Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Japanese Cucumber Pickles

From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...I love crisp pickles and the storage fridge in our garage almost always holds a quart or two of my favorite quick-fix dills. Kirby cucumbers were available at all the markets this weekend, so my project for the morning was to replenish our stash while the cucumbers were plentiful. For as much as I love pickles, I only make them when special varieties of cucumbers are available. In theory, pickles can be made with any cucumber, but I prefer to use varieties specifically developed for brining because their skins are less bitter and they contain fewer seeds. It's a "princess and the pea" thing. While I was making the dills, I also put together a quick Japanese pickle that I use as a relish for chicken or turkey burgers. Pickles are common throughout Asia and the gentle heat of this wasabi flavored pickle is especially popular in Japan. The pickle is mildly hot and more thinly sliced than most Western-Style pickles. Because I planned to use them as a crisp substitute for relish, I used a mandoline to slice mine paper thin. These pickles are extraordinarily easy to make and they are delicious addition to meals that center on grilled meat. The wasabi powder can be found in any Asian grocery and it is also available online. The good news is that once you have it it will last forever. This recipe is really simple but it will produce a wonderfully crisp and delicious pickle.  Try to use the pickles within a day of making them. They lose color if they sit for too long a time. That caveat aside, I hope you will give the recipe a try. Here's how the pickles are made.

Japanese Cucumber Pickles...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of Maggie Ruggiero and Gourmet Magazine

1 pound Japanese or Kirby cucumbers (about 5)
1/2 teaspoon wasabi powder
1/2 teaspoon water
2 tablespoons rice vinegar (not seasoned)
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon soy sauce

1) Very thinly slice cucumbers crosswise with slicer; toss with 1 teaspoon salt and drain in a colander 15 minutes. Rinse cucumbers under cold water, then squeeze handfuls to remove excess water; pat dry.
2) Stir together wasabi powder and water in a bowl and let stand 5 minutes. Add vinegar, sugar, and soy sauce, whisking until sugar has dissolved. Add cucumbers and toss well. Yield: 6 servings.

One Year Ago Today: French Lemon Tart and  Pate Sablee

Two Years Ago Today: Grapefruit Sorbet

Three years Ago Today: Swedish Meatballs


Coleens Recipes said...

What an interesting post!! I've been playing around with pickling this fall and any/all hints and info I can get is really appreciated, so thank you!!

Big Dude said...

"I love crisp pickles" - I feel the same way and no matter how good it may taste, a non-crisp pickle doen't cut it for me - I quit making them for that very reason. We've been using a white variety using old heirloom seeds from North Carolina that is sweet, doesn't get bitter, and stays crisp. They look odd but make great dill pickles.

Alessandra said...

I made them often, but just with salt! Maybe I have really simple tastes :-)


Diane said...

Mmmmmm I bet that tastes good. I never planted any cucumbers this year but I will print this off and keep it for next year. Thanks Diane

StephenC said...

I am among the select few who have not one, but two, containers of wasabi powder in my fridge. Can't find Kirbys here right now, but I'm tempted to try these with English cukes.

Unknown said...

Ooohhh... these sound delicious, Mary! I love the use of wasabi..I think it gets over looked in too many occasions!!

Ellen B Cookery said...

My husband has a very similar recipe that he learned while growing up in Belgium. It's very delicious!

kitchen flavours said...

Oh my! I love pickles! And these looks so yummy! I have not tried wasabi in pickles before, how very interesting! Thanks for sharing!

Shug said...

No cucumbers around here this year. the last ones I planted turned into huge squash looking things...I planted them next to the squash and they cross polinated..Not good!
These look great!

Gloria Baker said...

I love it! and what nice colors Mary!

teresa said...

my daughter just loves cucumbers and vinegar. i bet she would love this variation too, they look great!

Susan Lindquist said...

Mary ... do you use non-iodized salt in your pickles? I have always been told by my mother that I must as the pickles won't be crisp, otherwise.

France@beyondthepeel said...

I just got a couple of Japanese pickles in my bin this week. This sound delightful and I simple love wasabi.

Jeanette said...

I've been making lots of Asian pickles this summer with all the fresh produce - I like the wasabi in this recipe Mary - will have to give this a try. Hope you are enjoying the remainder of summer!

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