Japanese Fermented Tsukemono made super easy

Learning how to make dishes in different countries is part of my travel experience and life. I was fortunate enough to be tutored briefly by a Japanese chef in Shojin Ryori style cooking and it was there  I learned this most basic of all dishes and my jaw dropped as to how easy this was! Seriously there are two ingredients and five minutes of prep that’s it!

Although what I am presenting is super easy I would never underestimate the years of training and skill involved in this style of Zen Buddhist cooking. This is a complete cheats way to achieving a similar result and makes this way of cooking accessible to us.

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Hakusai No Shiozuke

Hakusai No Shiozuke is Japanese pickled cabbage. I got so excited after making this I have been pickling everything I could employing this method. I posted earlier a recipe for fermented cucumbers on sticks. Also super easy, and a healthy summer snack.

The larger term for pickles is Tsukemono which literally means “fermented vegetables”  Fermentation is such a current topic today and it’s all about gut health. Recent visits to Japan have left me wondering how the Japanese are so healthy as there is an incredible amount of processed food in the diet and not too much of an abundance of fresh raw fruit and vegetables due to high costs.

Many countries that do not have an abundance of vegetables often have their version of fermented vegetables such as Kim Chi in Korea, Sauerkraut in parts of Europe and so on.

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Typical little plate of pickles served before a meal

Koji rice is cooked rice that gets inoculated with a mold which then ferments the rice. At least that’s a very basic explanation. This fermented Koji is used to make other more well-known foods such as miso, sake, soy sauce, and mirin.

Shio Koji can be made, but as this form of fermentation was new to me I think buying the already fermented product is probably much more efficient and safe. The brand I have found easily in Australia is this one    When I say easily, look in the Japanese food section of larger Asian stores…

Shio Koji

Shio Koji

There are a number of different recipes for Hakusai No Shiozuke available but this one is just the most simple is staggering.

Ingredients

Cabbage ( either wombok or regular)

Japanese Cucumbers ( or Lebanese)

Shio Koji

Ziplock bag

Slice the cabbage finely, about two cups full. Slice the cucumbers diagonally finely or on a mandolin. Put in a ziplock bag with about 1 Tablespoon of the koji rice, massage this well into the cabbage. Let this sit and gently shake from time to time. You will notice the cabbage becoming limper and eventually after about two hours it has turned into a pickle. Seriously that’s it!!!

Add variety like shredded carrots, chilli flakes, what ever you feel like. There you have it, a tasty Japanese Tsukemono. Have fun!

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Shojin Ryori lunch with the magic pickle in the centre

Cucumbers on sticks- kyuri asa-zuke

My new favorite, healthy summer snack…. Japanese pickles on sticks

 

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kyuri asa-zuke Japanese pickled cucumbers

 

So today I have found my new favorite summer snack! Tsukemono mean Japanese pickle, and this one is kyuri asa-zuke.These baby’s are whole, on sticks and sold at many festivals and markets.

Wouldn’t the world be a better place if we encouraged everyone to eat these rather than sugary ice lollipops?

They were divine, a crisp tart and lemony Flavours with just the right amount of crunch! I have adapted a basic recipe for this below… you can slice them or skewer them like the picture, either way, they won’t last long!

Wouldn’t the world be a better place if we encouraged everyone to eat these rather than sugary ice lollipops?

They were divine, a crisp tart and lemony flavours with just the right amount of crunch! I have adapted a basic recipe for this below… you can slice them or skewer them like the picture, either way, they won’t last long!

 

INGREDIENTS
* 2 Japanese or thin Lebanese cucumbers
* 1 tsp salt (depending on the size of cucumbers)
* Small piece of kombu (a special dried seaweed at most Japanese stores)
* Slices of lemon
INSTRUCTIONS
1. Wash the cucumbers
2. Wipe a small piece of kombu with tightly squeezed wet paper towel, and cut it into thin strips with scissors.
3. Put all the ingredients in a airtight bag, seal, and and massage to mix the contents well. Cucumber pieces start to release water immediately.
4. Without taking out the cucumbers from the bag, put the whole thing in a small bowl, and place something heavy on top. Within 1~3 hours the pickles are ready.
5. Skewer them and eat!