Sake lees pickles (Kasuzuke) in a Japanese bizen bowl.

Tsukemono - Kasuzuke (Sake Lees Pickling)

Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Japanese
Keyword: pickle, sake lees
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Pickling Time: 6 hours
Total Time: 6 hours 15 minutes
Servings: 4
Author: Nami


Kasudoko (Sake Lees Marinade)

  • 1 lb sake lees (sake kasu) (434 g; at room temperature)
  • 2 Tbsp miso (40 g; I used White Miso/Shiro Miso)
  • 4 Tbsp sugar (60 g)
  • 1 Tbsp kosher/sea salt (use half for table salt) (10 g)
  • 3 Tbsp sake (45 ml)

Cucumber Kasuzuke

  • 5 Japanese cucumbers (500 g)
  • 1 Tbsp kosher/sea salt (use half for table salt) (2 % salt of the cucumber weight; 10 g)
  • Kasudoko (ingredients above)


  1. Gather all the ingredients for Kasudoko. Put sake lees in a medium bowl and bring it to room temperature on the counter so it becomes much more pliable.

    Kasudoko Ingredients
  2. Check the texture of sake lees with your fingers. If they feel solid firm, add sake first and microwave for a few seconds until it becomes pliable. Otherwise, combine sake lees with miso, sugar, and salt first.

    Kasudoko 1
  3. Using your hand, mix the ingredients and knead well until well combined.
    Kasudoko 2
  4. Add sake a little bit at a time to combine with the sake lee mixture. See the consistency to see if you need to add more sake. Each sake lee brand may have a different consistency and you may not need all of sake (or you may need more). The consistency you’re looking for is similar to miso, not too loose not too hard.

    Kasudoko 3
  5. Knead until kasudoko becomes paste form and then transfer to a glass container where you want to pickle your ingredients.
    Kasudoko 4

To Make Cucumber Kasuzuke

  1. Gather all the ingredients for cucumber kasuzuke.
    Tsukemono Kasuzuke Ingredients
  2. Sprinkle salt over cucumbers. The amount of salt used is 2% of the weight of cucumber. Here I use 500 grams of cucumbers; therefore, I’ll need 10 grams of salt. Using hands, rub the salt into the cucumbers.
    Tsukemono Kasuzuke 1
  3. Set aside for 1 hour. Salt will draw moisture from the cucumbers.
    Tsukemono Kasuzuke 2
  4. After 1 hour, dry the moisture on the cucumbers with a paper towel. And transfer the cucumbers into the misodoko.

    Tsukemono Kasuzuke 3
  5. Completely cover the cucumbers with misodoko.
    Tsukemono Kasuzuke 4
  6. Once the cucumbers are embedded, cover the container with the lid. Store in the refrigerator for half day (maximum 24 hours).

    Tsukemono Kasuzuke 5
  7. With clean hands, take out the cucumbers from kasudoko, leaving the sake lees in the container.

    Tsukemono Kasuzuke 6
  8. Slice the cucumbers and serve in a dish. Tsukemono is always served along with steamed rice and miso soup. Enjoy the cucumber kasuzuke within 3 days.

    Tsukemono Kasuzuke 7

To Store

  1. You can keep kasudoko in the refrigerator or freezer and re-use it for up to half a year (depending on how often you use it, though). If you use kasudoko for seafood or meat, NEVER use it for ingredients that you will serve raw, such as vegetables. You will need to make a separate batch just for meat or fish. If your kasudoko smells sour, do not use it and discard it.

    Salmon Kasuzuke 9

Recipe Notes

Japanese Ingredient Substitution: If you want to look for substitutes for Japanese condiments and ingredients, click here.


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.