View Full Version : tsukemono

Ginzu Girl
4th July 2002, 23:31
One result of living so far removed from the Pacific Rim is that I have learned to make my own pickles. This one turns out sort of like an old-fashioned takuan, the kind that's dried and packed in rice bran. The best part is that it gets better with age--I've got some in the fridge dated August 1999!

Daikon Misozuke
2 daikon roots, quartered lengthwise
1 C. sugar
1 C. miso--a darker one like akamiso or hatchomiso
1/2 C. sugar
1/4 C. madeira or sweet sherry

First, prepare the daikon for pickling
* Choose a plastic or glass container that's big enough to hold everything with a few inches to spare. Otherwise, you're going to end up with sticky mess in your fridge! And no metal!
* Put the daikon and 1 C. sugar into the container. Make sure the daikon is thoroughly covered with sugar.
* Refrigerate for 1-3 days. During this time, you'll notice that the daikon will become shriveled and soft. At the same time the sugar will be turning into syrup.
* Remove daikon strips, rinse with water and dry with a dishtowel.
* Unless you have some creative way to use sugar syrup that smells very strongly of radishes, throw it out.

The pickling bed
* Again, use a plastic or glass container with a good tight cover--no metal! The daikon will have to marinate for at least a month.
* Mix the miso, sugar and madeira together thoroughly and pour into a large bowl.
* Add the daikon strips to the pickling bed and mix everything around so that the daikon is completely covered. This is very important--any uncoated daikon may spoil.
* Pour half the pickling mix into your container. Pack the daikon strips into the container and pour the remaining pickling mix.
* Make sure all the daikon is covered with pickling mix or it may spoil! If you run out of pickling mix, just make more and pour it in.
* Once filled, gently thump the container on a counter a few times and/or run a chopstick along the sides to release any air bubbles.
* Seal tightly, put in the back of your fridge and forget about it for a month (or longer).
* To serve, either rinse or wipe off the pickling mix (it's perfectly edible) and slice. Serve with steaming hot, fresh rice.

Ja, oishi desu ne? :D

1. If you've never made pickles before, this may seem like a lot of work. But compared to making real takuan, this is about as complicated as a stir-fry.
2. Using sugar to "suck" the water out of the daikon is also what you do to prepare uri for pickling, as in nara-zuke. Sugar seems to work better than salt, perhaps because sugar molecules are so much larger and can't pass through the cell membranes.
2. It's very important that you use a tightly covered container or your fridge is going to stink. My boyfriend claims that regardless of what he finds in the fridge, or how it looks, he never throws anything away because he can't tell what's spoiled and what's edible. (And to be fair, I actually like natto and funyu!)

P.S. Oh, and if anyone calls me okusan, may the wrath of Marishiten fall upon your head ! :p

21st July 2002, 09:34
That daikon tsukemono sound really nice! Daikon-hunt is on today! :)

On the Takuan tsukemono: I've read about it somewhere (I think that it was in the forword of "The Unfettered Mind"), and I thought that it sounded interesting. Unfortunately there weren't any recipe, and there isn't one in any of my Japanese cookbooks... Does anyone perhaps have the recipe for Takuan tsukemono?

Best wishes

Ginzu Girl
22nd July 2002, 15:54
Hi Samuel,
There is a great scene in the Inagaki movie, "Mushashi Miyamoto Trilogy" where Musashi gets a lecture from an unnamed priest. Hanging from the staff on the priest's shoulder are a couple of daikon radishes.

A recipe for traditional takuan is described in this book:
"The Well-Flavored Vegetable: New and Traditional Japanese Methods of Preparing Vegetables"
Eri Yamaguchi, Kodansha America, Inc. 1988.
ISBN: 0870118617 (hardcover)

Warning! Making real takuan is a little complicated and you have to make a ton of it. Because of this, there are lots of modern versions for making this very popular pickle. Most involve soaking the daikon in a vinegar/sugar/salt brine and adding yellow dye to simulate the coloring that happens with the traditional method. To me, these watered-down "pickle chips" don't taste much like the real thing.

My recipe attempts to simulate the flavor and texture of the more traditional pickle. As with any imitation, it's not exactly the same, but I prefer the result. Also, my recipe isn't nearly as salty as real Japanese tsukemono. Again, this is a personal preference. If you prefer a saltier version, try adding some salt or shoyu to the pickling mix.

Let me know how you like it. From one fish-&-pickle lover to another. . . skoal!

22nd July 2002, 21:02
Hi Anita,

Thanks you! Didn't get around to buying any daikon yesterday (sort of out of money until thursday, I'm afraid), but if I get some on thursday, keep it refridgerated during the weekend, leave for an iaido seminar in Amsterdam, and get back by mid august, I just guess that I could taste some delicious tsukemono when I get back. :D Sound like a fine plan (if I may say so).

Is that cookbook good? If it is I better get it.

I haven't seen the Musashi Miyamoto Trilogy yet, but I intend to. One of my favorite actors (Toshiro Mifune) portrays Musashi-kensei, and the book by Yoshikawa is great! I really recommend it if you haven't read it.

The unnamed priest lecturing Musashi -- isn't that Takuan? At least Takuan lectures Musashi quite a lot in the book... :confused:

I'll surely let you know how I liked it, and skål to you too! :toast: