Making the pilgrimage to the Okanagan to eat and drink and eat some more is a summer tradition for a good chunk of Western Canadians—but thanks to the new Okanagan Eat cookbook, which spotlights iconic local dishes from the region’s best chefs, we can dig into OK flavours year-round.

Recipes from Okanagan Eats by Dawn Postnikoff and Joanne Sasvari

Pickle Fried Chicken

The Noble Pig Brewhouse, Kamloops

At the Noble Pig, chef Jared Summers is always looking for ways to reduce waste and make produce go further. Here, he found a use for the pickle brine that would otherwise just go down the drain. “We’ve tried all sorts of fried chicken dishes over the years,” he says. “This one has had an amazing response.”

Serves: 4 to 8

Quick-Pickled Cucumbers

2 cloves garlic, crushed

4 tsp sugar

1 tbsp salt

1 tbsp dried dill

1 tsp pickling spice

1 tsp caraway seeds

 ¼ tsp celery seeds

 ¼ tsp crushed red pepper

Pinch of ground turmeric

1⅓ cups water

⅔ cup white vinegar

1 English cucumber, thinly sliced diagonally

How to Make:

Combine all ingredients except the cucumbers in a saucepan. Gently simmer over medium heat, until salt and sugar are completely dissolved.

Place cucumbers in a clean 1-litre Mason jar (or two 500-mL jars). Immediately pour pickling liquid over the cucumbers. Cover jars with lids and tighten loosely. (The heat creates a vacuum that helps preserve the pickles and keeps them crisp.) Cool at room temperature, then refrigerate overnight. Makes about 4 cups, including 2 cups pickle juice.

As the pickles are not fully processed, they are not shelf-stable. They can be refrigerated for 2 weeks.


Brined Chicken

2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs

1½ cups pickle juice

Combine chicken and pickle juice. Cover and refrigerate for 3 hours.



2 tbsp coarse salt or 1. tbsp fine salt

2 tbsp dried dill

2 tbsp paprika

2 tbsp poultry spice

1 tbsp black pepper

2 tsp chili powder

1 tsp dry mustard

1 cup buttermilk

Brined chicken (see recipe above)

How to Make:

Combine all herbs and spices in a large bowl and mix well. Reserve 2 tbsp for seasoning the finished chicken. Add buttermilk and stir to mix. Set aside.

Drain chicken thighs, then add to the marinade and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight.


Spicy Garlic Mayonnaise

1 cup mayonnaise

1 tsp sriracha, sambal oelek or your favourite chili sauce

Grated zest and juice of 1 lime

1 clove garlic, grated

How to Make:

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and mix well. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight. Makes 1 cup.

Spicy garlic mayonnaise can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 2 weeks.



Hot Honey

1 bay leaf

1 small cinnamon stick

or ¼ tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp crushed red pepper

½ tsp sriracha, sambal oelek or your favourite chili sauce

Grated zest of 1 orange

1 cup honey

How to Make:

Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer over medium heat. Turn off heat and let steep for 1 hour. Strain through a fine mesh sieve, then transfer to a clean container. Set aside to cool. Makes 1 cup.

Hot honey can be stored at room temperature for 1 month.

Pickle Fried Chicken Assembly

4 to 6 cups canola oil, for deep-frying

1 cup cornstarch

1 cup potato starch

1 cup rice flour

2 tbsp reserved spice blend from marinade

Spicy garlic mayonnaise (see above for recipe)

16 slices quick-pickled cucumbers (see above for recipe)

1 lemon, cut into wedges

How to Make:

Pour oil into a deep fryer or deep saucepan and heat to 265°F. Set a wire cooling rack over a baking sheet.

Combine cornstarch, potato starch and rice flour in a large bowl and mix well. Coat individual pieces of the marinated chicken in the dredging mixture. Working in small batches, gently fry chicken for 7 to 9 minutes, until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165°F. Transfer chicken to the rack to drain.

Increase oil heat to 350°F. Carefully lower chicken into pan, in batches, taking care not to splash hot oil. Deep-fry for 2 minutes, until slightly brown. Remove from oil, then add chicken to hot honey and toss well. Repeat with remaining batches. Sprinkle with the reserved spice blend.

Serve with spicy garlic mayonnaise, quick-pickled cucumbers and lemon wedges.


Excerpted from Okanagan Eats: Signature Chefs’ Recipes from British Columbia’s Wine Valleys by Dawn Postnikoff and Joanne Sasvari. Photography by Jon Adrian. Copyright © 2023 by Dawn Postnikoff and Joanne Sasvari. Recipes copyright the chefs. Excerpted with permission from Figure 1 Publishing. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.


This story was originally published in the September 2023 print issue of Western Living magazine.