I am frequently flattered by reader contacts from all over the globe, requesting my posting of their nostalgic recipes. Requests fall into three categories. Foods I have never heard of and have no clue. Foods with which I am quite familiar and pencil on my posting list. And, foods I know about but have never made and need to thoroughly investigate and experiment with. Melina, a young Iranian lady living in Norway, requested that I post a recipe for shouri, vegetables pickled in brine, Persian style, which I was more than happy to experiment to create a worthy recipe.
Persians love their shouri, especially khiar shour (cucumbers pickled in brine)! Side-by-side with torshi and sabzi khordan, it is always served at festive tables, and desired at family lunch/dinner tables. We cannot think of sandwiches without a slice or two of khiar shour. And of course, Olivier salad is not Olivier salad without it.
What is supposed to be a very simple recipe (just a few ingredients) is what many home-cooks strive to come-up with, a perfect khiar shour. Canned and bottled ones are available at Persian/Mediterranean markets, a taste which is almost impossible to achieve homemade. In addition to what is already present in vinegar, manufacturers add more acetic acid liquid for pickling. I really don’t know what the extra acetic acid does to the pickling taste, I did not use it. To go all naturellé, I resorted to cyber-space information. The ratio of water/salt/vinegar was widespread, and in my opinion, too salty in every case. Consequently, I made several batches with dill, with tarragon, less salt, more vinegar, etc. This recipe is the outcome, and, I think I have something good here.
 Vinegar is typically 4-18% acetic acid by mass. Vinegar is used directly as a condiment in the pickling of vegetables and other foods. Table vinegar tends to be more diluted (4% to 8% acetic acid), while commercial food pickling employs solutions that are more concentrated. The amount of acetic acid used as vinegar on a worldwide scale is not large but is by far the oldest and best-known application.
Persian Cucumbers in Brine | Khiar Shour خیار شور
Recipe by: Fae’s Twist & Tango (fae-magazine.com)
These ingredients are to fill an 8 cup (1.8 liters) glass jar
• 800 gr / 1¾ lbs Persian cucumbers – thinner, smaller the better (Persian midget-cucumbers are best) – use fresh/new cucumbers or the effort is not worth it
• 6 sprigs – fresh and fully-leaved tarragon (preferred) or dill weed
• 2 ~ 4 medium-sized garlic cloves
• 2 fresh, small serrano (for hotter), jalapeño or any similar hot peppers – poked in a few places by tip of a knife or a toothpick
• ½ tsp coriander seeds (optional)
• 1 large bay leaf
• 1 liter / 4½ cups, boiled water
• 2½ Tbsp salt
• ½ cup apple cider vinegar
◊ Sterilize clean jar(s) by filling it/them with boiling water and let it/them sit for a while, empty, and let dry.
◊ To make brine: Pour 4½ cups boiling water into a heat-proof pitcher or bowl. Dissolve salt in it and let it cool completely to a room-temperature.
◊ In glass jar(s), arrange cucumbers tightly, also placing sprigs, garlic cloves, coriander seeds, and hot peppers between the cucumbers.
◊ Pour brine into the jar(s) until it reaches 4/5 of the bottle (there may be some extra brine left). Pour vinegar over and place the bay leaf on top. If needed, pour remaining brine to completely cover cucumbers. Seal the jar and store at room-temperature in a dark, cool place (if no cupboard space available, cover the bottle(s) with a kitchen towel on the counter, away from heat and light). This is to protect from sunlight, to keep the color of the cucumber as green as possible. After 3~4 days (or 2~ 3 if the weather is warm), place jar(s) in the refrigerator. Pickles are ready to be enjoyed after 6~7 days, however, the longer they’re pickled, the tastier they get. Pickles store for a long time.
For mixed vegetables in brine (makhlut shour مخلوط شور): Same ratio of brine, sprigs, garlic, peppers, coriander seeds, bay-leaf and vinegar may be used. Vegetables to be cut into bite-size, i.e., carrots, celery, cauliflowers. I recommend not slicing the cucumbers but inserting in whole form in the midst of the cut vegetables and sliced when serving. Also, keep small vegetables such as tiny pearl onions, cucamelons, baby watermelons, baby cantaloupes/melons in their whole shape (check-out → My Mother’s Farm).
~ Noushe jan! • !نوش جان ~
So, what’s cooking in your kitchen?