Ingredients, dishes and drinks from Japan by Ad Blankestijn

Monday, March 5, 2012


Salt pickle. しおずけ、塩漬け。

The most common type of tsukemono, pickled vegetables (note that tsukemono are usually not spicy and therefore the translation "pickles" - though common - is in fact not the best. "Preserved vegetables" would be a better approximation). In the modular Japanese meal, pickles form a set with rice and miso soup.

Preserving vegetables with salt (shiozuke) is the easiest and most popular method. Sliced vegetables are salted and put under a weight in the pickling press (tsukemonoki). The pressure causes the vegetables to release their liquids which mixed with salt is turned into brine which preserves the vegetables. The salt is removed by washing before serving. Very light pickles can be made by just keeping them in the press for one night (ichiyazuke). [This is also called "asazuke", although asazuke are not only made with salt, but also with vinegar or rice bran. The original flavor of the vegetable is preserved in this way].

Any type of vegetable (or even sansai or mushrooms) can be used for shiozuke.

Some common examples of shiozuke are:

Hakusei-zuke - with Chinese cabbage, see photo below
Kyabetsu no shiozuke - with cabbage
Kyuri no shiozuke - Japanese cucumbers, either whole or cut in rings
Nasu no shiozuke - with Japanese eggplants