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5 from 1 vote
Pickled Celery in Fish Sauce served in a small bowl.
Pickled Celery in Fish Sauce
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
5 mins
Minimum Marinating Time
8 hrs
Total Time
15 mins

Celery sticks are pickled in soy and fish sauce based vinegar. The fish sauce gives umami to the pickled celery and almost eliminates its strong flavour. Pickled Celery in Fish Sauce is not a traditional Japanese pickled dish, but it goes well with rice.

Recipe Type: Sides
Cuisine: Japanese
Serves: 4
Author: Yumiko
Ingredients (tbsp=15ml, cup=250ml)
  • 300g (0.7lb) celery sticks
  • 2 dried red chillies , finely chopped
Pickling Liquid
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar (note 1)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp cold boiled water
  1. Add all the Pickling Sauce ingredients to a zip lock bag (note 2) large enough to contain all the celery sticks.
  2. Remove the tough strings of celery sticks that run vertically on the surface of the skin (note 2). Cut the celery into 5cm (2”) long pieces, then cut vertically into about 1cm (⅜”) wide sticks. If the tip of the celery sticks or branches are very thin, no need to cut vertically.

  3. Boil water in a saucepan and add the celery sticks. Leave the celery in the saucepan for 30 seconds or so, then drain using a sieve.
  4. While the celery sticks are still hot (note 3), transfer them to the zip lock bag with the sauce. Also add the chilli pieces to the bag.
  5. Massage the bag gently ensuring that the sauce covers all the celery sticks. Seal the zip after letting the air out as much as possible (note 4).
  6. Store the bag in the fridge for minimum overnight to 2 nights.
Recipe Notes

1. You can substitute with apple cider vinegar.

2. To remove the tough strings:

i) Place a small knife at the end of the celery stick where the edge of a tough string is.

ii) Make a small incision diagonally outward holding the surface of the string with the thumb so that the end of the string is placed between the knife and the thumb.

iii) Move the knife along the celery stick while holding the end of the string. The string will come off easily to the other end of the stick.

3. If your zip lock bag cannot take hot food, use a bowl to mix the sauce, the celery sticks and chillies. When the pickled celery sticks cool down, transfer to the bag.

4. Without using a vacuum sealing machine, the following is the best way to make a vacuum sealed bag of pickled celery:

i) Fill water in the sink or a large deep bowl/bucket to the depth of about 15cm (½ft).

ii) Seal the zip allowing a small opening at one corner.

iii) Hold the zip part of the zip lock bag and gently lower the bag into the water.

iv) Massage the bag under water to let the air move up while lowering the zip lock bag to the zip line. This will reduce the air pockets in the bag.

v) When most of the air inside the bag is removed, close the zip to seal.

vi) Take the bag out of the water and you will see the bag is nearly vacuum sealed with the pickling sauce all over the celery sticks.

5. The recipe was developed based on this Japanese recipe.