Asian Pickled Cabbage Restaurant Appetizer

June 7, 2022

It was requested by some of you when I released my Chinese Pickled Cucumber recipe. If you’re unfamiliar, this is the complimentary appetizer that many Chinese restaurants serve as a starter meal.

I’m pleased to offer this recipe with you because this request doesn’t demand a lot of research and trial and error. This crisp, sweet, and sour Asian Pickled Cabbage is the perfect meal beginning to help you clear your palate.


  • 900g cabbage, about two pounds
  • 170 grams of bite-sized slices of carrots
  • 1/4 cup of salt
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 cup of white vinegar
  • 2 cups of water
  • 3 smashed garlic cloves
  • 2-3 fresh chili peppers


1. Hand-rip the cabbage into large chunks (approximately 3″ x 3″ pieces) and place in a large mixing bowl. The pieces will shrink after pickling, so do not worry about them being too big. Carrots and 1/4 cup salt should be added at this point. Use your hands thoroughly and evenly to ensure that the salt is uniformly distributed throughout the vegetables. Marinate the vegetables for an hour in the refrigerator by placing a large, heavy mortar and pestle on top of the vegetables. You could also use foil-wrapped stones or any other heavy object. Don’t let the cabbage marinate for too long, or it will get overly salty, which would ruin the crunchiness of the vegetables.

2. Then, combine the water and sugar (along with the optional bay leaves and Sichuan peppercorns). Then switch off the heat once the mixture has reached a rolling boil. Add the vinegar and the remaining 12 tsp. Salt. Wait until the liquid is completely cooled. Make sure to taste the liquid with a clean spoon to ensure that the sweetness and tartness levels are to your liking, and make adjustments as necessary. Every time you dip your spoon into the brine, please use a new spoon.

3. Wash the marinated cabbage and carrots two or three times to get rid of the salt. Using your hands or a dish towel, drain and wring out any excess liquid from the cabbage and carrots before placing them in a clean container.

4. Garlic and chili peppers should be minced or smashed into the mixture. Ensure that all vegetables are soaked in the vinegar/sugar brine. Cover and refrigerate for at least 24 hours to serve cold or at room temperature. Keep any leftovers in the pickling liquid and use a new utensil every time you eat them.

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