Japanese Pickled Cucumbers きゅうりの浅漬け

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Japanese Pickled Cucumber | JustOneCookbook.com

The Japanese usually serve several kinds of pickled dish along with white rice.  Although Japanese restaurants or supermarkets here in the US don’t offer many varieties, there are a ton of selection in Japan.  In fact, we have specialty stores that just sell various types of pickles!

Today I am sharing a very simple Japanese pickle recipe that you can also enjoy at home.  It’s a refreshing side dish, or we call it Hashi Yasume which literally means “chopsticks break.”  This dish usually contrasts in flavor, texture, and temperature to the main dish and we eat Hashi Yasume between rice and main dish, and between rice and other side dishes, alternatively.  Hope you enjoy this homemade side dish.

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Japanese Pickled Cucumber
Prep time
Total time
Serves: 3
  • 1 English cucumber
  • 2 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. sesame oil
  • ½ tsp. La-Yu (Japanese chili oil, see Pantry), more for spicier
  • ½ tsp. sugar
  • White sesame seeds
  1. Peel the cucumber. Instead of peeling all the skin, alternate so it looks nice. Cut the cucumber in Japanese cutting technique called Rangiri.
  2. (Optional) Sprinkle very tiny bit of salt over and rub, and leave for a few minutes. Then squeeze the water out (you don’t need to wash it because you only use a tiny bit of salt).
  3. Combine all the ingredients for Seasonings in a Ziploc bag and mix well.
  4. Add the cucumbers inside and rub from outside the bag. Keep in the fridge for 1-2 hours but do not marinate too long as it gets too salty.
Recipe by Namiko Chen of Just One Cookbook. All images and content on this site are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission. If you’d like to share this recipe on your site, please re-write the recipe in your own words and link to this post as the original source. Thank you.


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  1. Hi :) I found your blog through Suzana’s firefly blog… i must say i love what i’ve seen & read on your blog so far! until i read the 7 things abt you, it didn’t even cross my mind that you were not a native English speaker! Great going :) Love your recipes too… I look forward to having you over at my blog, sharing your comments! I’ll be back here for more :)

  2. Nami, your cucumber dish sounds amazing! YUM. And it was fun to learn more about you…I enjoy how you write…feels like I’m talking to you!

    • Hi Liz! Thank you. :-) I can’t really write nice formal English sentences so it seems more like “talking” when I write. Haha. Thank you for coming by my site Liz!

  3. Aww, I love your blog! Cucumbers are really tasty, especially when they are fresh! I had no idea you struggled with English, I couldn’t tell at all-you seem so fluent!!
    I am only 5’3 or 5’4 so I’m short too :) Also, my little sister and I LOVE going to Target!!
    Have a GREAT weekend :)

  4. My darling Nami. Thank you so much. I don’t know what to say except thank you. After travelling a little bit I have come to realise that anybody that can speak more than one language are geniuses. You write from your heart and it shines through your cooking, pictures and words. Thank you for you. Your children are lucky to have you as their mum.

    umm, I’m not sure what to write about for the seven things… I talk too much too. that’s why I needed a blog. LOL!

    • Hi Amy! You totally deserve all kinds of awards. :-) Thank you for your kind words. I’m looking forward to getting to know you with 7 facts about you!

  5. I LOVE Japanese pickled cucumbers :) I had them once at the friends house (a long time ago) and I was trying to replicate the recipe, but sadly only used soy sauce and sesame seeds LOL Thank you for sharing this, because now I know that there are extra ingredients that make this extra special, can’t wait to try it :)

    I always love reading about you. Same as you English is my second language so I hear you about all that. I always double question myself if I wrote something correctly or if I speak right 😉
    I drive SUV 😉 Hubby just couldn’t deal with a mini van, we had one for 2 years.
    I love going to Target, my other two guilty pleasures are T.J. Maxx and Marshalls.
    Dance??? I try LOL Sing, I can do better than dance LOL
    I can talk a lot too :) I think that is why we love blogging ROFL it lets us talk :)
    And yea, I have to say I’m not short, I do wish I was shorter though LOL because at 5’11” I usually stand out 😛

    • Hi Suzana! I hope you like this pickled cucumber. Haha thank you for reading about me. I actually didn’t know English was not your first language until I got to know you. When we had 1 kid, I enjoyed riding a SUV too. When my daughter was born, my mom was visiting from Japan. It was too tight for 5 of us in the SUV, so we bought a mini van then. >_< I go to T.J.Maxx too and it's one of my favorite store. Oh my goodness you are so tall! We are almost a foot difference… 😮 I so envy you…. Thanks for writing Suzana. :-)

      • LOL I wish I was shorter, really. Especially when I’m shoe shopping, I LOVE high heels but with my height it gets tough 😛 and I tried so hard LOL but somehow running after a kid in heels is just not good ROFL

    • Hi Jamie! Oh yeah that sounds so good right now…(2am)! It’s perfect Yashoku (night snack)… It’s my first time to hear “koko” but pickled vegetables are called “Oshinko”, so maybe Koko comes from that word in Hawaii.

    • Hi Lindsey! Hahaha! I’m a housewife and I have to watch out budget and Japanese cucumbers are so expensive…. LOL. The closest thing (texture and taste) is English cucumber and it’s actually not bad at all. But I won’t use regular American cucumbers for pickles though… :-) Thank you for your kind words too!

      • I normally buy them from the Farmers market from the Japanese veggie people so it’s not so bad. If you have persian area by you, the persian cucumbers are also similar in texture and normally super cheap!

  6. Nami, I’m so happy to have “met” you! Thank you so much for the wonderful comments you left on our blog today. I usually check my emails on my phone in the AM as I”m waiting with my daughter for school (we drop her brother off first and then have about 18 minutes together) and you made our day!
    I would never have known that you struggle with English. However, one of my best friends is Japanese and even with 25 years here in California she still struggles. When she emails me I can “hear” her accent in the writing, I always like it. You used a phrase or two that she uses.
    I’m eager to try these pickled cucumbers! Maybe I will surprise my friend Naomi next time she is over. Congrats on the awards, from what I can see they are very well deserved!

    • Hi Kim! Thank you for your kind words. Well, I’m here almost 14 years (I think)….and it doesn’t seem like my English is getting any better. LOL. I think I came here too late to learn and pick up language. I hope Naomi-san will enjoy this pickles! :-)

  7. My granddaughter loves pickles, I will have to try this one for her. Congrats on all of your awards you really deserve them. I enjoy your blog and would’ve never thought you struggle with English. You’re also funny as all get out!

    • Hi Sandra! Thank you. :-) It takes time for me to read and write in English… I am really slow… But hopefully by reading everyone’s posts in English will help my reading skills at least! 😉

  8. I like that mixing in the Ziploc bag! My friend prepared Chinese cucumber salad before and it has almost the same ingredients. Sesame oil, soy sauce, sugar and chili oil! This is nice for summer :)

    P.S Seems that Soramame and Fava beans are similar.

    • Hi Tigerfish! I know! Mixing in a Ziploc bag will marinade evenly and easy to rub without making your hands messy. Thanks for letting me know about fava beans & soramame. :-)

  9. That’s why I especially like Japanese (and Korean) foods, we always get delicious side dishes like this! And thank you for sharing a little bit about yourself…! Like you I am no dancer, I blame my mum that she didn’t let me do ballet even though I begged her everyday when I was young – just kidding…;). So now I can only play the piano but no ballet…:(. You know what? I always wanted to do ballet because of the ballet-themed manga which I read when I was younger, called Mari Chan by Kimiko Uehara I think, maybe you’ve heard of this comic?

    • Hi CG! At least you can play a piano and have good music skills while I fail in both. LOL. I didn’t know about Mari-chan but I Googled it and the picture looks familiar but maybe because Uehara Kimiko is very popular manga artist. Thanks for writing more about you. :-)

  10. Laura

    Hi Nami! Thanks for liking me on Facebook! I’ve done the same for you. I’ve never cooked Japanese food before, but your blog might just give me the courage to give it a try! I miss eating at all the great Japanese restaurant in the Bay Area. We don’t have very many options now that we live in North Carolina.

    I also wanted to add, that I never would have guessed that you struggle with writing in English. You’re doing a great job!

    • Hi Laura! Thanks for your compliment. :-) I hope I can post some recipes of your favorite Japanese food so you can try in North Carolina. Yes, I agree… I’m very spoiled in the Bay Area eating Japanese food and getting all kinds of Japanese ingredients for cooking Japanese food daily…

  11. It definitely doesn’t seem that English is a second language for you when I read your blog! And plus… the food speaks for itself – and that’s a universal language! =)

  12. OK First, BEAUTIFUL photo!! I love this recipe. I learned in Istanbul that the Turkish people pickle EVERYTHING!! I actually really love pickled cucumbers. I have never pickled anything before! Im so happy that you were able to get exposure from the award i gave you! When I received my first one I was so happy for all the people that were able to find my blog. Its a wonderful little blogging community! Also, you are doing so wonderfully blogging in English. Maybe I should try to do some blogging in Hebrew because I am having such a hard time learning the language!!

    • Hi Beth! Welcome back! I can’t wait for your new post about your trip. :-) You might get addicted to pickles and you probably are already. Yes, thanks to you, my website was exposed to many people. I will never forget that. Thank you!

  13. I love japanese pickles. I have never used the rangiri method to cut cucumber…new thing to try! This is one of our favorite condiments with japanese meals. I tried making pickled daikon but it was a major fail. cucumber is much nicer :-)
    About your 7 things note- we have somethings in common- I am 5 foot but really 5 ‘ 1/2 ” so …i am taller :-) I drive a HUGE mini-van and want to get something smaller. I watch two preschoolers and often fill my van with people so it is hard to think about losing it but I don’t like driving or parking. I think your english on the posts is excellent. I spent 6 months trying to learn japanese. I couldn’t do much with it! :-)
    Great job on your blog–I love it!!!

    • Hi Denise! I’m glad you are interested in different way of cutting – at first I wasn’t sure if I should even put up cutting techniques…but since I can’t explain well with words I decided to post with pictures. Daikon is difficult to pickle as it’s harder and some Daikon sold in the US are bitter to eat raw (not so delicious either). Ha ha you and I are about the same height and you are a bus driver like me! You studied Japanese? I’m happy to hear you were interested to learn my language. We can practice together than. 😉 Arigato for your comment!

      • Yes one of my jobs was working at Colorado State university coordinating a program for Japanese students. I picked up a bit of Japenese growing up and hosting dozens of students over the years. Then studied it with a friend before I went to Japan for a month. By the way, Yokohama was lovely! It was one of my favorite cities in Japan.

        • Wow so you are familiar with foreign students back then. I started from there getting help by those coordinators. I knew nothing about American college. I was so brave back then. It’s been 14 years since then… I can’t believe I ended up being here. Haha. I’m happy someone visited my home city. 😀 I miss home…but SF is a nice place to live. I look forward to getting to know you more! :-)

  14. The cucumber pickle sounds like a very appetizing sidedish! It is so easy to prepare too.

    Congrats on all your awards! I enjoyed reading a little more about you. Definitely can’t tell from your pictures that you are so petite. :)

    • Thank you Biren! Haha actually “petite” is a nice compliment which I think it doesn’t fit me… I’m eating too well Biren. 😉 I wish I kept a typical Japanese petite girl size… Duh… 😀 LOL

  15. This looks great! Can you make it without the chili oil? I’ve never heard of it before…but it sound interesting!

    I like your blog, btw! I have never been here before and it’s lovely!

    • Thank you Charissa for your kind comment! Yes you can do without it, if you prefer non-spicy. I’m not very good with spicy food, so I only put little bit too. Any type of chili would work, if you want spicy taste. :-)

  16. Hey Nami! Found you through ‘Sinfully Spicy’ and Loved your blog!
    I am Indian and vegetarian and haven’t really tried Japanese food much. But i would love to cook some of your recipes at home. I love the sound of many of your dishes. They sound really delicate and simple!
    Will subscribe to your blog and introduce some Japanese food into our home!
    Thank you

    • Hi Chinmayie! Thank you for stopping by! Japanese food is not fully vegetarian, but we do eat a lot of vegetables (even vegetable roots!) in our daily food. If you omit meat from the dish, you can almost create vegetarian food with the same seasonings. :-) It’s very nice to meet you!

  17. Leigh

    I love your blog. Growing up my best friend was and is Japanese American. Her mom is an amazing cook. I love to cook, but I hate bothering my friend for recipes because we are all busy with our children. Plus most of her recipes she just knows from watching her mom cook. Now I don’t have to bother her. Also, meeting a lot of her Japanese family I’m sure your English is much better than you think. I know this is an old post so I hope you still don’t feel that way.

    Will the cucumbers give off a lot of liquid? I find when I make a cucumber salad that it gets so watery.


    • Leigh, thank you so much for your kind words! I’m really happy to hear that you think my blog is useful. THANK YOU! I think after blogging (reading and writing more), my English might be improved slightly… or that’s what my husband said when he edits my English these days. Sometimes I spend hours staring at the same paragraph… but I guess this happens even when I write in Japanese. =D

      I’m not sure where you are, but I think American cucumbers have more watery, so I always use Japanese cucumbers or English or Persian cucumbers. You can sprinkle very tiny bit of salt over and rub, and leave it out for a few minutes. Then squeeze the water out (don’t need to wash it because you only use a tiny bit of salt). This method works for salad as well. :-)

  18. I_Fortuna

    I love Japanese pickles and finally bought a Japanese pickle press. This makes the crispiest pickles and they are very inexpensive. I remove the seed core and slice the cucumber very thin, salt between layers and wait about an hour, drain and rinse with fresh water. I put them in a jar with water to cover and a little salt and vinegar. I also use the press for pressing tofu and eggplant. These pickles are a great snack for those watching their weight. Thanks for the recipe.

  19. Janice

    Hi Nami,
    I know that this is an old post but I had a craving for Japanese pickles and immediately went your blog to find a recipe. I made these the other night and they were great! Looking forward to trying your other pickle recipes.
    By the way, I’m only 5’2″ so I know what you mean about being short. And my dad owns a Sienna, which I have driven a few times, and I agree about it being a bus for someone our height =)
    Your English is excellent, Nami, and I think it’s so awesome that you challenge yourself to this blog even when you’re not that comfortable with your writing sometimes.

    • Hi Janice! It is old! 😀 Thank you for trying this recipe and I’m glad you liked it. :) I wish I am taller… I’m always the shortest! Actually I don’t drive a minivan anymore (thank goodness), and I’m NOT going back to a minivan! LOL. Thanks for your compliment about my English. I always wish I can express better in English… I take really long time to write a post and you don’t want to know how long. 😉