Easy Japanese Recipes

Pickled Turnip with Yuzu

Pickled Turnip with Yuzu | Easy Japanese Recipes at JustOneCookbook.com

I had received several requests from some of the readers that they would like to make Tsukemono, Japanese pickles.  In Japan, Tsukemono is always served with steamed rice, and considered as an important garnish or accompaniment for meals.  There are even Tsukemono specialty stores in Japan, where we can buy all different types and varieties.

Pickled Turnip with Yuzu | Easy Japanese Recipes at JustOneCookbook.com

Although we call it “pickles”, Japanese pickles are actually considered “preserved vegetables”.  Unlike how American pickles are prepared, Tsukemono is not pickled in distilled vinegar.  For pickling the Japanese way, we use salt, soy sauce, miso, rice bran (nuka), or sake lees (sake kasu).

Today I’m sharing Asazuke, a type of TsukemonoAsazuke literary means ‘shallow pickling’ for its short period of pickling time.  Asazuke is commonly prepared at home because it’s easier and simple to make as opposed to Tsukemono, which takes more effort to prepare and longer waiting period.

I used Tokyo turnips called kabu as the main vegetable, but other commonly used vegetables for Tsukemono include cucumbers, daikon (Japanese radish), napa cabbage, and eggplant.  This recipe calls for yuzu, a citrus fruit widely available in Japan, Korea, and China.  If you cannot find yuzu in your area, you can substitute with lemon zest/juice for this recipe.  There are quite a lot of Japanese dishes with yuzu flavor and one of our favorite Japanese restaurant use it on a few of the special sushi they serve.  I hope you enjoy making this version of Asazuke at home!

Pickled Turnip with Yuzu | Easy Japanese Recipes at JustOneCookbook.com

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Pickled Turnip with Yuzu
Prep time
Total time
Serves: 2
  • 3 Tokyo Turnips (kabu), roots, stem, and leaves (or you can use cucumbers, daikon (Japanese radish), napa cabbage, and eggplant)
  • 1 (1.5 inch x 1.5 inch) square kombu (kelp)
  • ½ of a red chili pepper
  • 1 tsp. yuzu zest or freezer dried yuzu (see photo below)
  • ½ - 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbsp. yuzu juice/yuzu extract, or lemon (optional)
  1. Wash turnips carefully and separate roots and stem/leaves. Peel the skin of roots and cut in half or quarters. Slice thinly. For stem/leaves, cut into ½ inch pieces.
  2. Cut kombu into small strips.
  3. Cut red chili pepper into half and remove seeds. Keep the seeds if you like it spicy.
  4. In a Ziploc bag, add turnip roots, stem/leaves, kombu, red chili pepper, yuzu zest, salt (and yuzu juice/extract). Mix and rub with hands well.
  5. Remove air and keep in the fridge for at least an hour, preferably 3-4 hours, or even overnight before serving.
  6. When you serve, drain any excess liquid by squeezing the vegetables with both hands.
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.


Posted in: 30 Minutes Or Less, Appetizers, Healthy Recipes, Quick & Easy, Side Dishes, Vegetables, Tofu & Eggs, Vegetarian

Leave a Comment

7 + = sixteen

  • chinmayie @ love food eat February 16, 2012, 12:20 am

    Looks so refreshing and tasty :)

  • Chopinand @ ChopinandMysaucepan February 16, 2012, 12:36 am

    Dear Nami,

    I loved these pickles at Japanese restaurants because they are so appetizing especially when I know there is a big teppanyaki or yakiniku feast on its way! :)

  • amy @ uTryIt February 16, 2012, 1:00 am

    I love these Pickled Turnip with Yuzu! What a mouth-watering and refreshing recipe. My kids and I always enjoy the Asazuke served at Japanese restaurant. It’s good to know they are so easy to make. You know what I’ll be making this weekend. ;) Thank you so much for sharing the recipe. I’m going to hunt down some kabu and freeze dried yuzu! Hope the Japanese market in my area carries them.

  • Alessandra February 16, 2012, 1:25 am

    I love yuzu, I wish that I could find it here, I have a Japanese friends with a plant, but I am not sure she gets enough to share so I wouldn’t ask. And I love tsukemono too, so I may try without yuzu.



  • sophia February 16, 2012, 1:25 am

    Looks simple enough, but light and delicious. I heard Japanese people eat more pickles during the winter…is that true? I think that used to be true in Korea, because of poverty and winter weather.

    • Nami February 20, 2012, 12:35 am

      Sophia, I think it is true back then, when people didn’t have many things to eat during winter time. But modern times, we eat them pretty much all year around. I’m sure there are seasonal pickles though, because of certain veggies being in season. :-)

  • kat February 16, 2012, 3:01 am

    love tsukemono!

  • Belinda @zomppa February 16, 2012, 3:38 am

    Hmm…love this – not easy to find here though!

  • Sandra February 16, 2012, 4:10 am

    This looks very light and refreshing and I’m sure what everyone in my house needs right about now. Your knife skills amaze me, your slices are always so thin, and I wish I could have you take my pictures.

  • Mandy - The Complete Cook Book February 16, 2012, 4:42 am

    Nami, you always have the most wonderful recipes – recipes I would not ordinarily see.
    :-) Mandy

  • Helene Dsouza I Masala Herb February 16, 2012, 4:48 am

    Hi Nami!

    This looks wonderful. I love pickled food (the vinegar version) but I can imagine that I would enjoy indulging turnips pickled with soy sauce, salt, miso, sake and rice bran. I am exploding in front of the screen, I so badly want that now.

  • Suzi February 16, 2012, 4:57 am

    I want to make these pickles Nami. I like spicy so I will add the whole pepper. I am so glad that you shared this. They are a bit like kimchee aren’t they? Have a wonderful day.

  • Biren @ Roti n Rice February 16, 2012, 6:00 am

    I enjoy visiting those tsukemono stores in Japan. My favorite are the pickled eggplants. I always have some takuan in the fridge but I should try this fast version one day.

  • Reem | Simply Reem February 16, 2012, 6:09 am

    I love pickles… But I have to say most of the Indian pickles take long time to make….
    This looks so fresh and easy… Turnips are only my favorite in my house, my hubby is not big fan.
    But I will make this and lets see what he says…. I am sure he will like this as this look so fresh.

  • Ramona February 16, 2012, 6:13 am

    Stunning pickled turnips. I am trying to digest all the new and unique ingredients you mentioned. I would love to try them all in this dish. Isn’t the USA great when you can get food ingredients that are from your home country. I always get excited when I can find things at my Asian Market from my side of the world. I love how you keep your Japanese traditions alive for your family. Well done. :)

  • Charles February 16, 2012, 6:16 am

    Ah, Nami – I love tsukemono! I always have to order 3 plates of it when I go to this udon noodle bar in Paris. Sitting and eating these with some cold Asahi before the noodles is so much fun, but I’m really, really surprised – I’ve had these before, and I really thought this specific one was made with daikon – lol! I had no idea it was actually turnip :D Nice to learn a new thing today. No wonder mine turned out so badly when I tried to make it! If you post recipes for pickled cucumber versions next I will be so pleased!

    I have a question though, and please forgive me if I spell it incorrectly, because if I remember correctly, if I put one letter wrong in this word it means something a bit more rude, so I apologise if I spell it wrong, but what is the difference between tsukemono and “oshinko”?

    • Nami February 16, 2012, 9:19 am

      Charles, I’ll email you. It’s not rude but maybe inappropriate to spell out here. Haha. Tsukemono and Oshinko is same. :-)

  • Sonia aka Nasi Lemak Lover February 16, 2012, 6:23 am

    I like to eat all pickles served when we taking meal at the Japanese restaurant. My kids don’t appreciate this and I always asked them to give me their portion. Your recipe sound simple and yummy .

  • mjskit February 16, 2012, 6:56 am

    I love to serve little jewels like this with a meal. It adds another layer in texture and flavor. I do a quick pickled cucumber quite often so your pickled turnips sound really interesting to me. As with all of your dishes, it looks absolutely delicious and I’m sure it tastes wonderful! I’m not sure it I know the flavor of yuzu, but one more item for my list to the Asian market!

  • Evelyne@cheapethniceatz February 16, 2012, 7:24 am

    Cool recipe, I do not have any experience really in marinating vegetables. But I am familiar with the pickled daikon. I love a few slices with an Japanese dish.

  • Lori Lynn February 16, 2012, 7:52 am

    Hi Nami – I am definitely making this. I do a lot of pickling, but have not tried this type. I like the idea that it is “other than vinegar.” You always have such neat dishes and methods.
    Guess what? I am posting something with yuzu today too! Working on it right now.

  • AikoVenus February 16, 2012, 8:16 am

    Aah, Nami – most of your recipes seem to be after my own heart. ^^ I love Japanese pickles so much – they’re so good with just some plain rice (okay, some furikake too). hehe

  • Eri February 16, 2012, 8:16 am

    I really want to try to make these Nami, it looks so simple I hope I can find yuzu..

  • Daisy@Nevertoosweet February 16, 2012, 8:37 am

    Ohh nice recipe Nami :)

    I’ve always liked the persevered vegetable dishes, the Japanese have with their rice ~ they are always so refreshing to me. And i immediately feel lighter and healthier when I eat them ~

    Really hope I’d be able to find all the ingredients in Melbourne~

  • Denise February 16, 2012, 9:38 am

    Tsukemono is one of the things I miss most living here in the Rocky Mountain region. I loved the Tsukemono shops in japan!! Even in California, they were easy to find. I am excited to try this easy recipe for Asazuke! I will have to substitute lemon. We do have daikon and of course, cucumber here, but no japanese turnip.
    It sounds delightful.Thanks again Nami for all your great inspiration.

  • Giulietta | Alterkitchen February 16, 2012, 12:27 pm

    Easy and tasty.. just perfect, as usual ;)

  • A_Boleyn February 16, 2012, 12:48 pm

    About the only pickled thing I’ve eaten and liked is pickled ginger but it’s still a very intriguing dish and presentation. :)

  • raquel@erecipe February 16, 2012, 12:51 pm

    I learn another appetizing recipe from the one and only Nami =)

  • Kath (My Funny Little Life) February 16, 2012, 1:27 pm

    This looks absolutely wonderful, Nami! I’d love this! :D

  • Priscilla-ShesCookin February 16, 2012, 1:40 pm

    So simple & refreshing! I wonder if kabu tastes different from our turnips (which I don’t really care for) – I’ll have to go to the Japanese market, so I can find out :) I love all your recipes, Nami – and my daughter is going to be studying in Japan at Tsuru University from July to December; she is so excited!

  • Kankana February 16, 2012, 1:54 pm

    Inever had yuzu before but seeing it a lot these days everywhere. I should try some yuzu before it goes out of season.

  • Yue February 16, 2012, 2:04 pm

    always wanted to make this, thanks for the recipe :)

  • Mr. Three-Cookies February 16, 2012, 3:03 pm

    These are awesome, pretty refreshing to have. I always thought they were complex to make, taking many days or weeks. Great recipe. I always use vinegar for pickling, nice to read about alternatives

  • Shu Han February 16, 2012, 3:12 pm

    oooh i love pickled turnip, and doing it with yuzu sounds like a beautiful combination!

  • Shirley February 16, 2012, 4:05 pm

    Nami, I’ve never had these before, but I always enjoy learning something new from your blog!

  • tigerfish February 16, 2012, 4:20 pm

    I don’t think I have tried this in any Japanese restaurants I have been to? Maybe I have been going to the wrong Jap. eateries :O I try to avoid cold/chilled dishes during winter as I already feel too cold. For the Chinese, we classify two body systems – the “yang” (heaty) and “yin” (cooling) – I believe with a “yin” body system, I need more warm food.

    Thanks for sharing the yuzu zest photos. For people who don’t read Japanese, it sure helps when we shop in Jap. grocery stores. :D Thank you so much.

    • Nami February 16, 2012, 10:01 pm

      There are many kinds of Tsukemono, you might be familiar with purple color cucumber or white/yellow daikon? It usually comes with bento box.

      Yes, I’m aware of yang and yin. My father in law is a doctor and he gave me a lecture about it with with a chart. =D It’s quite helpful to know what is good for the body. I love cold drinks but he always tells me to drink warm or lukewarm temp drink…which I find it difficult because Taiwan is hot… =P

  • Ann February 16, 2012, 5:13 pm

    Hi Nami! I’ve never had this type of pickle before, but wow! Do they ever look delicious! Thanks for sharing….they’re delightful!

  • Hyosun Ro February 16, 2012, 6:17 pm

    Hi Nami – I love Japanese pickles. This looks so refreshing. I want to try to make it one day.

  • A Little Yumminess February 16, 2012, 6:21 pm

    Seems easy enough. My mother in law is going to teach me Indian pickles. I dont pickle at all but excited to learn

  • Jessica @ Bacon and Souffle February 16, 2012, 9:57 pm

    Hello Nami!!

    This is such a beautiful dish! I love the simplicity and the colors, let alone the flavors that go with it. I love the flavor of Yuzu. What a great side dish or appetizer to go with any meal.

  • Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella February 16, 2012, 11:15 pm

    Oh I do love Japanese pickles and we were eating them last weekend and I picked one up and thought “I wonder how they do this?” and lo and behold here is your post! :D

  • Martyna@WholesomeCook February 17, 2012, 1:38 am

    Japanese pickles are my favourite, after Polish of course, so much depth of flavour, colour and texture. Yum!

  • Rosa February 17, 2012, 2:52 am

    A gorgeous side dish! Pickles are so addictive and this one looks amazing.



  • Sissi February 17, 2012, 3:27 am

    Nami, I have never asked you for pickles recipes, but I should have! I have been meaning to start making Japanese pickles for such a long time.
    The pickled turnips look so appetising and so easy to make! I don’t know if I can find yuzu zest here (I have at least the juice!), but I have already bookmarked this extraordinary recipe and will try it soon! Thank you!

  • mymulticuisine February 17, 2012, 4:33 am

    I just love how simple and straight-forward this recipe is! Way to take a side and make it a main!
    Check out for more simple and tastiest recipe in http://www.mymulticuisine.com

  • Kitchen Belleicious February 17, 2012, 4:42 am

    my friend, you never cease to amaze me! This dish could not look any better and more delicious if you tried. I love it and your creativity is just inspirational! Sorry I have been gone this week. Been crazy but I am back now!

  • Jenny @ Ichigo Shortcake February 17, 2012, 5:00 am

    Pickled turnips! Oishiisou! I bet these would go great with a bowl of rice with an onsen tamago cracked on top. :D I’m drooling at the thought. *wipes drool* it’s too bad I’m not staying at any ryokans when I next visit Japan so I’ll have to look for these pickles myself somewhere….or make them when I go back to Melbourne. :)

  • Yuri February 17, 2012, 5:11 am


  • Soni February 17, 2012, 6:08 am

    I absolutely love Japanese food!My whole family does.I’ve tried pickled turnip which was absolutely delicious in a Korean place.Are these similar in taste?Looks yumm!

  • Laura @ Family Spice February 17, 2012, 6:39 am

    You make it sound so easy! When we make pickled vegetables (Persian style), it takes days to dry out veggies, and weeks in vinegar to pickle. I’ve never had Japanese pickles, but I can’t wait to try it.

  • Divya Yadava February 17, 2012, 10:30 am

    Hey Nami! This looks like a great side dish. I love pickled food, but never tried pickling turnips before. I actually recently came across yuzu and I have to say I love the flavour of it!

  • Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking February 17, 2012, 10:36 am

    What a beautiful and refreshing dish, Nami! Looks like a very healthy and wholesome meal to enjoy. Thanks for sharing, and thank you also for your kind comment on my peach tart. Have a great weekend!

  • Julie at Burnt Carrots February 17, 2012, 12:36 pm

    Ohhhhh!! I’m super excited to try this. My husband hates pickles or anything pickled for that matter because of the vinegar taste. Since your way is different, I think he might like them!

  • Nancy/SpicieFoodie February 17, 2012, 12:47 pm

    I think I am becoming addicted to your blog Nami :) Japanese food is one of my favorites and I love learning about it. These pickled turnips look amazing. Pickles in vinegar are over rated, in my opinion. Have a great weekend!

  • Norma Chang February 17, 2012, 1:54 pm

    These are so easy to make. I am going to grow more turnips and daikons this year so I can make all kinds of pickles. Happy to see you are using the stems and leaves as well.

  • Asmita February 17, 2012, 4:15 pm

    Love this pickle dish. Looks awesome!!!

  • Katie {Epicurean Mom Blog} February 17, 2012, 4:54 pm

    That’s beautiful!! What a great combination of flavors!

  • Claudia February 17, 2012, 6:18 pm

    I was just moaning about how you cannot get/find/steal yuzu in Minnesota. Th only yuzu I have had has been as marmalade! This looks so wonderful – love the pickling and a great way to use the winter turnip. Now about that yuzu…

  • Ira Rodrigues February 17, 2012, 6:36 pm

    hmm, this is interesting recipe nami. pickles is my favorite nibble :)
    anyway, i almost fainted when i read the ingredients mentioned kelp as it end up in the dustbin the other day because i have no idea how to use it :( gosh…
    can i skip it or there is any substitute i could know from your side?
    * your chop stick rest always looks cute!

    • Nami February 19, 2012, 1:31 am

      You can skip it but it won’t give nice umami from kombu. Unfortunately, no substitute for kombu.

  • Tina (PinayInTexas) February 17, 2012, 7:00 pm

    Sounds simple but looks so appetizing!

  • Kristen February 17, 2012, 7:27 pm

    Those turnips sound really delicious. Pickled vegetables are so tasty.

  • Pure Complex February 17, 2012, 8:45 pm

    I’ve never had a pickled turnip before.. but I must say it definitely looks delicious and wonderful. I really need to get into more pickled veggies, because yours came out great

  • Food Jaunts February 17, 2012, 9:23 pm

    I really like this idea. You said it’s used mostly as a garnish/meal accompaniment – what are some examples of dishes? Maybe just a simple fish and rice dish or…?

    • Nami February 19, 2012, 2:23 pm

      Japanese pickles are always with steamed rice. Without rice, it’s rare that you see pickles, besides a few exceptions. :-)

  • Hotly Spiced February 18, 2012, 1:31 am

    Those pickles look so gorgeous Nami. What a great recipe. They seem so simple to do. I think the only tricky part will be trying to source those turnips in Sydney!

  • Cooking Gallery February 18, 2012, 6:10 am

    I enjoy japanese pickles a lot….! Whenever I buy bento boxes from my favourite sushi chain restaurant in Frankfurt, there are usually small portions of pickles included. My favourite so far is something that looks like cucumber slices but they are dark pink in colour. The texture is crunchy and the flavour is slightly sweet and sour – do you know what it’s called? I’ve never had pickled turnip, but this looks very refreshing and great too for a side dish :)!

  • Sandi February 18, 2012, 7:51 am

    So fresh looking, nicely done!

  • Laz February 18, 2012, 8:21 am

    Just saw some yuzu on LL’s. Love yuzu. Gorgeous dish.

  • rebecca February 18, 2012, 9:38 am

    looks great nice crunch too

  • Parsley Sage February 18, 2012, 12:09 pm

    You’ve just made me so happy. I’m a super nerd. I love farming games and I’m addicted to one on my DS called Harvest Moon. My character is always making pickled turnips! Now I can make them in real life too :)

  • PolaM February 18, 2012, 12:34 pm

    This looks like a really nice way of enjoying turnips!

  • Kelly @ Inspired Edibles February 18, 2012, 1:49 pm

    I love pickled vegetables and how interesting to learn the Japanese method which you’re quite right, is different from our vinegar style. I would have never guessed that this beautiful dish featured turnip – lol – it looks absolutely delicious Nami. I would have fun experimenting with carrot, cucumber and zucchini. Thanks for sharing.

  • Christine February 18, 2012, 3:17 pm

    This looks light and refreshing.

  • Carolyn Jung February 18, 2012, 4:53 pm

    I adore Japanese pickles. They have such crunch and vibrancy. Plus, a few types along with the rest of dinner makes for one memorable meal.

  • Magic of Spice February 18, 2012, 7:35 pm

    That is just such a beautiful salad! I always love the picked vegetables when I go to Japanese restaurants…so delicious :)
    Hope you are having a great weekend!

  • Reese@SeasonwithSpice February 18, 2012, 10:00 pm

    I adore this style of pickles – easy preparation but full of flavors! Spicy chili peppers and citrusy zest, it’s calling out to me:)

  • Raymund February 18, 2012, 11:42 pm

    I certainly appreciate this recipe, my wife loves side dishes like this to pair with rice, this will be present soon on our dining table

  • Sylvia@Peaches and Donuts February 19, 2012, 6:56 am

    Great appetizer to get one ready for the main course! :)

  • Lyndsey ~ The Tiny Skillet February 19, 2012, 1:31 pm

    I like the sound of Japanese pickles better than American pickles. I must see if I can find all the ingredients and try to make them myself. What a lovely dish Nami!

  • elisabeth@foodandthrift February 19, 2012, 6:42 pm

    such a healthy, delicious, and refreshing salad, Nami! Love the ingredients used in the salad, and for sure, I want to try this:DDD

  • Leola G February 20, 2012, 8:49 am

    This is very good, light, refreshing. Thank you!

    • Nami February 20, 2012, 9:38 am

      Thank you Leola! :-)

  • Allen March 25, 2012, 9:12 pm

    When I lived in Hawaii, I became very fond of pickled vegetables. Thank you for sharing this post! I have nominated you for The Versatile Blogger Award. If you would like to nominate the blogs/bloggers you follow, please see my post “The Versatile Blogger”.
    I look forward to your future posts! Allen.

  • keri June 13, 2012, 6:29 pm

    Yum – thanks for that – have shared your recipe on my blog see http://humblecottageblog.wordpress.com/ – was writing about yuzu and sharing recipes – keri

    • Nami June 17, 2012, 1:15 am

      Thanks Keri!

  • sab July 23, 2012, 2:38 am

    Hi Nami!

    I just got back from a trip to Hokkaido and I am eager to try new Japanese recipes and chanced upon your website :) I am happily printing the recipes to try them this week.

    I tried these amazing pickled whole okra in Hokkaido and I have been looking all over the web for them and I was wondering whether you happen to know how I can pickle the okra?


    • Nami July 24, 2012, 5:50 pm

      Hi Sab! I love Hokkaido, and I’m sure you had a fabulous time there. Thank you for finding my blog. :-) There are many ways to make pickles in Japan. I share 2 of my simple recipes.

      1) blanched okra, salt, grated ginger, soy sauce
      2) blanched okra, salt, yuzu zest, red chili pepper, (kombucha)
      3) blanched okra, mentsuyu, grated ginger, red chili pepper

      Put all ingredients in airtight bag overnight. I’m not sure what flavor your okra had, but hope this helps. :-)