Ingredients, dishes and drinks from Japan by Ad Blankestijn

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Fukujinzuke

Fukujinzuke, a pickle (tsukemono) of seven kinds of vegetables (as there are “Seven Deites of Good Fortune,” fukujin), the fixed companion of curry dishes. Pickled in soy sauce and mirin. Has a crunchy texture. Vegetables used are daikon, eggplant, cucumber, etc. The number seven is more symbolical than real. One of the most populat pickles in the Japanese cuisine.

Fukijinzuke
[Fukujinzuke]

Invented in 1672 by Ryo-o Dokaku, a priest of the Obaku Zen-sect, who put this on the menu of students living in Kaneiji in Edo and who originally used the leftovers of vegetables as daikon, cucumber etc., drying them and cutting them very small.

In the Meiji-period the dish was picked up by a popular tsukemono shop near Shinobazu Pond in Ueno. As this was a lucky place thanks to the Benten Hall, and as you needed no other vegetables with your rice anymore so that you could save money, the pickles were called "Seven Deities of Good Fortune," as they would make you rich - or so goes one explanation.

At the end of or just after the Meiji-period, NYK started serving the pickle together with curry on its European passenger lines, and so the fixed combination with curry was born.