Minty Carrot Tsukemono

There many kinds of Japanese pickles (漬物). Pickles add a diversity of color, shape, and texture to a meal, even to the most basic Japanese meal of rice, miso soup, and pickles. 

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While some pickles are made especially to preserve food, others celebrate the time of year by transforming the best seasonal vegetables into annual traditions to look forward to: garlic-miso radishes, vinegared julienne potatoes, turnip and persimmon acharazuke, broccoli and apple acharazuke, and many others.

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Japanese pickles play a role similar to Korean banchan, making a dinner more than the sum of its parts. They are like little salads—almost as if one picked out the best most flavorful items without having to chew through the acres of greens, drenched in oil based dressings.

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Following are some of the different methods used to make Japanese pickles.

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One sort takes time to ‘ripen’ a rice-bran mash. Vegetables such as Chinese cabbage, eggplant, cucumber, green peppers, etc. are buried in the fermented mash and ready to eat the next day. Apparently there is a commercial product (nuka doko) with the mash ready to use.

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Another type of pickle involves repeated layers of vegetable, salt, rice-bran in a crock. A lid placed on top is weighed down for a month. These pickles might last 2 or 3 months if kept cool.

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Salt alone might be used to pickle vegetables. A large amount of salt with cabbage or mustard greens can make a brine which will keep the food for a month or two. A small amount of salt can be used to ‘pickle’ or transform a vegetable in a very short time.

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Other media are used for making quick pickles, including soy sauce, vinegar, or miso, Ready made ingredients add to the variety; ingredients such as dried shrimp, smoked squid, salt-preserved shiso berries, umeboshi…

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Orange-Mint Ribbons
Tori Nambon-zuke
Easy Japanese Pickling
•in five miutes to one day•
by Seiko Ogawa
page 36
serves 4

  • 3 Tablespoons raisins
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil (3 in original recipe)
  • 4 Tablespoons orange juice
  • 1 Tablespoon vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 carrots, peeled
  • 2– 3 Tablespoons mint, chopped finely
  • sprigs of mint for garnish

Rinse raisins in warm water, drain, and pat dry.
Combine liquids and salt in a small bowl.
Cut carrots in half. Make ribbons with a peeler or a mandoline. Put the carrots into a strainer. Immerse in boiling water for several seconds. Add to the dressing with raisins and mint.
Let cool. Serve garnished with sprigs of mint.


2 thoughts on “Minty Carrot Tsukemono

  1. These look really good! I would never have thought of putting raisins in tsukemono but I bet they go well with the carrots. I’ll have to check out that book some time.

    This is my first time commenting here but I’ve been reading your blog for a while now. I also linked to you from mine – hope you don’t mind!

    • Hi Jessica,

      Raisins or other fruit apparently are used to add natural sweetness. I think that tsukemono made with sweetened vinegar are ‘acharazuke.’ (?)

      I like this book: simple straightforward and easy. Lots of interesting combinations like this recipe. But I’m also thinking I’d like the book in the http:// link at the bottom of this post. It looks like it has more detailed information.

      I will also put you on my blog-links; your blog is looking very informative / interesting / friendly…

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