Winter Salt Pickles

Fuyu No Shio-Zuké

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • Serves

    8–10

    people

Appears in

At Home with Japanese Cooking

At Home with Japanese Cooking

By Elizabeth Andoh

Published 1986

  • About

Ingredients

  • 1 small hakusai (Chinese cabbage), about pounds
  • 1–2 teaspoons coarse salt
  • 1 tōgarashi (dried hot red pepper)
  • Peel from ¼ lemon sliced in julienne strips, optional
  • Pickling tub and 8–10 pounds of pressure or a shokutaku tsuké mono ki (screw-type device)
  • ½ teaspoon soy sauce

Method

Remove any outer leaves of cabbage that may be wilted or damaged and save them to use as a cover if you are going to weight your pickles. Rinse the cabbage, pat dry and cut lengthwise into -inch wedges. Lay them out to dry in a sunny spot for 3–4 hours.

Rub the cabbage wedges with half the salt. Lay some of the cabbage on the bottom of your pickling tub and sprinkle a bit more salt over it. Break open the hot red pepper and sprinkle some of the seeds over the cabbage. Break the pod into 4 or 5 pieces and lay a few of them over this first layer. For a lighter, fruitier pickle, add some slivers of lemon peel. Continue to make 2 or 3 more layers of cabbage and seasonings until all the ingredients have been used up.

If using weights, make a cover from wilted leaves to protect the pickles. Lay a flat lid or plate over the cover and add 8–10 pounds of pressure, distributed as evenly as possible over the surface. As soon as enough brine has been formed to cover part of your weights (this may take as long as 8 hours), reduce the pressure to 3–5 pounds and let the pickles mature in their own brine for another 12–18 hours.

If using a screw-type device, secure it snugly (some brine may cover the screw from the start) and keep it tight for 5–6 hours. Then loosen the screw by a turn or two and let the pickles mature in their own brine for 12–18 hours. Refrigerate in their brine any pickles that are not to be eaten immediately. They will keep for about a week. Just before serving, rinse the pickled cabbage under cold water and squeeze it dry. Chop coarsely or cut into 1-inch lengths. Serve at room temperature with a few drops of soy sauce.