Oct 27, 2017

Let's Finish that Bottle of Red Wine Vinegar by Making Pickled Red Onions

It should be safe to say that we all bought something before just to complete a recipe but never get to use that seasoning or ingredient again. It can be a rare herb or something common like red wine vinegar. 

Don't get me wrong, I do use red wine vinegar quite often, but not as frequent as I would like especially there are so many types of vinegar in my cabinet. Chinese black vinegar, rice vinegar, western red and white wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, and of course my favorite touch of acidity - fresh lemons.

So as one way to clean up space to store even more rarely use seasonings (!?), here's what I did for leftover red wine vinegar. 

Pickled red onions -

  • 1 small red onion
  • 3/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 small pinch/about 8 to 10 Sichuan peppercorn
  • 2 dried red chilies
  • Small amount of cold water (optional)


Peel and slice the red onion into rings and transfer to a colander. Put a big bowl below or set above the kitchen sink. 

Bring a small pot of water to a boil then pour onto the onion rings. Just a quick rinse will do the job. Drain out any excess water.

Use a glass container to store the pickles, avoid plastic or other type of materials that might interact with acid. Add the sugar, salt, and red wine vinegar to the container and stir till the sugar fully dissolves. Add in Sichuan peppercorn and dried chilies.

Transfer the onion rings over. Gently stir the mixture to make sure all the onion are coated with vinegar, or cover with lid and gently shake the mixture. Pour just a little cold but pre-boiled water to cover all the onion rings if needed. 

The pickles can last for few weeks in the fridge, but the flavor will get stronger and less crisp as time goes by. It's better to just finish the pickles in one week. Personally speaking, I enjoy these pickles the most after 2 to 3 days. 

Do not waste the vinegar, you can mix that with a beef or chicken stew, or used in a pasta dish. 

The use of Sichuan peppercorn and dried red chilies give this pickle recipe a gentle touch of Asian aroma. Omit these two ingredients if a simpler taste is preferred. Maybe swap out the Sichuan peppercorn with regular black peppercorn to keep that gentle kick of spiciness. 

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