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1 × 8–10cm stick lotus root
100g Chinese spinach or baby spinach leaves
The Pickling Mixture
150ml Chinkiang black rice vinegar
2 tbsp salt
100ml hot water
60ml tbsp sesame oil
3 star anise
20 Sichuan peppercorns, lightly crushed
4 garlic cloves, finely sliced
Mix all the pickling liquid ingredients together in a bowl until the sugar is fully dissolved.
Bring a saucepan filled with water to a boil. Peel and cut the lotus root into 2mm slices, then add to the pan and blanch for 3 minutes. Remove from the pan and cool under running cold water, then drain.
Fill a clean tight lidded jar, bowl or lidded container with the blanched lotus root and spinach leaves and pour over the pickling mixture until veg are fully covered and the container is full. Pop on the lid and leave to pickle for a minimum of 45 minutes for immediate use, or up to 1 day for maximum flavour.