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Pickled Celery and Chilli Salad

A strange and wonderful thing occurs when you pickle celery: it wilts and becomes floppy yet still retains a certain crunch.
That is what I love about this recipe – and, of course, the chilli just gives it the kick that it needs!
Add some Sichuan pepper and salt at the end and you have a very simple, yet extremely sophisticated side dish on your hands.


  • Celery

  • 3 teaspoons white sugar

  • sea salt

  • 0.3 cup white wine vinegar

  • 0.25 cup white sugar extra

  • 0.3 cup malt vinegar

  • 2 tablespoons Fish sauce

  • 0.25 cup roughly chopped Mint

  • 0.5 cup spring onion scallion julienne

  • 1 large Red chilli finely sliced on the diagonal

  • 1 tablespoon roasted sesame seed

  • 0.5 teaspoon Sichuan salt

  • 0.5 teaspoon Pepper


  • 1.

    Trim celery sticks and finely slice on the diagonal.

  • 2.

    Combine in a bowl with sugar and salt, mix well and leave to stand for 30 minutes.

  • 3.

    Meanwhile, combine vinegar and extra sugar in a small heavy-based saucepan and stir over heat until sugar dissolves.

  • 4.

    Simmer, uncovered and without stirring, for about 2 minutes, or until reduced by one-third and slightly syrupy – you should have about ¼ cup.

  • 5.

    Set aside to cool slightly.

  • 6.

    Drain celery and, using your hands, gently squeeze away any excess liquid.

  • 7.

    Add cooled vinegar syrup and remaining ingredients, except Sichuan pepper and salt, to pickled celery and transfer to a serving bowl.

  • 8.

    Sprinkle with Sichuan pepper and salt and serve.


Note: This dish should be served on the day of making.

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