Pickled in sweet vinegar, this daikon and carrot Amazuzuke is perfect for cleansing the palate and enhancing the flavors of your meal. Prep ahead of time and serve it as a side dish or salad to enjoy with your Japanese lunch or dinner!
Amazuzuke (甘酢漬け) is a Japanese technique of pickling fresh vegetables in sweet vinegar. You might already familiar with the most well-known example of an Amazuzuke, which is “Gari” or pickled sushi ginger.
Amazu-zuke refers to sugar and rice vinegar (amazu) pickling (zuke). It is one of the very basic Japanese pickles known collectively as tsukemono (漬物). If you’re interested in learning more about different types of tsukemono, read Tsukemono: A Guide to Japanese Pickles on my blog.
Tsukemono is categorized into different types based on the pickling agent:
- Shiozuke (塩漬け) – salt
- Suzuke (酢漬け) – vinegar
- Amazuzuke (甘酢漬け) – sugar and vinegar
- Misozuke (味噌漬け) – miso
- Shoyuzuke (醤油漬け) – soy sauce
- Kasuzuke (粕漬け) – sake kasu (lees)
- Shiokojizuke (塩麹) – rice koji/mold-cultured rice
- Nukazuke (糠漬け) – nuka (rice bran)
- Karashizuke (からし漬け) – Japanese hot mustard karashi
- Satozuke (砂糖漬け) – sugar
I’m working on the Tsukemono series on Just One Cookbook, and today we will focus on Amazuzuke.
In the recipe below, I’ll show you how to make Amazuzuke with daikon and carrot. It’s so ridiculously easy that any beginner cook can get a grip on. Ready to turn your vegetables into great tasting accompaniments that guarantee to add brightness to your everyday meal? Let’s do this!
3 Easy Steps to Make Daikon Amazuzuke
1. Prepare Your Ingredient
For Amazuzuke, the most commonly used vegetables are young ginger, daikon radish, radish, and turnip (kabu). Young ginger is only available in the summer while daikon, radish, and turnips are in season during winter months. They are all root vegetables and the texture and flavor improve with pickling or cooking.
Before pickling, you will need to withdraw moisture out of the vegetables so that they retain their crunch and character.
Other ingredients you can also use for this method of pickling:
- bell pepper
- lotus root
But remember, adjust the pickling time as each vegetable is different.
2. Make Amazu (Sweet Vinegar)
All you need is just 3 ingredients for the pickling solution: rice vinegar, sugar, and salt. Put all the ingredients in a saucepan to meld and let cool completely. You can keep the finished Amazu for 2-3 months in the refrigerator, and use it in batches.
Do you need to use rice vinegar? Ideally, yes. The taste of rice vinegar is much milder and easier to consume than other types of vinegar, and because of that, you can use less sugar. If you use another type of vinegar, please adjust the amount of sugar. The rice vinegar makes this pickle more “Japanese” style pickle.
3. Pickle Time!
Combine the vegetables and Amazu and in several minutes (or few hours, if you prefer), they are ready to enjoy!
How simple is that? Let’s make a batch of the Amazu today and transform your vegetables into delicious sweet tangy bites that can wake up your appetite!
Amazuzuke (Sweet Vinegar Pickling)
- Gather all the ingredients.
To Prepare the Amazu (Sweet Vinegar Pickling Liquid)
- In a small saucepan, combine 1 cup rice vinegar (unseasoned), ½ cup sugar, and 1–2 tsp Diamond Crystal kosher salt. Whisk well to combine over medium heat. Once boiling, turn off the heat. Let cool to room temperature.
- Once the amazu is cool, transfer to a mason jar or an airtight container. You can keep amazu in the refrigerator for up to 2–3 months.
To Prepare the Vegetables
- Peel 8 oz daikon radish and cut it into ¼-inch (6-mm) slabs and then into sticks.
- Peel 3 oz carrot, cut into thin slabs, and then cut into thin strips.
- Put the daikon and carrot in the plastic bag and add 1 tsp Diamond Crystal kosher salt.
- Close the bag and rub the vegetables from outside the bag for 1 minute and set aside for 15 minutes. Open the bag and drain completely the liquid that the vegetables released.
To Make the Amazuzuke
- Add ¼ cup Amazu into the bag and combine with the vegetables.
- Cut 1 dried red chili pepper into rounds and remove the seeds (if you don’t want it to be too spicy). Add the red chili pepper rounds to the bag.
- Squeeze the juice from ½ lemon into the bag and rub the vegetables from outside the bag.
- Set aside for 15 minutes (or a few hours, if you prefer) to marinate the vegetables. Serve the Amazuzuke in a bowl.
- You can keep the bag in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.