This is a simple, crunchy “pickle” of bell pepper cubes marinated in a light dressing of soy sauce, sugar, and rice vinegar. Its bright color and clean, fresh taste would make it a welcome addition to a barbecue, a simple dinner, or a Chinese feast starring a constellation of “Little Dishes.” I much prefer red to green bell pepper, but you may do this dish with either, or even mix the two, if you wish.
Wash and carefully dry the peppers. Cut each pepper lengthwise into fourths, then remove the cores, seeds, and ribs. Use a sharp paring knife to trim the area around the stem so that the fruit is uniformly red. Cut into ¾-inch cubes.
Put the pepper cubes into a clean glass or stainless bowl. Sprinkle with salt, toss well to mix, then cover and let stand at room temperature 6 hours or overnight. Stir occasionally to redistribute the cubes in the liquid.
Combine the soy, vinegar, and sugar, stirring well to dissolve the sugar. Drain the peppers thoroughly (do not rinse or press them), then place in a dry bowl or in an immaculately clean glass jar with a tight-fitting lid. Scrape the seasonings on top, toss well to mix, then let the peppers stand 1–3 hours at room temperature. At least once an hour, stir the peppers or rotate the jar to redistribute the seasonings.
Refrigerate 2 full days, stirring occasionally. The peppers will then be at peak flavor and ready to eat.
Serve the peppers chilled, heaped prettily in a bowl of contrasting color, or in small dip dishes alongside each plate. Just before serving, top with some of the seasoning liquids to give them a nice sheen.
The peppers will retain their flavor and texture upwards of a week, refrigerated and sealed airtight.
© 1982 Barbara Tropp estate. All rights reserved.