“Tsukemono” or Japanese pickles, have been loved by Japanese people for a long time. It is one of the typical side dishes that pairs well with rice and is often enjoyed with alcohol. Tsukemono is usually made with vegetables such as Japanese white radish (daikon), carrots, cucumbers, or whatever fresh vegetables are in season. Tsukemono is not a representative dish but is an indispensable way to enjoy Japanese cuisine.
There are different varieties of Tsukemono in Japan which are split into two categories. Without going into too much detail, one type of tsukemono requires days to months of fermentation, while the other requires just an hour or up to half a day. Today, we’ll introduce the latter, also known as “Asazuke” in Japanese.
Asazuke pickles are lightly pickled in seasoning (like salt, sugar, and so on) or a seasoning liquid (seasoning+water, vinegar, soy sauce, etc.). In this recipe, we will just use salt as a seasoning and salt water as the seasoning liquid. You can choose whether you just want to use salt or salt water depending on the vegetable.
This quick and easy type of Tsukemono is very convenient as you can make it with just a few ingredients. As Asazuke is a simple dish, the taste also depends on the quality and freshness of the vegetables you use. You can use what’s growing in your garden or vegetables in season at your local farmer’s markets. This time, we chose typical Japanese summer vegetables: cucumber, eggplant, okra, edamame, and cherry tomatoes.
When it comes to making this style of tsukemono at home, all you need to prepare is only vegetables you like and sea salt. For the “salt”, we recommend you use natural sea salt because it permeates easier into the ingredients than regular salt. It also gives the vegetables a unique savory taste. Just using salt is enough to make simple Tsukemono, but if you want to take things up a notch, you can add some other flavors like kombu seaweed, chili peppers, yuzu, ginger, sesame seeds, etc.
Enjoy using your favorite vegetables and making your own Tsukemono at home. Let us know in the comments below how your homemade Asazuke Tsukemono turns out!
Prep time: 25 mins
Cook time: 60 mins
Total time: 1hr 25mins
Total servings: 5
- 2 Cucumbers (25g) (cucumber tsukemono)
- 1 tsp Sea Salt (cucumber tsukemono)
- 5g Salted Kombu Seaweed, optional (cucumber tsukemono)
- Sesame Seeds, optional (cucumber tsukemono)
- 2 Eggplants (eggplant tsukemono)
- 200ml Water (eggplant tsukemono)
- 2 tsp Sea Salt (eggplant tsukemono)
- Chili Pepper, optional (eggplant tsukemono)
- 10 Cherry Tomatoes (cherry tomato tsukemono)
- 100ml Water (cherry tomato tsukemono)
- 1/2 tsp Sea Salt (cherry tomato tsukemono)
- 1 tsp Sugar (cherry tomato tsukemono)
- 10 Okra (okra tsukemono)
- 100ml Water (okra tsukemono)
- 1 tsp Sea Salt (okra tsukemono)
- 200g Edamame Beans, boiled (edamame tsukemono)
- 100ml Water (edamame tsukemono)
- 1 tsp Sea Salt (edamame tsukemono)
Salted kombu seaweed is very popular in Japan. Thinly cut salted kombu is perfect for use as a seasoning or condiment. Just adding it to any dish instantly boosts the flavor! Salted kombu not only pairs well with rice and green tea but also pasta, sautés, noodles, salad, and more. Use your creativity to make culinary masterpieces in the kitchen with salted kombu!
1) Gathering the Ingredients
Gather the vegetables you like, sea salt and some spices together.
2) Making Cucumber Tsukemono
Wash the cucumbers and wipe the excess water off of them with paper towels. Cut the cucumbers into 5mm slices.
Put the cucumber, salt, and kombu seaweed into a ziplock bag. Close the bag and shake to mix the seasonings so that the cucumber mixes well with the other ingredients. When evenly mixed, open the ziplock bag and close it again, this time getting rid of all of the air in the bag.
Place the ziplock bag on a tray and place a heavy object on top of it and keep it in the refrigerator. Let it rest for at least an hour, but letting it rest anywhere from 5 hours to overnight is preferable for a more pickled taste.
Transfer the cucumber tsukemono to a plate and sprinkle some sesame seeds if you’d like.
3) Making Eggplant Tsukemono
Cut the eggplants in half and then slice them into 5 mm-size pieces.
Put the sliced eggplants and salt into a ziplock bag. Lightly rub the eggplants with salt in the ziplock bag, then add the water and chili pepper and mix them together.
Close the ziplock bag while removing as much air from the bag as possible. Place the ziplock bag onto a tray and place a heavy object on top of it to allow the flavors to mesh together.
Same as the cucumber tsukemono, rest it in the refrigerator for at least an hour. Keep in mind that for a better flavor, pickling the eggplant for 5 hours or up to overnight is ideal.
Transfer the eggplant tsukemono to a plate and enjoy.
4) Making Cherry Tomato Tsukemono
Prick the skin of each tomato with a toothpick as in the picture. Boil a small pot of water while you are doing this.
Dip the cherry tomatoes into the boiling water and quickly transfer them into a bowl with cold water. This step allows us to easily remove the skins from the cherry tomatoes.
Mix salt, sugar, and water in a ziplock bag or jar, and then add in the cherry tomatoes. Make sure all cherry tomatoes are submerged in the seasoning water.
Keep the cherry tomato tsukemono in the refrigerator for at least an hour, or for 3 hours up to overnight for best results.
Transfer the cherry tomato tsukemono to a plate and enjoy.
5) Making Okra Tsukemono
Cut the hull and peel the edge of the okra like in the picture.
Blanch the okra for 1-2 minutes in boiling water. Immediately transfer them in an ice bath to help them keep their vibrant green color.
Add the blanched okra and salt into a ziplock bag. Lightly run the okra and salt in the bag, and then add water and mix everything together.
Close the ziplock bag while removing as much air from the bag as possible. Place it on a tray and let it rest for at least an hour in the refrigerator. For better flavor resting for 3 hours to up to overnight is preferable.
Transfer the okra tsukemono to a plate and serve.
6) Making Edamame Tsukemono
Boil the edamame for 4-5 minutes. Once cool to the touch, remove the soybeans from their shells.
Put the edamame, salt, and water into a container or ziplock bag, and mix everything together.
Close the lid or zipper while removing as much air as possible. Place it on a tray and set aside in the refrigerator.
You can enjoy it after letting it rest for an hour, but letting it rest for 3 hours to overnight is preferred.
Transfer the edamame tsukemono to a plate and serve.