup large green chilies Stems removed and sliced into ⅓ inch rounds. (This was approximately 86g or 3 oz in weight. It will vary depending on how tightly the chilies are packed.) I usually use Spur chilli or Kashmiri chilli but you can also use Cayenne, Jalapeños or Serrano chilies. (Red chilies are OK too.) However, I would stay away from bird's eye chili or chili padi as these small chiles are super spicy!
- 1½ Cups boiling water or enough to cover the chilies, optional (This is for an optional step of soaking the chilies.)
- 1½ Cups white rice vinegar Add more if more is needed to cover the chilies and increase the sugar and salt proportionally. Substitute: equal amount of apple cider vinegar. The flavor does change slightly as the chilies will taste a bit modern.
- 1 Tablespoon white sugar I prefer to use less for health reasons. You can even use up to ⅔ the amount of vinegar! (1 Cup in this instance.)
- 1½ teaspoon salt
- Optional: soak the chilies in hot water for 10-30 seconds. You can skip this step if you are going to boil the brine later. However, I recommend doing both to soften the chilies. If not the skin can be a bit tough!
- Optional: if you did the hot water soak, you can skip this but I recommend doing both.Bring the vinegar, salt and sugar (and other spices, if using) to a boil, stirring till all the sugar is dissolved.Remove and allow to cool.Note: if you're only doing 1 of the 2 optional steps, I recommend this over blanching as, if not, it can be difficult to ensure all the sugar is dissolved. (See below.)
- Strain the chilies (better if you want to shake out the seeds), using a slotted spoon or colander and place in a sterilised container.
- Pour the pickling solution mix over the chilies, ensuring all the chilies are submerged in the liquid.
- Close the jar tightly then refrigerate for 1 hour to overnight before using. You will see the color change after 1 hour. Enjoy!
Note: the nutritional information is an estimate automatically calculated using the WPRM recipe maker and I am not responsible for its veracity.
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