This Pickled Turnip with Yuzu is easy and quick to make and it’s a perfect Tsukemono to serve any Japanese meal! The scent of yuzu is quite refreshing!
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.
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 Tsukemono. Asazuke 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 restaurants use it on a few of the special sushi they serve. I hope you enjoy making this version of Asazuke at home!
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Pickled Turnip with Yuzu
- 3 Japanese turnips (kabu) (leaves attached; you can also use cucumbers, daikon, napa cabbage, etc)
- 1 piece kombu (dried kelp) (1.5 x 1.5 inches, 3.8 x 3.8 cm)
- ½ dried red chili pepper
- 1 tsp yuzu zest (or lemon zest)
- ½-1 tsp kosher/sea salt (I use Diamond Crystal; use half for table salt)
- 1 Tbsp yuzu juice (extract) (or lemon juice; optional)
- Wash turnips carefully and peel the skin. Cut in half or quarters, depending on size, and then slice thinly. For leaves, cut them into ½ inch (1.3 cm) pieces.
- Cut kombu into small strips.
- Cut red chili pepper into half and remove seeds. Keep the seeds if you like it spicy.
- In a resealable plastic bag, add turnip slices and leaves, kombu, red chili pepper, yuzu zest, salt (and yuzu juice). Mix and rub well with your hands from the outside of the bag.
- Remove air and keep in the fridge for at least an hour, preferably 3-4 hours, or even overnight before serving.
- Squeeze the vegetables with both hands to remove the pickle solution. Enjoy!
- You can keep the pickles in an airtight container after squeezing out the solution. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days.