Tsukemono / Japanese pickle recipes needed
May 9, 2012 8:20 PM   Subscribe

Give me your favorite tsukemono recipes, please.

I live in the US and can't afford any of the recommended, OoP cookbooks (e.g.) that were available here, so I'm turning to you, hivemind. Hit me we with your best tsukemono recipes!
posted by ryanshepard to Food & Drink (8 answers total) 32 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I like this method of pickling thin slices (ranging from paper-thin .75cm) of cucumber. It's mind-numbingly simple, and I generally find myself making it when I feel lazy.

-1/2 Cucumber
-Nakano Original Seasoned Rice Vinegar (or comparable rice vinegar)
-Kosher salt
-Red pepper flakes

1.) Peel skin from cucumber.
2.) Slice cucumber into pieces of equal thickness.
3.) Stack pieces in some sort of container (bowl, casserole dish, whatever.) Try to minimize the vertical height of the stacks.
4.) Cover with rice vinegar. (I tend to find that for 1/2 of an average cucumber, 1/2-3/4 of a cup of rice vinegar does the trick)
5.) Toss a dash of kosher salt in.
6.) Stir in at least 1tbsp of red pepper flakes. Adjust to taste. I'm known to put in as many as 3 tbsp, because I am a sucker for spicy food.
7.) Allow to rest. .75 cm slices are usually pretty good after 4-5 hours, but better if left overnight. Really thin slices can be done in just a couple hours.
posted by BrandonW at 10:16 PM on May 9, 2012 [3 favorites]

Brandon's method also works quite nicely with cabbage, carrots, and radishes. I add a pinch of sugar to mine, and often use ginger instead of red pepper. Unbelievably easy, but so delicious. It'll keep for a few days, as well, though it gets softer with age.

If you're in a real hurry, grab a mandoline and cut the cucumber as thin as you can. Warm the vinegar before you pour it over them, and allow them to cool while you make supper. Toss in some ice cubes at the last minute to chill, and unless you're doing something really fast, they'll be good to go by the time you're done cooking.
posted by MeghanC at 10:42 PM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Here's one of my favorites, from Easy Japanese Pickling. Quick and delicious.

Labaicai (Spicy Chinese Style)
10 oz / 300 g hakusai (Napa cabbage) stems
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
4 tbsp vinegar
1 tbsp sake
3 tbsp sesame oil
1 to 2 tsp Sichuan peppercorns (or substitute powdered sansho)

1. Cut hakusai into 2 in (5 cm) slabs
2. Mix next 4 ingredients in a big bowl
3. In the oil, cook peppercorns over low heat until fragrant. Raise heat and add hakusai stems just to coat in oil. Do not overcook.
4. Toss in the marinade while hot. Let stand 1 hour.
posted by vorfeed at 11:38 PM on May 9, 2012

Best answer: If you need a specific recipe from that book, send me a MeMail. I can't believe it's gotten so expensive, I purchased it for £5 a few years ago.
posted by Ms. Moonlight at 12:04 AM on May 10, 2012

Best answer: FYI, there's a different edition of that book available for around $20 used. Not sure why it's so much cheaper, maybe it's crap.
posted by Kimberly at 3:23 AM on May 10, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks, everyone - keep them coming!

... and thanks to Kimberly for pointing out the different ed. of the Shimizu book, which I'd overlooked (+ have ordered.)
posted by ryanshepard at 6:10 AM on May 10, 2012

I pretty often make a Korean-inspired brine that is:

2 parts water
2 parts soy sauce
1 part vinegar (usually rice vinegar, but I have used others in a pinch)
a little sesame oil
red pepper flakes

If the parts are 1/2 cups, it's about 1-2 tsps of oil and maybe 1/2-1 tsp pepper, and it's good for 1-2 smallish cucumbers sliced thin. I have also made it with shredded carrots and cucumber sticks, and, drained, it made a great relish for a cook out (kind of non-tsukemono-ish, I admit, but it's one way to get people who are afraid of "weird food" to try it). You could probably add other vegetables of your choice. It's a bit watery, good to eat after 24 hours, nasty after a week.
posted by GenjiandProust at 6:54 AM on May 10, 2012

Hey, the book you linked to in the OP (Quick & Easy Tsukemono by Hisamatsu - not the Shimizu book) shows up as in print and available for $11 to me (in the U.S.; Amazon Prime). Don't know if I'm missing anything, but I thought I'd point that out.
posted by deludingmyself at 10:38 AM on May 11, 2012

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