Japanese pickled cucumbers (tsukemono) are fast and easy to make and are a refreshing side dish to serve with your meal or just for snacking.
Japanese pickles and cucumbers are quick and easy to make. They are a delicious side to any meal or eat it as a healthy snack.
Why You Will Love This Recipe
- There are so many variations of Japanese pickles and this quick pickled cucumber recipe uses soya sauce, rice wine, and mirin in the pickling liquid.
- There are a few steps to making this Asazuke (fast) pickle, but most of it is waiting for the cucumber to brine and release its moisture. It is worth the wait because you end up with crunchy pickled cucumbers.
- This recipe uses 1 kilo (2.2 pounds) of cucumber, and it keeps well in the fridge.
- These Japanese-style pickles are great for serving at summer picnics, barbeques, or casual gatherings.
Cost to Make
Estimated cost = $10.55 or $0.70 a serve
Please note that below is a guide for some of the ingredients we used in the recipe. The printable recipe further down the page has the complete list of ingredients, including quantities and step-by-step instructions.
For this recipe, you will need Japanese cucumbers if you can get them because these have few seeds and are not as watery as others.
If not, choose a similar cucumber variety with few seeds like Persian cucumbers, Lebanese cucumbers, English cucumbers, or telegraph cucumbers.
You will also need:
- fresh ginger goes so well with cucumber
- soya sauce, use tamari for vegan and gluten free diets.
- sugar, we used 3 tablespoons, but you can adjust the sweetness to your liking by using less or more.
- rice vinegar
- chill flakes (optional)
- toasted sesame seeds
There are several steps for making this recipe for Japanese pickled cucumbers.
Step 1 - Trim the ends from the cucumbers and slice them into even 1 cm (0.4 inches) thick pieces, and place them into a large bowl.
Step 2 - Sprinkle the salt over the thinly sliced cucumbers, and mix well to distribute the salt over the pieces.
Step 3 - Place a small plate on the cucumbers and weigh it down with something heavy. The weight will help remove excess moisture from the cucumbers. Let it stand at room temperature for 2 hours.
Step 4 - Grab a handful of cucumbers and squeeze them between your hands to remove as much moisture as possible.
After squeezing the moisture from the cucumber pieces, transfer them to another dry bowl. Repeat the process with the remaining slices. Discard the cucumber water.
Step 5 - Peel the ginger, slice it thin and then slice again into thin matchstick-sized pieces and add to the cucumbers.
Step 6 - Into a small saucepan, add the soy sauce, mirin, vinegar, sugar, and chili, bring to a boil, turn off the heat, and pour the hot liquid over the cucumber and mix well. Cool to room temperature.
Step 7 - Place a sieve over a large saucepan and drain the pickling liquid from the cucumbers and into the saucepan.
Step 8 - Return the cucumbers to the bowl. Over medium/high heat, bring the pickling liquid to a boil. Remove from the heat after it has come to a boil, and pour the hot liquid over the cucumbers, mix well, and cool to room temperature.
Step 9 - Stir in the sesame seeds. Transfer the pickle to a container, seal it, and store it in the fridge overnight for the flavors to develop. Store in the fridge for up to seven days.
Before picking the cucumbers, remove as much moisture from them as possible if you want crunchy cucumber pieces.
So don't skip the step of squeezing the cucumbers between your hands to remove more moisture. You don't have to be delicate doing this, because the drier you can get the cucumbers, the longer they will stay crunchy.
This recipe serves 15, a serving size is about 66 grams (2.3 ounces).
Calories Per Serve
There are about 42 calories per serve.
Japanese pickles are typically served as part of a meal with rice.
You can add carrot, daikon, or radish in with the cucumber - just make sure to cut these into matchstick-sized pieces.
Refrigerator - These refrigerator pickles will keep well in the fridge for up to seven days.
Freezing - Not suitable for freezing.
Japanese Pickled Cucumbers
- 1 kilo (2 pounds / 3 medium-large) cucumber see notes below
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 5 - 10 cm (2 - 4 inches) piece ginger
- 6 tablespoons soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 3 tablespoons mirin
- 1 teaspoon dried chili pepper, or to taste
- 2 tablespoons sesame seeds toasted
Remove moisture from the cucumbers
- Trim the ends of the cucumbers and cut them into even slices 1 cm (0.4 inches) thick, and place them into a large bowl.2. Sprinkle the salt over the cucumbers, and mix well to distribute the salt over the cucumber slices.3. Place a small plate on the cucumbers and weigh it down with something heavy. The weight will help remove excess moisture from the cucumbers.4. Leave it to stand at room temperature for 2 hours. After two hours you should see liquid in the bowl.5. Grab a handful of cucumbers and squeeze them between your hands to remove as much moisture as possible. After squeezing transfer them to a clean dry bowl. Repeat the squeezing process with the remaining slices. Discard the cucumber water.6. Peel the ginger, slice thinly and then slice again into thin matchstick-sized pieces, and add to the cucumbers. Remove moisture from the cucumbers
Make the pickling liquid
- In a small saucepan place the soy sauce, mirin, vinegar, sugar, and chili, bring to a boil, turn off the heat, and pour the hot liquid over the cucumber and mix well. Cool to room temperature.
Drain the pickling liquid
- Place a sieve over a large saucepan and drain the pickling liquid into the saucepan. 2. Return the cucumbers to the bowl.3. Bring the pickling liquid to a boil, turn off the heat, pour the hot liquid over the cucumbers, mix well, and cool to room temperature.4. Stir in the sesame seeds.5. Transfer the pickle to a container, seal it, and store it in the fridge overnight for the flavors to develop.6. Will keep for a week in the fridge.