These Spicy Cucumber Pickles are a fantastic, easily-made condiment that will elevate the flavour of many dishes. With the cucumbers, we include the vibrant flavours of onion, fragrant star anise, spicy dried chilli flakes and the warmth of fresh ginger to take these Cucumber Pickles to new heights.
Sterilise the jar or jars you'll be using to store the pickles. Choose glass jars with an airtight, metal lid and ensure they have been washed by hand in hot soapy water then rinsed well. Check that the metal lids do not have rubber inserts - if they do, allow them to air dry, instead of placing in the oven.Preheat the oven to 130 Degrees C (270 F) and place the jars in the oven for 15-20 minutes. Keep the jars warm.
For the Spicy Pickled Cucumbers:
Wash and dry the cucumbers. Remove the top and end.Thinly slice - approximately ½ cm (⅕ inch) thick.
Peel the onion and remove the tip. Cut the onion in half, and thinly slice into half moons. Discard the root end.
In a large bowl, add the cucumbers, onion and salt. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and place in the fridge for 4 hours.
Tip the cucumbers and onions into a colander and drain the excess liquid. Discard the liquid. Place the cucumber and onion slices into the warm, sterilised jar.
In a non-reactive saucepan (See Note 5), place the vinegar, sugar, red chilli pepper flakes, star anise and ginger. On a medium heat, stir to dissolve the sugar. Once the sugar is dissolved, simmer the liquid for 2 minutes.
Remove the saucepan from the heat, and carefully pour the pickling liquid into the jar with the cucumber and onions.
Seal the jar immediately, and allow to cool on the bench before placing in the refrigerator. The Spicy Cucumber Pickles can be enjoyed once cool, but I recommend leaving them for 24-48 hours to allow the flavours to develop.
Cucumbers: I have used baby Lebanese Cucumbers in this recipe. Baby/pickling cucumbers are best to use for their size and crispness.
Coarse sea salt: ensure you use cooking salt or coarse sea salt. Regular table salt may contain caking agents and is much stronger.
Tablespoon: we use a standard Australian tablespoon which is 20 ml (4 teaspoons).
Vinegar: I have used white vinegar that is 5% in acidity. You can also use apple cider or white wine vinegar - just ensure the acidity level is 5%.
Non-reactive saucepans: are those which are ceramic, stainless steel, glass or enamelled cookware. Copper, iron and aluminium pans are reactive. Acidic foods, such as lemons, may take on a metallic taste and discolour if cooked in such pans.
Storage: once the jars have cooled, store the pickles in the fridge for up to three months. This is a quick pickle recipe not designed for long term canning.
Nutritional information: is based on the entire jar, and includes the pickling liquid.