Belinda Jeffery

Pickled red cabbage with ginger & chilli

I always keep a tub of this crisp, zingy cabbage in the fridge as it keeps for months on end and goes beautifully with so many things…cheeses, fish, barbecued meats or chicken.


Makes approx 4 1/2 cups of pickled cabbage

750g red (or green) cabbage

3 teaspoons salt

1 cup (250ml) rice vinegar

1 cup (220g) caster sugar

2 heaped tablespoons very finely chopped or shredded ginger (or more to taste)

1 or 2 small red chillies, finely chopped

Nigella seeds or toasted sesame seeds, to garnish, optional


Shred the cabbage as thinly as you possibly can, transferring it to a large bowl as you go. This fine slicing can be a bit tedious but it’s well worth it otherwise the cabbage will be chewy when you eat it. (If you don’t trust your slicing skills, use the shredding blade of a food processor to slice the cabbage.) Toss the cabbage with the salt then transfer it to a large colander sitting over a bowl. Sit a plate on top of the cabbage and then a weight of about 750g on top of the plate (I use two or three cans.) Leave it to drain at room temperature for 3 hours.


In the meantime, in a large bowl whisk together the vinegar, sugar, ginger and chilli until the sugar dissolves. Put the bowl with the liquid into the fridge until the cabbage is ready. Add the drained cabbage and toss it all together. Then chill it, covered, for at least 8 hours or overnight, giving it the occasional stir to make sure the cabbage is well soaked in the liquid.


When the cabbage is ready, transfer it to an airtight container and push it down so it sits mainly below the liquid. Press a piece of plastic film on top to ensure the surface stays moist.


To serve, mound the cabbage into a bowl and sprinkle the top with nigella or roasted sesame seeds, if using.