I try to have as many vegetable as possible in my bento, thus I’m actively searching for different seasonings to create new flavors in my vegetable dishes.
Recently I’m exploring various Taiwanese pickles from Asian grocery stores. When I was in Taiwan, I used to eat these pickles alone with rice porridge. Now I don’t eat rice porridge often, and I found these pickles very flavorful, so I use them as seasonings and pair with different vegetables.
Pickled bamboo shoot is one of my favorite. It is mildly spicy and full of fermented acidity. I used it as a salad dressing to mix with blanched cauliflower and thinly-sliced cherry radish. With few drops of lemon juice, its flavor is so refreshing and can serve as a cold entree or a reheat-able bento side dish.
Repurpose Pickles for Salad Dressing
What you need:
- The pickle
- A medium bowl
- A whisk or a pair of chopstick for stirring
- A courageous mind
What to do:
Adjust the taste and texture of the pickle to make it become an ideal salad dressing. When adding new ingredients, start from few drops and gradually level up. Don’t forget to give it a nice stir to make sure that the new ingredient dissolved and blended in the dressing.
General rule of thumbs:
- For better texture: Slide or dice the pickle to smaller pieces
- Level up the heat or spiciness: Add chili oil or hot sauce
- Increase saltiness & umami: Soy sauce, miso, hondashi soup stock
- Increase acidity:
- Juice: lemon juice, or orange juice
- Vinegar: Red/white wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, or rice vinegar
- Tone down acidity & spiciness:
- Increase sweetness: adding honey or maple syrup
- Increase fat: Add mayonnaise, or olive oil
- Magnify fragrance:
- Fruit: Add juice, fruit spread, or peels
- Nuts: Blend in toasted nuts, or sesame oil
- Fresh Herbs: Sprinkle dill, rosemary, parsley, or scallions
- Truffle: Use truffle oil, truffle powder, or truffle paste