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Japanese Style Pickled Vegetables
Super easy pickling project anyone can attempt. Bottle fresh cucumber, carrot, celery, and red chilies into delicious Japanese pickle and enjoy it for a week long.
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
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.
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.
Japanese Style Pickled Vegetables
- 1-2 cucumber
- 1-2 carrot
- 1-2 celery stick
- 2 1/2 cup water
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 5 cayenne/bird-eye chilies
- Pickling juice
- 200 ml unseasoned rice vinegar
- 200 ml water
- 5cm x 5cm (2" x 2") kombu
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 2 tablespoon sugar
- 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. We want about 3 cups of vegetables.
- 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.
- 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.
- Storing the pickle: 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.
This... this is the best cucumber pickle I have ever eaten.
I had made some salt sumimono type pickles not too long ago (Basically just salt the vegetables and press them so the water comes out) so I have the kombu all ready for pickle making. I've always considered (US type) pickles something that needs to be from a jar/canned for some reason- but this is so good I feel sort of dumb for not trying this before.
I've never had pickled celery, and I feel like now I have finally seen the light. It soaks up the flavor amazingly, and it a great way to use up this rather unexciting vegetable. I wish I could make the carrot more exciting- it's such a dense vegetable that it doesn't get quite as flavorful as the others. I might cut it thinner next time, but it's worth adding because it contributes that natural sweetness to the rest of the jar.
I'll confess, I added a shake of MSG to mine and added a touch of minced ginger. Next time, I could add some garlic cloves, since I do like pickled garlic. It all fit perfectly in a big mason jar, so it's just a matter of what I can squeeze in there!
GOSH, I'm just so excited. There's so many possibilities from this recipe, and I LOVE pickles. I don't think I'll ever look at the pickles at the store the same way ever again.
I just love pickles - they go so well with so many things. This is a great selection of vegetables, too! Thanks for sharing :)
This is a great way to use up all the veggies we are growing at the moment.
This recipe was fabulous! The taste was absolutely delicious and it was easy to make. I will definitely be making again!
I love exploring different pickled recipes from around the world. I gotta try this one!
I can't wait to try this! I love pickled vegetables but haven't been brave enough to make my own. Love how quick and easy this is to make. Thanks so much for sharing your recipe.
Katie L. says:
Thank you for this awesome and easy recipe! It makes every meal delicious, and is a great way to add veggies to the mix!
Vy Maruyama says:
Thank you for the recipe! Would it be ok without Kombu? Thank you
Hi Vy, the kombu gives the pickle a bit of umami, but it is still quite delicious without the kombu if you can't find any. :)
Could you do a hot water bath boiled at 10 minutes to extend the shelf life? One week is good to make regularly, less easy for bulk pickling.
Hi Micheal, I think you should be able to do that. I haven't tried, so I can't tell you exactly how long the shelf life will extend with the water bath method.
It’s hard to find the chilies here, can they be omitted?
Hi Yoshi, certainly. It will still be tasty, just lacking a bit of spicy kick from the missing chilies.
Hi, I dont have rice wine vinegar it is ok if I subtittute it to apple cider vinegar? Thanks.
Hi Rycel, yes, you can use apple cider vinegar too.
I love how colorful these pickles are and the flavor is outstanding. The birds eye chili gave it the perfect amount of spice!
I had no idea that pickling Japanese style was this easy. I'll be making this a lot!
These veggies were so good! I love how simple and healthy these were! Yum!
Sara Welch says:
This was such an easy and inexpensive recipe! They turned out perfectly flavorful and crispy; easily, a new favorite recipe!
I love pickles so I knew I had to try this recipe out immediately I came across it! Our pickled vegetables turned out delicious, thank you!
Julia Dunaway says:
Has anyone made these using a hot water bath to extend their shelf life?
Cathy S says:
Rice vinegar is sweeter..add some sugar to your vinegar maybe.
Hi Cathy, feel free to adjust the sweetness of the pickle to your taste. You can add or reduce not only the amount of sugar, but the salt too to suit your preference.
This was such a delicious and easy recipe! Thank you so much!!
Do you add the brine while it’s hot off the stove, or do you let it cook a bit? I’ve tried quick pickling carrots before, and it lost some of the crisp crunch that we like so much.
Hi John, I usually add the brine right out from the stove, still bubbling hot. I'm not sure if the pickle will change in taste, but there shouldn't be much harm to wait for a tad longer (maybe ~ 5 minutes) from boiling state before adding the pickle brine to the vegetables.
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