Archives for the day Thursday, December 17th, 2009

Japanese Pickles (Tsu ke mo no)

 I like Tsukemono (aka Pickles in English). Japan has many different kinds of Tsukemono/pickles using different kinds of food ingredients with different kinds of brine. One thing I realized as difference between pickles in Japan and pickles in here is that pickles here is vinegar brine as staple method while Japanese pickles are salt kelp (use salt and kelp ; kombu) or miso or rice bran brine.

 We often use horse radish,Nappa cabbage, cucumber as staple pickles ingredients and ferment to add stronger flavor to the pickles.

 Common pickles you may encounter at Japanese restaurant is Takuan, which is dried horse radish (dried daikon radish) that were pickled in rice bran and salt,and it is yellow color. It has texture when you bite it. This is one of my favorite Tsukemono (pickle). You can see how it is made with picture here. Basically, you hang the horse radish(Daikon radish) that has leaves still attached for 1 week, make brine which consist of rice bran,salt,kelp(kombu),dried fruits peel to add flavor, red chili pepper,put brine a bit on bottom,line up Daikon radish and just like you make lasagna, make layer of daikon radish,rice bran brine mixture,daikon radish, rice bran brine mixture,then finish off the layer with rice brine and add heavy stone called Tsukemono ishi which probably weigh as much as 44 lbs on top,and place lid on and ferment.

 Another staple pickle in Japan is called Umeboshi (pickled plum). This pickle is salty/sour and often eaten a little bit on bed of rice. This is also common filling for Onigiri (rice ball). Umeboshi is round, reddish color and pickled with salt kelp (kombu) or salt shiso (herb leaf is added to add flavor) combination. You can see how it is made with pictures here. Basically, take green ume fruits and, pick each stem on top center out, sit ume fruits in mixture of sake and salt and place ume fruits layering ume fruits,salt,ume fruits,salt,finish it with salt on top. Then,place a one bit smaller sized lid than pickled base and put Tsukemono ishi (weight stone) on top, and common brine period seems to be 2 weeks long. Then often time,people add clean water squeezed shiso (herb leaves translated to word “Perilla” in English. You can find green shiso leaves and purple shiso leaves at Asian stores. Green one is good for tempura dish, purple one is good for pickling) to ume base and shiso makes ume fruits redder. I remember my grandmother and mother used to make their own Umeboshi but I do not remember in detail how it was made. It must have been fun if I could participate in pickling ume fruits.

 There is more different kinds of pickles in Japan. You can visit wikipedia page here to see the list of Tsukemono and you can read about each Tsukemono in Japan.

Bookmark and Share

Dec 17, 2009 | 0 | Uncategorized