Sweet and sour cucumber and wakame pickles (kyuuri to wakame no amasuzuke)

kyuuri_wakame_amasuzuke.sidebar.jpgThis Japanese sokusekizuke method of letting vegetables marinate in a vinegar-based marinade is similar to Western pickling methods, but there's no canning and sterilation and things involved since these are meant to be eaten within a couple of days like all quick pickles. The vinegar marinade is simply meant to enhance the flavors of the vegetables rather than preserve it for long keeping.

These cucumber pickles are sweet, sour and a bit salty all at the same time. The flavor is quite mild and fresh, so I can eat these several days in a row and not get tired of them. The wakame seaweed can be left out if you prefer, but makes a nice contrast to the cucumber while adding its own umami to the marinade.

The pickles can be eaten anytime from a couple of hours after putting them in the marinade to about 3 days later or so, if you keep it in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Sweet and sour cucumber and wakame pickles (kyuuri to wakame no amasuzuke)

Note: this amount of marinade is enough for one large English-style cucumber - the long, relatively thin kind that often comes shrink-packed in plastic. If you're using other cucumbers, aim for about 4 to 5 cups cut up.

The marinade:

  • 8 Tbs. rice wine vinegar (not sushi vinegar - read the label)
  • 1/2 tsp. dashi soup stock granules, OR 1 4 inch square / 10 cm square piece of kombu seaweed
  • 1 1/2 Tbs. sugar
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 4 Tbs. boiling water
  • 1 whole dried red chili pepper (optional; leave out if you don't want any spiciness)

Combine and mix until the sugar is melted.

The vegetables:

  • 1 large English-style cucumber
  • 2 Tbs. dried pre-cut wakame seaweed (fueru type or the kind that just requires soaking)

De-seed and cut up 1 English-style cucumber or equivalent other kind of cucumber. (Japanese cucumbers don't need de-seeding.)

Put the marinade in a small glass, ceramic or plastic bowl (not metal) or the good old ziplock plastic bag. Put the cucumber and wakame seaweed in. Stir or shake around, seal well and let marinade in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours or overnight.

Drain off the marinade and serve in small bowls. This should be eaten within 2-3 days.

Notes

You can reuse the marinade once: let it come to a boil, cool off, and put in fresh vegetables.

Besides cucumbers try sliced turnips, carrots, daikon radish, regular radish, etc.

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