Summer in the US can get very hot. Instead of cooking and spending my time in front of a hot stove, I make pickles instead.
Today I am going to share a recipe for Japanese style pickled vegetables (和風ピクルス), which is easy and perfect for new cooks. You won’t need any specialized tool other than a cooking pot, a knife, and a cutting board. It is also a fun way to enjoy some fresh vegetables.
Ingredients for Japanese pickled vegetables: cucumber, carrot, celery, red chilies, rice vinegar, sugar, salt, and kombu seaweed.
Ingredients for Japanese pickled vegetables
Japanese pickle usually contains cucumber, carrot, celery, and red chilies. And the pickling juice is a simple mix of rice vinegar, sugar, salt, and kombu.
Use Japanese cucumbers if possible. You can also use common garden cucumbers or Kirby/pickling cucumbers.
There are two kinds of Japanese rice vinegar, unseasoned rice vinegar, and seasoned rice vinegar. We will use unseasoned rice vinegar to make this pickle.
Kombu is a type of dried seaweed widely used in Japanese cuisine. If you regularly prepare homemade dashi (Japanese stock) from scratch, you should be very familiar with this seaweed.
Store Japanese pickled vegetables in clean glass jars in the fridge for up to a week.
How to prepare Japanese pickled vegetables
1. Prep the vegetables
Wash and scrubs cucumber skin to remove any wax, remove the seeds and cut into batons. Peel carrot, then cut carrot and celery sticks into batons about the same size as cucumber batons.
2. Salt the vegetables
Combine 2 1⁄2 cups of water with a tablespoon of salt in a mixing bowl. Soak cucumber, carrot, and celery batons in the salt solution for two hours.
3. Pickle the vegetables
To make the pickling juice, boil rice vinegar, water, kombu, salt, and sugar in a pot. Remove the piece of kombu right before boiling.
Drain and pat dry vegetable batons. Arrange into glass jars along with red chilies. Fill the jars with pickling juice and seal. You should be able to fill three 8-ounce glass jars.
Once the jars are cool, store in the fridge for at least one night before serving. The pickle should be fresh for up to 1 week.