We have so many varieties of pickled vegetable in Japan with diverse ingredients, techniques, and localities. The main difference from the western pickles is that Japanese pickles is mainly salty and not overly sour.
Asazuke is the quickest and simplest type of pickle, and it’s super easy to make at home. It’ll require only 15 minutes to cook, and will be ready to eat in 3 hours after leaving it in the fridge. Enjoy its freshness and crunchiness like salad. A hint of garlic and ginger gives an interesting twist to this recipe.
Eat asazuke cabbage like a salad, and the great thing is it’s oil free, therefore much lower in calories than a salad dish.
This recipe requires no special ingredient. So, there is no excuse not to try asazuke yourself!
NB: The featured picture shows the asazuke left in the fridge for 3 hours.
Cooking Time: 15 minute
Cooking Level: Very Easy
100g Sweetheart or pointed cabbage
½ or 1 tsp Salt
2 small cloves of Garlic (or 1 large clove)
Chili Pepper Flakes *optional
- Remove the hard part of the cabbage leaves and chop roughly. Peel the skin of the ginger and chop roughly. Crush the garlic with a knife, making sure the blade is facing away from your hand. Remove the skin. If you are not sure how to crush garlic, Have a look at this website.
- Put the chopped cabbage, salt, ginger and garlic in a food bag and close tightly. Rub the contents with hands. Place the bag in a fridge for at least 3 hours.
- Squeeze excess liquid out of the cabbage. Arrange on a serving plate. Sprinkle chili pepper flakes if you like.
- Leaves of pointed or sweetheart cabbage come off easily. Remove the required amount only, and save the rest for next times.
- Make sure you squeeze all excess water before serving.
- I use the least amount of salt for this recipe for you to eat a lot of asazuke like salad.
- Alternatively, you can leave it longer in the fridge, up to overnight. Its texture becomes softer and its flavour develops.
Topic 1: Japanese pickles
Basic Japanese pickles are to pickle cut vegetables with salt, vinegar, sake lees, or anything else. By pickling, vegetables can be preserved for longer, as well as it enhances their flavour.
Pickles are one of the most important side dishes in Japanese food culture. It’s said that people has been making pickles since ancient periods. A written record regarding pickles appeared in the 8th century. During the Edo period, common Japanese people’s eating style was called ‘ichi shiru issai’, literally means one soup and one side dish. The soup is miso soup and the side dish means pickles in this context. This simple eating style is reappraised as a healthy eating style in recent Japan.
Since pickles are necessary on our daily table; there are so many types of pickles all over Japan, and some of them are prized as local delicacies.
Topic 2: Salt
Do you think salt is just salt? Well, there are roughly three types of salt; sea salt, rock salt, and lake salt. They are produced from different sources with different methods, and actually taste different. Recently, people in Japan have taken a keen interest in salt. They try, not only different types of salt, but also flavoured salt including salt and black sesame seeds, salt and dashi stock, and salt and maccha. Why not try an interesting combination of salt yourself?