Marinated in a simple pickling agent, these Quick Japanese Pickled Cucumbers (Asazuke) are a refreshing side or appetizer to serve with your meal!
The Japanese usually serve several kinds of pickled dishes along with white rice. Although Japanese restaurants or supermarkets here in the US don’t offer many varieties, there is 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 Quick Japanese Pickled Cucumber (Asazuke) recipe that you can 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.
Japanese Pickled Cucumber
- 1 English cucumber (2 Japanese/Persian cucumbers)
- ¼ tsp kosher/sea salt (I use Diamond Crystal; use half for table salt)
- ½ tsp toasted white sesame seeds (to garnish)
- In a small bowl, whisk together all the ingredients for seasonings.
- Alternately peel a ½-inch (1.3 cm) wide strip lengthwise, leaving a strip of the skin intact. With this method, the cucumber slices have some decorative dark green accents and a little bit of extra crunchiness. Cut the cucumber in the Japanese cutting technique called Rangiri. Sprinkle salt over the cucumbers and rub them. After 5 minutes, squeeze water out. This step is important so the moisture in the cucumber does not come out during pickling.
- In a resealable plastic bag, add the seasonings and cucumbers and rub from outside the bag. Keep in the refrigerator for 2 hours.
To Serve and Store
- Sprinkle some sesame seeds and serve. Keep the leftovers in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Discard the pickle solution after 2 hours or when cucumber is pickled to your liking.