Red radishes good choice for pickling
Edie Yamada's request brought back some sweet and sour memories.
"I am looking for a recipe to make Japanese-style pickled red radish. ... Anything you can come up with is fine with me. Will try whatever you have or your readers have."
These pinkish, wrinkly radishes are a favorite of mine, too, and I haven't had them in a long time. Gotta do something about that.
The pickles are from the Japanese tsukemono tradition of veggies brined in a simple mixture of rice vinegar and sugar, to serve as a condiment with rice. Generally, small radishes are used and they're kept whole.
Western-style radish pickles make use of larger radishes, which are sliced or halved. They're generally soaked in a 1-to-1 mixture of sugar and vinegar (often red wine vinegar) and pickling spices (typically mustard, fennel and celery seeds).
For both types, you heat the vinegar/sugar mixture to dissolve the sugar, then pour it over the radishes in sterilized jars. The microwave is often used in contemporary recipes.
This version was found in the benefit cookbook "A Tradition of Aloha," from the Japanese Women's Society of Honolulu (1998, $15). I've also included the JWS recipe for pickled vegetables in general, for those who'd like to expand their pickle repertoire further.
Pickled Red Radishes
2 to 3 pounds small red radishes, washed, with tops and roots trimmed
2 tablespoons salt
Fresh ginger slices, to taste
» Vinegar sauce:
1-1/2 cups sugar
1 cup rice vinegar
Pinch MSG, optional
Cut 1-inch X's at the root end of radishes. Place in bowl and sprinkle with salt; let stand about 30 minutes or until radishes are slightly wilted. Drain, saving the salted liquid.
Sprinkle ginger over radishes.
To prepare sauce: Combine ingredients in pot with salted liquid. Cook over medium heat until sugar dissolves and sauce is clear.
Pour hot sauce over radishes and ginger. Cool. Pack in jars; refrigerate at least 24 hours before eating. Serves 8 to 10.
2 to 3 pounds vegetables (Japanese cucumbers in chunks, sliced carrots, cauliflower, daikon or green bell peppers, wedges of onion)
1/2 cup vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
Sprinkle vegetables with salt and let stand a few hours. Rinse and drain.
Combine syrup ingredients; bring to boil to dissolve sugar.
Pour hot syrup over vegetables. Cool, then store in jars and refrigerate. Makes about 1 quart.
Variations: Add 1 teaspoon chopped chili peppers for a spicy mix. For a tart version, use 2 teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon sugar, 1 cup cider vinegar and 1/2 cup water to make syrup. Add 1 chili pepper, if desired.
Nutritional information unavailable.
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