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Spicy root vegetable pickles.Haan Palcu-Chang/The Globe and Mail

Like many parts of eastern Europe that have to endure cold winters, Transylvania, where my mom's side of the family is from, has a long and storied history of pickling and preserving vegetables.

When I had dinner at my Romanian grandmother's house, homemade cucumber pickles, vinegar-cured roasted peppers, and sauerkraut where never too far away. I've brought that family tradition with me to most of the menus I create. I rather unashamedly try to sneak pickles into as many dishes as I can. There's something wonderful about the liveliness and energy a good pickle can bring to a plate of food.

This recipe is a nod to my childhood dinners with Romanian relatives. Me being me though, there's a little bit of an Asian influence that I think adds a nice layer of flavour. Serve with grilled vegetables as antipasti, alongside charcuterie or chopped up in salads for a nice acidic crunch.

Servings: 6, as an appetizer


1½ cups apple cider vinegar

1½ cups water

1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons sea salt

½ cup sugar

3 tablespoons gochu garu Korean chili flakes

2 tablespoons garlic, roughly chopped

2 pounds mixed root vegetables, such as baby turnips, carrots or radish, washed, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces


Place all the ingredients except for the vegetables in a pot over medium heat.

While mixture rises to a boil, place vegetables in suitably sized mason jars, food-grade plastic containers or other appropriate receptacles.

When the mixture begins to boil, pour it over the vegetables. Let cool to room temperature, and place in the fridge to sit for at least two days before eating. They will keep in the fridge for at least one month.

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