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Tsukemono: The Art of Japanese Pickles

Tsukemono: The Art of Japanese Pickles


One of my favorite, often-overlooked parts of Japanese cuisine is the colorful pickles that add a punch of flavor and textural interest to nearly every meal--breakfast included. Called tsukemono (soo-keh-MOH-noh), they come in a variety of colors and flavors, but are often very salty* or sweet-and-tart.

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Tsukemono plays an important role in Japanese cuisine: adding a big kick of flavor (with no fat and few calories) to otherwise mild-tasting food. Traditional Japanese cooking focuses on fresh, seasonal ingredients that are typically seasoned minimally to let each food's pure flavors shine through. This makes for mild and subtle dishes that shine with a Zen-like simplicity. Aside from the pungent kick of wasabi, which is typically eaten only with sushi, Japanese cooking does not employ the zing and spice of other cuisines, such as Korean. But that's where the under-appreciated pickle comes in.

Tsukemono refers to a broad category of pickles, many of which can be bought at an Asian market or made at home. Serve them in small portions (like those above) on the side of any meal, and try the parings I've suggested below. These are a few that I regularly buy. You can find them in the refrigerated section of most Asian markets that carry Japanese foods. In the picture, clockwise from top left:

1. Beni shoga (aka pickled ginger): This bright-red pickled ginger root is quite different from gari, the sweet, pale-pink slices of pickled ginger that accompany sushi. Colored with red perilla leaves (called shiso), beni shoga has a strong, salty, almost spicy flavor that adds a wonderful kick of flavor to dishes such as beef noodle bowls, stir fries, and yakisoba (stir-fried noodles). Ginger is widely purported to help quell nausea, so when I'm feeling under the weather, I often eat this type with ochazuke (o-CHA-zu-kay), which is simply green tea poured over rice (kind of like milk on cereal). Look for it in plastic tubs about the size of a tuna can.

2.Takuan (pickled daikon): Though the version above is dyed yellow, this pickle sometims looks paper-white or beige. Made from daikon, a mild white radish that can grow to the size of your forearm, it has many uses besides pickles: grated in dipping sauces, shredded into a mound of ribbons that go well with sashimi, and boiled in soups, to name a few. Takuan has a pleasant crunch and mild brininess, and it is eaten at the end of a meal, as it is believed to aid in digestion. You can buy it sliced, or as a whole radish immersed in a bag of brine.

3. Rakkyo (RAH-kyoh; aka pickled shallot): Similar in appearance to a cocktail onion, these crisp, mild, sweet-and-sour shallots, pickled in a light seasoned vinegar, are like candy to me. Often served with grilled fish or meats, they provide a crisp, bright note that's palate-cleansing between savory bites. Rakkyo is often labeled "pickled scallions" and sold in little plastic bags or small glass jars.

4. Umeboshi (ooh-meh-BOH-she; pickled Japanese plum): This is the quintessential Japanese pickle. One of my favorites, umeboshi is colored red with shiso and has a startling tartness that almost makes your eyes water (in a good way). It's an acquired taste for some. They are sometimes pale pink, and sometimes bright red, and they range from cranberry-sized, crunchy fruits to olive-sized fruits with a squishier texture. They are served with many meals, including breakfast, and are often placed in the center of onigiri (seasoned rice balls). Look for them in small plastic containers.

Make your own: I have never tried this, but from what I understand, some types of tsukemono are relatively quick and easy to make (while others aren't worth the effort). The quick-and-easy variety have a limited shelf life, while the ones that require more time to ripen tend to last a bit longer in the fridge. Check out Just Hungry's tsukemono post for more detailed descriptions, and make sure to see her quick-tsukemono pickle recipes. (I know I keep linking to this blog, but it's the best resource I've found on authentic Japanese food. If you know of others, please share!)

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* High sodium content is the primary pitfall associated with Japanese food. For this reason, many of these pickles are best eaten in small quantities. Cooking Light usually recommends using reduced-sodium soy sauce as another way to keep sodium levels in check.


Ultimate Guide to Japanese Tsukemono Pickles

In America, pickles are often eaten along with sandwiches, on burgers or as a garnish with other dishes. But in Japan, pickles are much more commonplace as the main component of a meal.

Made using either a salt or vinegar brine or a more involved fermentation process, Japanese pickles, referred to as tsukemono, are comprised of more than just pickled cucumbers. Tsukemono actually means “pickled foods” and so can refer to a wide assortment of both vegetables and fruits, as well as seaweed.

Because you can use different types of food to make tsukemono, they exhibit a plethora of both flavor and color. The bright, vibrant colors of tsukemono add contrast and an almost art-like quality to the other foods on the table, and the pungent aroma and tart flavors complement a wide variety of dishes.

People in Japan serve tsukemono as part of a traditional Japanese meal not just to suit your mouth’s palate, but also to add to the palette of color that many Japanese strive to exhibit when creating a complete meal. Some of the more popular tsukemono pickles you can find in Japan include:

  • Nukazuke (Rice Bran): Common pickles fermented in a brine that includes rice bran and other vegetables.
  • Shiozuke (Salt): Sliced vegetables that have been lightly salted.
  • Umeboshi (Japanese Plums): The ume fruit that has been pickled.
  • Shoyuzuke (Soy Sauce): Preserved pickles and vegetables, with different amounts of soy sauce serving as a base.

There are, of course, many other types, and they are commonly eaten as snacks, side dishes, or as a garnish on rice or other dishes.


Do You Know Your Tsukemono? A Guide to Japanese Pickles

It’s often said that a Japanese meal is built around three core foods: rice, soup, and pickles. Rice, plain and filling, is the main staple, so significant to the national cuisine that scarcely a meal goes by without it. Soup, miso-enhanced or otherwise, provides the comforts of umami—the appeal of a rich dashi broth is easy to understand. But pickles, in contrast, are a little less straightforward in their virtues. Tart, pungent, and often imbued with funky overtones, they are best enjoyed in small bites. In the context of the larger meal, they practically traverse the boundary between side dish and condiment.

Japanese pickles—known collectively as tsukemono—can easily go unnoticed as part of a washoku (traditional Japanese) meal. Yet they’ve rightfully earned their place as a cornerstone food because they serve an important purpose: Japanese food culture is heavily influenced by principles of balance handed down from kaiseki (the national haute cuisine). These principles suggest that a meal should contain a variety of colors, flavors, and cooking methods while taking into account sensory and aesthetic considerations. Tsukemono help create this harmony. They cleanse the palate and provide piquancy to counter the heaviness of umami-rich foods. Available in a number of bright hues, they also help fulfill the general rule that a meal should contain five colors: black, red, green, white, and yellow. And although they are altered by the processes of pickling, tsukemono are still considered to be raw. Think of them as salads with the added benefits of lactic-acid fermentation.

One further quality of tsukemono is that they are very much “transformed” foods, altered by the processes of pickling to the point where they barely resemble the fresh produce from which they are made. Many of the them are colorful and visually attractive, but hard to identify if you aren’t intimately familiar with Japanese cuisine. It’s entirely possible that you’ve had noodles topped with bright red beni shoga or curry rice with a side of chutney-like fukujinzuke and not quite known what those tangy bits and pieces were.

To guide you on your future travels through the world of traditional Japanese cuisine, we’ve pulled together some of the tsukemono you might encounter and the dishes they’re typically served with. While this list hardly represents the full range of pickles you can find in Japan—there are countless varieties and regional specialties—you’re likely to find these served with many of the the more well-known Japanese dishes, and even available for purchase in many Asian grocery stores.

Gari is probably the most widely known tsukemono because it is often served as a palate cleanser alongside sushi. The best gari is made with young ginger, which is naturally pink-hued around the edges—when brined, the slices take on that distinctive blushing color. Most commercial versions, however, use mature ginger, which is either left tan or dyed red with shiso leaf or artificial colorants.

How it’s made: Thinly sliced ginger is pickled in an amazuke marinade of sugar, salt, and rice vinegar for anywhere from a few hours to a couple weeks.

How it tastes: Clean and grassy, with sweet and peppery notes.

Serve it with: Sushi and sashimi or fried rice the brine also makes a suitable dressing for salads and vegetables.

Takuan

Takuan is a crunchy daikon pickle named for the Zen monk credited with its invention. It’s distinguished by its bright yellow color, which can be achieved through the cultivation of bacillus subtilis bacteria during fermentation, heightened by the addition of persimmon peels, nasturtium flowers, or other coloring agents.

How it’s made: Daikon is sun-dried and salted before being placed in a container with nukadoko, a rice bran-based fermenting medium rich in bacillus subtilis. It’s then left to sit for anywhere from a few weeks to a few months.

How it tastes: Mildly tart and citrusy with a slight funk.

Serve it with: Plain rice, in bento boxes, and in maki rolls, either on its own or with fatty tuna. It’s also popular in Korea (where it’s known as danmuji), appearing inside kimbap rolls or with jjajangmyun (black bean noodles).

Umeboshi

Umeboshi are pickled plums known for their bracing saltiness and acidity—they’re so strong, they’ve been said to corrode aluminum lunch boxes. That intensity lends itself well to a number of handy uses. Samurai prized them as a means of combatting fatigue on the battlefield, likely because of the welcome jolt to the senses they provided. Even today, they’re recommended as a morning pick-me-up, defense against aging, cure for nausea, and remedy for hangovers.

How it’s made: Umeboshi making is associated with June, when both Asian plums and red shiso (which is used to color them) are ready to be harvested. They are potted with salt under a heavy weight during the summer rainy season (late June and July), exuding a briny liquid called umezu. Once the hot, dry days of August roll around, the umeboshi are allowed a few days to dry out in the sun. They are then repotted with a bit of the umezu and stored for a year or longer before eating.

How it tastes: Piercingly sour and salty, with a fleshy texture.

Serve it with: Onigiri (rice balls wrapped in nori) in bento boxes, an umeboshi placed in the center of a bed of plain rice is called a hinomaru, after the name for the Japanese flag they can also be puréed into a paste, which makes a great maki roll filling with mountain yam and shiso leaf.

Beni Shoga

There’s a strong ethos throughout Japanese cooking of recycling ingredients and creating as little waste as possible. Beni shoga, bright red slivers of ginger, are one such example of ingredient reuse. They are made with umezu, the leftover brine from making umeboshi. Although some commercial varieties get their color from the added boost of artificial dyes, homemade beni shoga can turn a mesmerizing hue simply from the addition of the red shiso-tinted umezu.

How it’s made: Ginger is julienned and left to brine in umezu for anywhere from a few hours to a few days.

How it tastes: Zesty with a concentrated ginger flavor.

Serve it with: Tonkotsu ramen, okonomiyaki, yakisoba.

Shibazuke

A specialty of Kyoto, shibazuke is a mix of chopped cucumbers and eggplant that has been salted and brined with red shiso. It has a stunning purple-magenta hue that renders the vegetable pieces nearly unrecognizable from their original forms.

How it’s made: Historic recipes call for brining shibazuke for up to a year, but generally the pickles are made by letting them sit in salt until most of the liquid has leeched from the vegetable and the color has permeated throughout, which takes about a month.

How it tastes: Crunchy, crisp, and acidic, with a strong herbal note from shiso.

Serve it with: Plain rice, or with a few other tsukemono as a palate cleanser between bites.

Kyurizuke

Long, firm Japanese cucumbers, which have fewer and smaller seeds than their Western counterparts, are used to make many different types of tsukemono. These include cucumber pickles made with rice bran or miso, as well as asazuke, lightly seasoned quick pickles. One cucumber tsukemono you’re likely to find in Japanese grocery stores is aokyurizuke, which is marinated in soy sauce.

How it’s made: Japanese cucumbers are brined in a mix of soy sauce, salt, and sugar for one to two weeks until they have shrunk considerably and have a firm crunch.

How it tastes: Savory and salty, with a deep soy sauce flavor.

Serve it with: Donburi (rice bowls topped with meat), or in ochazuke (a dish made by pouring green tea over rice).

Fukujinzuke

Fukujinzuke literally translates to “lucky god pickles,” which is a reference to a Japanese myth about the seven gods of fortune. Some varieties accordingly contain seven different vegetables in homage. Although individual recipes vary, most contain lotus, daikon, eggplant, and cucumber. Some versions are tinted red with shiso.

How it’s made: The chopped vegetables are marinated in a mixture of soy sauce and sugar overnight or longer.

How it tastes: Sweet and chutney-like.

Miki is a recovering art history major and ex-librarian who found her true calling amidst Washington, DC’s burgeoning food scene. At the beginning of 2014, she obtained her master’s degree in gastronomy and went on to intern at Serious Eats. She now lives in the Bronx and can be found riding the D train to her next culinary adventure.


Rice Vinegar

Rice vinegar is the most often used vinegar in the Japanese kitchen. It is used to add a sour, or tart, flavor to food, as well as for preventing food from going bad and changing color. But all rice vinegars are not created equal. Rice vinegar is actually graded, like olive oil. The higher the grade, the higher the quality and purity. But just because a rice vinegar might be a lower grade, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use it. There are reasons why you might want to use the various grades of vinegar. During my 2011 summer trip to Tokyo, Mr. Fuji and I attended a tsukemono class taught by Elizabeth Andoh. She has given me permission to share a short video excerpt from the class talking about the different grades of vinegar and their role in the Japanese kitchen:

So now you know! Now go explore the world through ingredients on The Ingredient Finder, then go beat some cucumbers.



Tsukemono, Japanese pickled foods, are served with most traditional Japanese meals along with rice and miso soup. They serve many purposes. They are used as a garnish, for palate cleansing, as a relish and as a digestive. Several different types of tsukemono exist. Probably the most common type is the simple salt pickle, shiozuke.

Shiozuke

Shiozuke is probably the most common pickle because of its simplicity. Take fresh seasonal vegetables, salt them for a few hours and then you’re done. Cucumbers are commonly salt pickled creating a crisp, mild pickle that is a nice side dish for a meal. Another common salt pickle is the umeboshi plum. Umeboshi plums are heavily salted. They take a little more time and have a stronger flavor. Umeboshi are often served with rice to mellow out the strength of the pickle. Following is my cucumber shiozuke tsukemono recipe. The steps are fairly simple.

Cucumber shiozuke

Optional add ins: toasted sesame seeds, thinly sliced onions, chili pepper, garlic, ginger

* Slice cucumbers very thin.

* Place cucumbers in bowl and sprinkle with salt. Mix the salt with the cucumbers.

* Add in optional ingredients if desired. Mix in well.

* Place ingredients flat in bowl or canning jar. Use another jar or plate to add pressure to the vegetable to help press out the water.

* Place in fridge and let sit for at least 4 hours, or overnight.

* Salt pickles are now ready to serve.

Daikon can be pickled this way too.

Making Suzuke

Suzuke is another common way to pickle in Japan. Suzuke is the vinegar pickle. Traditionally rice vinegar was used and pickles achieve a crunchy, sweet and sour flavor. Rice vinegar is low acid, so these pickles are also meant to be eaten fresh and kept refrigerated. Gari (sweet pickled ginger) and rakkyo (sweet pickled scallions) are two common and tasty vinegar pickles. Cucumbers can also be vinegar pickled. Sweet suzuke cucumber pickles were the type my grandmother always made. If you are up for the tsukemono adventure, following are some basic recipes for daikon suzuke, scallion suzuke and gari (ginger suzuke) to try out.

Daikon suzuke

1/2 cup sugar (we substitute maple syrup)

Optional: pinch of turmeric for color

* Peel daikon and thinly slice or cut into ribbons with mandolin slicer.

* Mix rice vinegar, water, salt, turmeric and sugar together and heat to dissolve sugar and salt. (We often substitute maple syrup instead of sugar. Look for a post coming up on fried maple leaves, a delicacy in parts of Japan.)

* Place daikon in dish or jar with a lid. Pour vinegar solution over the daikon to cover.

* Allow flavors to develop in refrigeration for a couple days.

* After two days, taste your suzuke to see if the flavor is strong enough. If you like them stronger, wait longer before serving.

Scallion and ginger take the same pickling solution as the daikon. I lightly salt the ginger and squeeze out the moisture after 15 minutes before using the pickling solution.

Pickled Scallions Gari

Many other types of tsukemono including shoyuzuke- preserved in a soy sauce nukazuke- fermented in rice bran misozuke- miso paste pickling and kasuzuke- pickled in sake lees.

Pickling in Japan is truly a culinary art. Not only do they taste great with many different flavors, they are beautiful to look at when presented for a meal. Often Japanese cooks present their tsukemono with many different colors and cut the vegetables differently to give a different appearance as well.

Commonly pickled vegetables include daikon radishes, carrots, cucumber, japanese eggplants, cabbage, asian greens, burdock, lotus root, turnips, ginger, shallots, scallions and sour plums. Of course traditional cooks pickle many other items as well.

Join me in this tsukemono adventure and try out one of my recipes. There are also books and websites full of tons of different tsukemono recipes, if you prefer to try a pickle I haven’t detailed. Enjoy some pickles and let us know what you think in the comments below.


Helpful Tips for Making Misodoko

1. Separate the misodoko

Make sure to separate the pickling mixture/ marinade for vegetables (eat them raw ) and meat/fish (need to cook ). Or you can use new/newer misodoko for vegetables, and when it’s about to expire, use it for marinating meat and fish.

2. Use a glass container or resealable plastic bag

A glass container works great if you plan to use the misodoko for a long time. It is easy to put in or take out the ingredients and to transfer the misodoko out of the container if you need to cook off the moisture (see next). It also keeps the shape of fragile ingredient (such as a thin fillet of fish) intact.

A resealable plastic bag is good for a small amount of misozuke. Use just enough amount of misodoko to coat your ingredient and rub it against each other from outside the bag.

3. You can re-use misodoko for up to 1 month

The great thing about misodoko is that you can re-use it for up to a month! When the misodoko becomes watery from moisture released from the ingredients, all you need to do is to reheat in the pot over the stove and let the moisture evaporate. Let the misodoko cool before you use it to make Misozuke again.

4. Don’t throw away retired misodoko

When you’re done pickling with misodoko, you can use the marinade for seasoning your stir fry dishes or as a sauce for your dish for one last time. You just need to make sure to cook the sauce.

5. Remove excess misodoko (important!)

When you finish pickling meat/fish, make sure to remove any excess misodoko from the meat/fish before cooking. Miso will burn easily and you do not want your dish to be charred.


Methods for pickling tsukemono

Shiozuke involves using salt brines for preservation. Typically six tablespoons of salt is combined with every 4 cups of water to ensure thorough pickling.

Asazuke, which also involves salt pickling, uses less salt and a shorter pickling time, resulting in a milder taste and crunchier texture.

Nukazuke (rice bran) is a grain that is allowed to ferment and soften to preserve meat and vegetables. It resembles wet sand and often has kombu(kelp), ginger, or salt mixed in with it. Vegetables are fermented for up to several months to develop a deep sour taste.

Kasuzuke (sake lees) is a paste leftover from making sake. It is slightly alcoholic which allows vegetables to pickle for up to multiple years. It can host a variety of flavors from sweet to sour.

Shoyuzuke involves pickling vegetables in soy sauce. It usually takes up to one week to develop a strong flavor.

Suzuke pickles foods with the use of vinegar. Most kinds of vinegar and the final product is usually sweet and crisp.

Misozuke allows vegetables to be submerged in a fermented soybean mash for up to several months. The resulting pickle will be extremely pungent and has a strong miso taste.


Japanese Tsukemono

The tiny dish of tsukemono (“pickles”) that appears as part of every meal in Japan is not just an afterthought. Tsukemono, along with rice and soup, complete the culinary triumvirate of a traditional meal. Their vibrant color and sometimes pungent flavor play a pivotal role in balancing a meal’s overall effect. Often made using imperfect vegetables and items left over from other processes, tsukemono is a delicious example of the mottainai (“waste not, want not”) mentality that’s pervasive in Japan.

Sakekasu (photo by Joan Bailey)

Tsukemono is considered a raw food, even though the final product appears vastly different from its original form, and can take anywhere from hours to years to create. The vegetables are rarely, if ever, heated, and more often than not are subjected fresh and whole to one of several mediums: salt, nuka (“rice bran”), sake kasu (“sake lees”), and vinegar. The resulting fermentation process offers health benefits of its own and a safe means of storing food without refrigeration.

Shiozuke are salt-based pickles. Nearly all pickles begin with salt, which draws out the fluids from the vegetables to create brine, which allows them to better absorb flavors. Umeboshi (“pickled plums”) are perhaps the most famous member of this group, their tart saltiness a popular ingredient for onigiri (“rice balls”). Asazuke (“morning pickles”) is the quickest of the shiozuke family. Fresh vegetables—everything from cucumbers to eggplant to Chinese cabbage—are sliced and massaged with salt. A weight placed on top helps speed fermentation, and within a few hours, the pickles are ready. Citrus zest, togarashi (“hot peppers”), and konbu (“kelp”) add flavor and umami. Shibazuke, a Kyoto specialty, pickles eggplants and cucumbers up to one year in salt and akashiso (“red perilla leaves”), to achieve their distinct flavor and magenta color.

Umeboshi (photo by Joan Bailey)

Nukazuke (“rice bran pickles”) are home-style pickles fermented in a nukadoko —a bed of roasted rice bran left over from rice-polishing, salt, and konbu. Stirred daily, the nukadoko is a living organism similar to a sourdough starter, and is passed from generation to generation. Vegetables are rubbed with salt and buried whole in the nukadoko, where they remain anywhere from overnight to several months. Takuan , the bright yellow half moons of daikon (radish), is made from sun-dried daikon placed in the bed along with persimmon peels, kuchinashi no mi (“cape jasmine seeds”), or turmeric for color.

Kasuzuke (“sake lees pickles”), which is similar to nukazuke, takes advantage of leftover sake kasu. A similar bed or pot is made using sake kasu, salt, sugar, and mirin—where whole vegetables ferment. These vegetables, though, will stay in place for extended periods of time. The most famous of these is Narazuke , named for the former capital where Buddhist monks first developed them in the eighth century. Kasuzuke rests anywhere from one to three years, resulting in a dark-brown pickle with a pungent flavor. Cut into the thinnest of slices, it is a perfect companion to rice.

Takuan, asazkuke, and shibazuke (photo by Joan Bailey)

Suzuke (“vinegar pickles”) come in two kinds of vinegar, and are commonly used to make plain rice vinegar and umezu pickles, the bright red vinegar or brine leftover after making umeboshi. Rice vinegar is less acidic than Western types, and therefore has a slightly softer flavor. Gari , the paper-thin slices of ginger that accompany sushi, is made using young ginger that’s still pink around the edges, rice vinegar, sugar, and salt. The fermenting process accentuates the color.

Senmaizuke (“thousand-layer pickle”), another Kyoto dish, is made from kabu (“turnip”) brined in vinegar and sugar seasoned with konbu and togarashi. Beni shoga , the neon-pink, julienned slices of ginger often served atop Japanese curry, is brined in umezu for up to a few days.


Asian Pickles: Japan: Recipes for Japanese Sweet, Sour, Salty, Cured, and Fermented Tsukemono

If you&aposre a fan of Japanese food, you&aposre familiar with the delicious pickled vegetables in this cuisine. The author of this book tells how to make these delicacies without any expensive kitchen equipment or tools. It&aposs a guide for the novice, and she makes it sound manageable and easy to do. From traditional tsukemono such as Pickled Plums, to her own favorite recipes, such as Pickled Asian Pear with Lemon, you&aposll be sure to find something to make your mouth water or pucker. Solomon writes in a If you're a fan of Japanese food, you're familiar with the delicious pickled vegetables in this cuisine. The author of this book tells how to make these delicacies without any expensive kitchen equipment or tools. It's a guide for the novice, and she makes it sound manageable and easy to do. From traditional tsukemono such as Pickled Plums, to her own favorite recipes, such as Pickled Asian Pear with Lemon, you'll be sure to find something to make your mouth water or pucker. Solomon writes in a hip, fresh, and friendly style, making this seemingly difficult cooking project sound like a fun afternoon in the kitchen. She provides recipes for pickles that can be made in minutes and some that take longer. After reading this book, I'm willing to try making my own pickles.

Disclosure: I received this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. . more

Here is a small eBook that acts as a do-it-yourself guide to making a range of typical salty, sweet, tangy or spicy pickles and similar "dishes" from Japan.

The author, from the start, has the right idea, admitting that this is in no way a definitive guid, but more of a "mix tape" including her own favourites. This is something that works well in this ebook format as it has a low price and thus a very low "barrier to purchase". If you are intrigued about Japanese pickles a couple of dollars is a Here is a small eBook that acts as a do-it-yourself guide to making a range of typical salty, sweet, tangy or spicy pickles and similar "dishes" from Japan.

The author, from the start, has the right idea, admitting that this is in no way a definitive guid, but more of a "mix tape" including her own favourites. This is something that works well in this ebook format as it has a low price and thus a very low "barrier to purchase". If you are intrigued about Japanese pickles a couple of dollars is a very cheap taster. If you already know what you are getting into then it can be an even bigger bonus, a greater buy.

In this relatively compact book the author manages to cram in a great overview to a possibly unknown subject and cover the art of serving pickles and the basics behind the pickling art for good measure. It can be more than just dumping a spoonful or two on a plate. After a look at the typical ingredients that can be used then it is straight on to the recipes.

The recipes themselves appear to reach the mark (this reviewer is no expert in Japanese cuisine) and they certainly "talk the talk" whilst appearing to "walk the walk". Each recipe has an interesting, well-written and oft-personalised introduction or presentation and the "construction instructions" are easy-to-follow. Not every recipe features its own full-colour image, which is a shame. It would equally have been nice for more "serving and use" recommendations alongside each recipe, perhaps with a separate table at the end of the book to help educate the unwary. Whilst, no doubt, you could serve each pickle with whatever recipe you wish, yet there would be many recommended pairings or each social faux pas one should seek to avoid.

For the price of this little book there is not a lot to dislike. It has a great price, great coverage and acts as a great taster to a possibly hidden cuisine form. Why not try something new this week?

// This review appeared in YUM.fi and is reproduced here in full with permission of YUM.fi. YUM.fi celebrates the worldwide diversity of food and drink, as presented through the humble book. Whether you call it a cookery book, cook book, recipe book or something else (in the language of your choice) YUM will provide you with news and reviews of the latest books on the marketplace. // . more

My luck definitely has changed. for the better!

Finding this awesome book is like finding a real Gem, and I couldn&apost believe my luck! I devoured this in one sitting because being part asian, I love, love to learn the secret ingredients of many of my most favorite side dishes. One of them is Kimchi, a most popular side dish they serve at a Korean restaurants aside from the many scrumptious side dishes, which makes eating the main dish more delicious, they just balance and compliments each other. My luck definitely has changed. for the better!

Finding this awesome book is like finding a real Gem, and I couldn't believe my luck! I devoured this in one sitting because being part asian, I love, love to learn the secret ingredients of many of my most favorite side dishes. One of them is Kimchi, a most popular side dish they serve at a Korean restaurants aside from the many scrumptious side dishes, which makes eating the main dish more delicious, they just balance and compliments each other. I have already tried making kimchi and I can't seem to wait until its ready, including my family and friends whom I have told.

This is an array of many well liked preserves from different countries, a variety of cured, sweet and sour, salty and fermented preserves that all seem to be simple and so easy to make, even the novices will take delight making any of this. Each recipe comes with a fool-proof instructions, a selection of helpful resources, and more than seventy-five of the most sought-after pickle recipes from the East—Korean Whole Leaf Cabbage Kimchi, Japanese Umeboshi, Chinese Preserved Vegetable, Indian Coconut-Cilantro Chutney, Vietnamese Daikon and Carrot Pickle, and more. Asia has been known to be the pearl of the orient, well, this is Asian pickles GEM of the orient---and your passport to explore this region’s preserving possibilities. I can't recommend this enough even if I tried, get this, you will be so glad you did!


Preserving Tsukemono

Just like any ancient preservation method seen across the world, Tsukemono has been a way of Japanese people consumed nutrients and sodium when food was scarce. With the traditional and laborious methods becoming rare, it can be a challenge to find quality mass-produced tsukemono at the grocery stores these days. Regrettably, most of the store brands are made with artificial starters and other additives for quick fermentation. That said, we can still preserve t he ancient art of lacto-fermentation by making tsukemono from scratch at home. Be it a quick pickling or a more elaborate fermentation, it’d be a worth-while project to embark on!


Watch the video: Tsukemono Recipe - Japanese Cooking 101