Terri Lee's Soy Sauce Pickled Jalapeños

Terri Lee is a product and event designer who sometimes collaborates with Sweets & Bitters. 

Photo: Megan Swann for Sweets & Bitters

Photo: Megan Swann for Sweets & Bitters

My mom has a series of recipes she created out of ingredients common in the US when Korean produce was nearly impossible to find.  She wanted to create something that resembled the flavors she remembered from her native country. While this isn’t a traditional recipe, it’s one of my favorites. The flavors blend so perfectly and the pickled jalapeños work as an accent on many different dishes. I always have a jar in the refrigerator just waiting to add a little kick to my cooking.


Soy Sauce Pickled Jalapeños

Makes 1 pint

  • 15 jalapeños
  • 1-2 limes
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 2 shallots
  • ½ c. soy sauce or tamari 
  • ½ c. rice vinegar
  • ½ c superfine sugar


1. This can be prepared right in a standard pint sized mason jar. Add the soy sauce, rice vinegar, and sugar. Stir with a spoon to dissolve the sugar (or just cap the lid and swirl).

2. Cut the limes into thin slices, reserving the ends. Set aside the slices. Squeeze the juice from the ends of the limes into the jar. Peel and slice the shallots into thin rounds. Set aside. Cut the cilantro into short 2-3” stems with leaves intact. Set aside.

3. Now prepare the jalapeños. I wear a pair of cooking gloves to keep the spice from soaking into my hands. (If I don’t, I inevitably end up rubbing my eyes and highly regret it). Seed jalapenos and slice into thin rings. A few renegade seeds are okay if you like a little extra kick. Set aside.

4. Give the brine mix another quick swirl and then start layering your ingredients. Start with one layer of limes, then add cilantro, shallots, jalapeños, shallots, cilantro and back to lime. (Think palindrome). You want to end on limes. Once you have it packed and limes are on top keeping all the ingredients in the brine, cap and refrigerate.

5. It’s best if you can let these sit in your refrigerator for 2-3 days. The tighter the ingredients are packed—the spicier it will become and will take a few more days to pickle (approx 5 days). You can add more brine if you want a less spicy version.


Notes: After the flavors have blended, use the pickle brine in place of vinegar for a salad dressing. Or add peeled hard-boiled eggs to the brine once there’s enough room (usually when the jalapeños are nearly gone). Let it sit for 2-3 days. It soaks in the flavors of the brine and makes a delicious pickled egg. Slice the egg thin and add it to a salad or on an open faced sandwich.



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Tatsoi and Eggs with Crispy Spring Shallots

My friend Kate can tell you who grows the best watermellon radishes, when and where to get lovage, and which stalls to check out at the farmers markets in New York City any day of the week. If I want to plan a special dinner two months from now, Kate can tell me what will be in season. If I want to make a batch of Tequila Por Me Amante (I'll give you that recipe soon), she'll show up at my door with a flat of the first local strawberries. Even with all that esoteric knowledge, she's a down-to-earth cook.

I'd only dreamed of Kate doing my grocery shopping, but now she does. If you live in New York, her new company, Quinciple, will deliver a weekly box of reasonably priced farm-fresh food. I've been having a lot of fun with what Kate brings me, and now I'm contributing some recipes for the neat little set of cards that comes in each box. A version of Tatsio and Eggs with Crispy Shallots was in this weeks Quinciple box. You can find the ingredients any time of year in Chinatown if not at the farmers market.

Tatsoi and Eggs with Crispy Spring Shallots

  • 2 limes
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce, best you can find
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 5-6 spring shallots (or scallions), cleaned and dried
  • 3 Tablespoons good canola or peanut oil
  • pinch kosher salt
  • ¾ pound (1 bunch) tatsoi*, stems trimmed and separated, cleaned and dried
  • 1 cup loose-packed cilantro leaves, cleaned and dried
  • 2 eggs
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • serve with rice or rice vermicelli

*baby bok choy works just as well

1. This dish works best cooked in a wok. Any wok will do, as long as it’s not non-stick. The keys to a good stir-fry are a very hot pan and very dry vegetables (so they don’t steam and get mushy). Once all the ingredients are prepped, the cooking goes quickly.

2. Set your wok over low heat while you prepare your ingredients. Make the sauce. Zest one of the limes into a small bowl. Juice both the limes into the bowl (you should have about 2 Tablespoons juice). Stir in the fish sauce and sugar. Set aside.

3. Trim off and discard the roots of the shallots. Cut the dark green tops off, leaving about 2 inches of white and pale green stalk. Chop the dark green tops into thin rings; set aside. Slice the pale base of the stalks lengthwise on a slight diagonal, to make one-inch strips. Set aside.

4. Make sure all your ingredients are ready to cook. Turn the wok to medium-high. Set out a serving plate for the finished dish. Set out a bowl with a sieve or tea strainer over it.

5. When the wok is visibly hot and you can feel the heat radiating if you hold you hand over it, add the oil. Let the oil heat for just 30 seconds before adding the pale part of the shallots. Stir the shallots in the sizzling oil, keeping it just below the smoking point, until they are golden brown (they will continue to cook to dark brown as you remove them from the pan). Pour shallots and oil into the sieve. Reserve the oil in the bowl. Sprinkle the shallots with kosher salt.

6. Return 1 Tablespoon of the oil to the hot wok. Keeping it over a high flame, add the tatsoi. Toss it around the wok for a minute or two, until it’s uniformly bright green and barely becoming tender. Transfer it to the serving plate.

7. Add the remaining oil to the pan, and let it heat for 30 seconds. Crack the two eggs into the pan. Break the yolks. Fry undisturbed until the edges are crispy and golden. Flip, and break into bite-sized pieces. Quickly add back the tatsoi along with the sauce and sliced scallion-tops; toss everything together. Transfer to the serving plate, add the cilantro leaves and crispy shallots, and season with freshly ground black pepper. Serve warm, with rice or rice vermicelli.