Marinated in a sweet pickling solution with kombu (dried seaweed) and red chili, Semaizuke (literally thousand-sliced pickles) is a popular Kyoto-style pickled turnip. Serve the pickles as an accompaniment to any Japanese meal and enjoy them between dishes as a palate cleanser.
In a small saucepan, combine rice vinegar, sugar, and salt.
Bring the liquid to a gentle simmer over medium heat. While mixing the liquid, let it simmer for a minute until the sugar dissolves and the vinegar smell is removed. Turn off the heat and set it aside to cool.
To Prep the Turnips
Peel the turnip using a vegetable peeler or a knife.
Cut turnips into 1⁄16 inch (2 mm) slices. Here I use this mandoline slicer to achieve uniformed thickness.
Sprinkle the salt all over the turnip slices and rub/knead/massage the turnip well with salt. Set aside for 30 minutes. Turnip will start to sweat, releasing moisture and this helps removing bitterness too.
After 30 minutes, transfer to a sieve and rinse the turnip under running water to get rid of salt and sliminess.
Squeeze the turnip slices to remove excess water and stack the slices.
To Pickle the Turnips
Cut the kombu into smaller pieces (because I use three different size jars) and remove seeds from the dried red chili.
Prepare clean jars or airtight containers.
Put some turnip slices, a piece of kombu, and red chili in each jar, and pour the sweet pickling solution over to cover the turnip.
Place the pickling weight (or utensil) on top of the turnip and put the lid on. Keep the jars in the refrigerator overnight.
The following day: the pickled turnips are now ready. You can remove the pickling weight. Kombu gets slimy after soaking in the liquid overnight, making the pickling solution slightly slimy/thick. However, this is a part of the Semaizuke feature and you do not need to worry.
Transfer the turnip slices onto a plate. I like serving each slice of turnip folded as you see in the picture. Enjoy!
You can keep the pickles in the marinade for up to 4 days in the refrigerator. Use clean utensils to pick up the turnip to serve from the jar.