An easy guide to making Tsukemono (Japanese pickles)

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I sometimes serve pickles alongside a martini as an accompanying snack. A pickled onion is the garnish of a Gibson Martini while I like Polish-style pickled gherkins on the side as well.

However, I am also a fan of Japanese pickles – tsukemono / 漬物 – which I tend to find more delicate than their robust European cousins, so I thought they would make an ideal counterbalance to a martini. They’re also quick and easy to make.

Here is a recipe for cucumber tsukemono:

-Prep time: about 15 mins
-Waiting around time: 15 more minutes and then 1-4 days

You will need
-1 British cucumber or 3 Japanese cucumbers
-Salt
-Rice vinegar
-Sugar
-Mirin (optional)

To prepare
-Wash and dry the cucumber.

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-Slice it into rounds, about the thickness of a British pound coin.

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-As British cucumbers are larger than their Japanese counterparts I slice the rounds in half as well.

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-Lay the slices out on a plate and sprinkle over 3 tsp salt.
-Leave for 15 minutes.
-Rinse off the salt and pat dry the cucumber with kitchen towel.

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-Mix half a cup of rice vinegar (or white wine vinegar as a substitute), with a dash of mirin (optional), 3 tbsp sugar and 1/2 tsp salt
-Stir with a non-metallic object (apparently metal reacts with the vinegar, changing its flavour). I use a wooden chopstick.
-Put the cucumber into a sealable container and cover with the vinegar mixture.

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-Leave to pickle for at least a day, although preferably for 3-4 days.

  
You can add a cup of wakame seaweed as well if you want.

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Once they’re ready, pick them out of the jar using clean chopsticks so you don’t contaminate the pickles. You can serve them on their own as a taster dish, or as a palate cleanser, between courses or as a side dish.

An accompanying martini is optional.

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Or is it?

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6 thoughts on “An easy guide to making Tsukemono (Japanese pickles)

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