Last Updated on August 11, 2021
Are you looking for an easy and healthy Japanese recipe? Try this Quick Pickled Cucumber with Ginger. This delicious and super refreshing pickles require only 4 ingredients to prepare in 20 minutes! It’s vegan and gluten-free.
There are many varieties of Japanese pickles. They are a typical side dish for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, basically any meals of the day! The most common veggies for the Japanese pickles are;
- Napa Cabbage
- Daikon Radish
Now, unlike the U.S. style pickles, the Japanese pickles are not too heavy on vinegar. In other words, they are pleasantly salty and preserved in the way that the natural flavor of the veggies are still there. There are many ingredients (methods) to make certain types of the Japanese pickles with.
- Fermented Rice Bran
- Sake Kasu (leftover bits from sake making process)
- Rice Koji
- Soy Sauce
- Hot Chili Peppers etc.
Quick Pickle (Asazuke)
Other than all the methods above, there is a quick & easy one. It’s called Asazuke [浅漬け]. It translates as “lightly pickled (vegetables)” which technically means “quickly picked vegetables.” It’s so minimum and simple that you can really enjoy the flavor of vegetables on it’s own.
The basic two ingredients for Asazuke are;
- Veggies (like cucumbers, cabbage)
That’s really all. Of course, you can add some other things as variations such as;
- Hot Chili Peppers etc.
For this recipe, we use ginger and vinegar to give some accent to the simple pickles.
To make Asazuke properly, you can pickle about 20-30 minutes up to 2-3 of hours. The way to pickle is to place all the ingredients in a bowl, massage gently, put a little weight (things like a plate) and wait. Or combine everything in a zipper bag, massage gently and wait.
For this recipe, we did something much simpler and easier than that. Combine cucumber with salt in a bowl, massage gently and waited 10 minutes to extract the natural cucumber juice (water.) Then, gently squeeze the cucumber to remove the excess water, combine with ginger and vinegar. Wait for an another 5 minutes. Done!
We like adding ginger and vinegar after extracting water from the cucumber so that we get more gingery & vinegary bite! Find your own way to find the taste that suits you!
How to Serve
Japanese pickles are always meant to be served with a bowl of plain Japanese rice! They are also a side dish of flavored rice dishes like maitake rice, rice bowls like maitake “Gyu-Don” style, or Japanese curry with rice.
Try other easy Japanese dishes!
Quick Pickled Cucumber with Ginger
- 9 oz English cucumber
- 1/2 tsp salt plus more if needed
- 1 1/2 - inch ginger knob peeled & julienned
- 1/2 tsp rice vinegar
- Partially peel the skin of English cucumber (optional but it absorbs the flavor better.) Cut it in half lengthwise. Use a grapefruit spoon (or teaspoon) to remove the core (seeds) and then slice the remaining flesh into 1/2-inch width.
- Transfer the cucumber to a medium bowl. Sprinkle salt on the cucumber. Massage gently and let it stand for 10 minutes at room temperature.
- Gently squeeze the cucumber to remove excess water. Add ginger and rice vinegar. Adjust the seasoning with more salt if needed. Mix well. Let it stand for another 5 minutes.
- Serve immediately or let it cool down in the fridge. Consume within 1-2 days.
- It’s best served with Japanese white rice.