Sunday, June 7, 2009

Soy Pickled Garlic and Jalapenos

For my mother-in-law, who always makes these for the family and lets me watch her make them.

I wish I had a scratch and sniff blog, because this mix of jalapenos and garlic in soy sauce has such a great smell, my mouth waters when I walk by them. Even writing about them has got me salivating. *scratch here* (this will work when I get my technology up and running)

I think every Korean family has their own version of these soy pickled jalapenos and garlic. Everyone has a secret technique, secret ingredient whether it be sugar, vinegar, MSG what have you. But my mother-in-law makes them really simply - and I love hers. The great thing about hers is that because there is no sugar or vinegar, you can "age" these in your fridge for a very long time with no worries that it will deteriorate. Acids from vinegar tend to break down the jalapenos and garlic too quickly so they can't do the duration in the fridge. I feel that sugar also does the same and for me doesn't really enhance the flavor experience.

This recipe will be strange, as it really doesn't have measurements. It will be up to individual people to figure out what jar they will use and make decisions as to how much garlic and jalapenos to use and to make it.

Soy Pickled Garlic and Jalapenos

1 good sized jar with a wide mouth which is big enough to hold your garlic and jalapenos. ((My favorite jar is this huge one that had marinated artichokes from costco, but you can decide what you'd like to use)
Bunch of jalapenos, sliced. Cut of the stem and just use the remaining portion of jalapenos, sliced about 1/4 inch thick
Bunch of whole cloves of garlic, tough woody top portion trimmed off
Soy sauce (I always use low sodium Kikoman, with the green lid)

1. Place all chopped jalapenos and garlic into the jar. Try and layer and mix up so the jalapenos and garlic are well distributed in your jar.

2. Pour soy sauce into the jar, NOT all the way covering the jalapenos and garlic. Do not cover about the last 1 1/2 inches of garlic and jalapeno. The reason is that the soy sauce will draw out water from the garlic and jalapeno and soon the soy sauce will eventually almost cover the jalapenos and soy sauce.

3. Allow the garlic and jalapenos to sit in the soy sauce for a good 4 hours. Eventually you will notice that the garlic and jalapenos are almost covered by the soy sauce.

4. CAREFULLY drain the soy sauce into a heavy saucepan. Leave the garlic and jalapenos in the jar.

5. Bring the soy sauce to a boil. As soon as it boils, pour the soy sauce BACK into the jar.

6. Let the jalapenos and garlic cool. Cover and place them in the fridge for at least one week. The flavor changes the longer you leave them. You can enjoy these for up to 6 months.

Printable recipe

Jalapenos and garlic after 3 weeks in the fridge.

If your mouth doesn't water from looking at these, you're missing out.


Marta said...

hahaha these look so powerful! My eyes tear up just looking at them! You see, I don't have the highest tolerance for heat, so these would do me in!
They look great, though, and keeping traditional recipes alive is so important!

Simplify said...

This looks VERY interesting to me! Thanks for sharing it. What is the reason for boiling the soy sauce after soaking the peppers and garlic in it? I'm prepared to dutifully follow the instructions and boil it, but I would love to know why!

Joanne Choi said...

Simplify - thanks for checking out my blog. As for WHY to boil - I'm not precisely sure why - both my mother in law and mom do it. I think part of it has to do with sort of a "mini" cooking of the ingredients and another one is to make the jalapenos and garlic last longer - sort of a mini sterilization process.

littlebirdhouse said...

I am finding so many recipes to make from your blog. These sound perfect and I'll be making them soon, too -- I need more soy sauce than I have in the house right now, so I've got to make a trip to the Asian market first. I'm drooling just looking at the picture, though.

Joanne Choi said...

Littlebirdhouse - thanks for posting. I hope you try them. I did eat too many of these this evening (addicting) and now have a little bit of a burn in my belly but I just couldn't stop eating!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this wonderful looking and easy recipe!

Adam said...

Just found your blog via This looks fantastic! I'm going to make some of this ASAP.

Ivanna said...

So if you want your garlic and jalapenos to be a bit on the sweet or vinegar-y side, do you add it in when you boil the soy sauce? BTW-It looks delicious!

Hillary said...

This is so different! Thanks for sharing. You should submit this recipe to!

Jeanne said...

I looove these. My aunt makes them the same way. If you can't handle heat, add sliced mini-cucumbers. I saw my aunt add some after a few days of pickling and although it sounds strange, it was fabulous. They are crunchy with an adequate amount of kick.

Boiler said...

is this the same dipping sausce they give you at korean BBQ??

Joanne Choi said...

For Boiler -

no not the same - Korean BBQ dipping sauces can vary, but for the most part it's some soy sauce, sesame oil, Korean red chili pepper flakes and chopped green onions.

The soy sauce of this however is GREAT as a spicy dipping sauce.

Mandy said...

This looks SO good! I know exactly what to do with all of those jalapenos from our garden now!

DeeDee said...

I'm so glad you have this recipe up here, I've been looking for one everywhere. I'm not sure if you're familiar with Koba Tofu Grill but they make this pan-chan(?) with the jalapenos, cucumbers, onions, and celery I believe. Is your recipe the same as theirs and I would just add those veggies after boiling the soy sauce? I really appreciate your recipe and your help... I've tried buying the pan-chan(?) from them but they don't sell it on their own :( hahah. Thanks!!!

Gretchen said...

I did a google search to find you... and I am so happy I did. I'm gaga over my local Korean restaurant's garlic and want to try my hand at it. I'm scrolling through all your recipes, and I love that when you cook Asian dishes you give a photo of the packaging. I'm so unfamiliar with the products, and I'm so willing to try them, but it's hard when I don't know what I am looking for even looks like! You are brilliant. Thank you.

Lysa said...

I had a Korean friend that made something very similar. Lots more soy sauce, garlic, jalepenos, scallions and onion. Not boiled...just kept as a sauce for rice and such.

Lysa said...

An old Korean friend made this often using a lot more soy sauce, jalepenos, garlic, onions and scallions. Used as a suace for rice and just about anything :) She didn't boil it. So tasty :)

Lysa said...

Sorry for the double post :(

Chipotle Pepper said...

facGreat post! Will definitely give it a try. Thanks for the info!


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