I absolutely love pickles. Even when I was young, I would beg my mother to buy me a jar of sweet pickles at the grocery store. They were like crisp tangy candies that I couldn’t wait to get home and crunch between my teeth. Years later, as a twenty-something living in New York City, I discovered the Japanese versions of my favorite treat. And for many years, I couldn’t eat at a sushi restaurant without ordering a giant plate of Tsukemono to start.
My favorite place to eat Japanese food, however, is not any of the myriad of NYC spots I frequented over my eight years in the Big Apple. It’s my sister’s house in Massachusetts. She and her husband Takeshi have the most impressive artillery of Japanese sauces, vinegars, spices, and seasonings that an ingredient-hungry cook like myself has ever seen. They also, amazingly, are members of a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). So on a recent visit, when my sister reluctantly pulled out a huge bag of giant yellow cucumbers they had received from their farm-share, I knew just what to make. We served them Miso-Glazed Cod, white rice and an avocado salad and they were delicious!
Japanese Pickled Carrots and Cucumbers
yields 8 servings
- 3 large yellow cucumbers, thinly sliced
- 1 hot house cucumber (or 4 Persian cucumbers), thinly sliced
- 4 large carrots, julienned
- 1 cup rice vinegar
- 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon Sriracha sauce
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- black sesame seeds for garnish
Lay the cut vegetables evenly in a shallow baking dish. In a large bowl, whisk together vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, Sriracha, and sesame oil. Pour the vinegar over the vegetables and let soak at room temperature for at least 20 minutes. Serve garnished with black sesame seeds. Note: pickles may be made a few days ahead and stored, covered in the refrigerator.