Because Chris and I are mostly vegetarian, we eat A LOT of eggs. Thank god for the chickens, even though they are currently resetting their pecking order and everyone has had a turn. Therefore everyone is getting pecked and therefore every one has had a slight decrease in eggs due to stress. Ugh. So when we are on an egg shortage, I stretch them out a bit using this method.
When making an omelette , I add about 2T of water to 3 whisked eggs, a separate mixture of 1t cornstarch to 1T water mixed together and salt and pepper to taste.
I heat the 2-3T of canola oil in a pan REALLY high until it starts to smoke, whisk the eggs one more time so the cornstarch is blended, then pour the eggs in slowly, swirling the pan so they dont stick to the bottom. As I swirl, I lift the edges of the omelette and tilt the pan so the uncooked eggs in the center go under the omelette, slowing down the browning process. It is on high heat after all. I do this about 3 times around the circumference of the omelette. Until the egg can no longer slide from the center. By then the center of the omelette is barely set, I turn the heat off and cover for about 30 seconds to 1 minute to let it steam slightly. When uncovered, the center of the omelette should be just set but still custardy.
The whole process takes only a few minutes. The extra liquid helps keep the egg moist and stretch out the quantity. As does the really hot oil, which also helps to puff up the egg. It’s really fun to watch the egg puff and expand in the oil. The corn starch helps to keep it fluffy and slightly doughy like a pancake batter. To me the perfect texture. I top it off with katsuobushi just like with Okonomiyaki, green onions, a drizzle of sesame oil and serve with a bit of HP sauce.
A festival and street food favorite, some of my best memories in Japan are the hot summer festival (matsuri) nights spent at my local temple in Shin Koenji. Lanterns lit and glowing, swarms of neighborhood locals in yukata (unlined summer kimono) and me shoveling Yakisoba-freshly made at one of the many food stalls at the temple-into my mouth while the whole crowd dances in unison to taiko-heavy music. It’s proper celebratory party food through and through. Yakisoba is also one of those Japanese dishes which, despite being a national culinary treasure, contains an interesting combination of “non-Japanese ingredients”. Basically a simple stir fry of noodles and vegetables, the sauce is made up primarily of Worcestershire sauce and ketchup, which makes one wonder as to its historical origins or inspiration. Nonetheless, the Japanese are masters at borrowing from different cultures to create something new and uniquely Japanese. Yakisoba is no exception.
Yakisoba is traditionally eaten on its own as a meal but has also been used in a Kansai-style version of Okonomiyaki (my fav) and even in a sandwich called Yakisoba Pan, literally Yakisoba Bread.
Yakisoba is a very easy dish to make and is also perfect for large groups, parties or even potlucks as it doesn’t need to be piping hot. Just double, triple or quadruple the portions. My version is vegetarian with ribbons of egg omelette but can easily be made with meat if that’s your thing.
2-3 bundles of Soba noodles, Dried Japanese noodles typically come packed in bundles about 1inch thick. You could also use Udon, Ramen, Somen or even Spaghetti.
5 leaves Cabbage, roughly chopped.
1 Carrot, julienned
1/4 Large Onion, cut into approx 1/2in wedges.
2 Green Onions, cut into 2in lengths
Salt & Pepper to taste
Furikake or Katsuobushi for garnish
Note: all these vegetable proportions are completely my preference. If you prefer you could have it more noodle and veg heavy.
makes 4 servings
1/4c Worcestershire sauce
1/4c Oyster or Mushroom Sauce or Sweet Soy Sauce (thick)
1T Soy Sauce
First make the omelette if you’re not doing meat. Whisk 3 eggs in a bowl with salt and pepper to taste. Heat about 2T oil up in a wide pan on medium high and just before it begins to smoke, pour the egg in a circular motion from the outside in, swirling the pan to keep it from sticking to the bottom. If you’re not confident with this, use a nonstick pan. Lower the heat slightly and allow it to cook until just set, then turn of the heat and cover to steam. After a couple of minutes it should be fully set. Transfer it carefully to a plate to cool, making sure it stays flat like a sheet.
Next get your noodles cooking according to the packet instructions. About 5 minutes in boiling water brought down to a simmer. While they are cooking, make your sauce so it’s done. The measurements given here are for 4 servings so you and your guests can customize the richness that suits your individual tastes. Combine all the sauce ingredients, mix well and set aside.
When the noodles are cooked, drain them and then plunge them into cold water and let them cool there while you chop your veggies. Your omelette should also be cooled by now. Cut the round sheet of egg in half, then into thin strips or ribbons.
Heat some oil in a large wok or wide frying pan on medium high. Make sure the pan is wide, you’ll need room to toss the noodles and fold in the sauce. Add the onions and carrots and stir fry for a couple of minutes. Then add the cabbage and green onions, cooking until the cabbage just starts to wilt.
Turn down the heat and add the drained noodles. Using tongs, a fork and spoon or chopsticks, carefully fold in and toss the ingredients together to mix them evenly until heated through. Next add about 1/4 of the sauce and toss again in the same manner, making sure you coat all the ingredients.
Transfer to individual serving plates or bowls. Drizzle a couple of tablespoons of the sauce over each portion, then decant the rest of the sauce to a small bottle or gravy dish so you can add more to taste. Sprinkle a bit of furikake or katsuobushi on top and enjoy!
I absolutely love chrysanthemum greens, or Shungiku in Japanese, but they can be a bit overly vegetal tasting for some people which is understanding. My husband Chris says its like eating soap, so I can imagine it’s quite similar to how some people feel about cilantro. Still, you’re missing out! Shungiku goes great in soups, stir fries or even raw in a salad. Here is a quick recipe for Shungiku goma-ae, blanched shungiku in a sesame dressing. Super easy to make and goes great as a side dish!
Serves about 2 as a side
1 large bunch of Shungiku, leaves torn off and stems discarded, about 3-4 loose cups of leaves. We feed our stems to our chickens. They’re total Asian chickens.
1/4 Onion, Sliced very finely
4T roasted Sesame Seeds, Freshly dry roasted in a pan is best but pre-roasted is fine.
1T Soy Sauce
1T Oil, Sesame preferred but Canola or even Olive is ok!
Blanch your shungiku leaves in boiling water for about 30 seconds. They will instantly wilt and the total amount will significantly begin to reduce in size. Drain them, save the water for watering your plants, then plunge into cold water and let them sit there to cool.
While the shungiku is cooling, make your dressing. Put about half the sesame seeds in a mortar and pestle and grind until they are halfway to a paste. Then add the soy sauce, sugar, and the rest of the sesame seeds until well blended. The second batch of sesame seeds should only be half pulverized. You could use a small blender for this, but as with any spices or seeds, the full flavors are released when you grind, baby, grind.
Drain your cooled shungiku and, again, save the water for your plants. Aunties waste not want not. Squeeze as much water as you possibly can with your hands. You will be amazed (and perhaps disappointed) how much they have reduced down. You will likely only end up with the amount the size of a tennis ball at most. Carefully loosen up the ball of shungiku and place into a bowl. Add the slived raw onion and mix together roughly. Then little by little add the dressing to your taste, although you should use more than half the dressing you made. Its better to be sparing so you don’t overwhelm the shungiku or onion flavor. You can always add more. Use your hands to carefully mix the dressing in as it’s quite gloopy and you want to completely coat the onions and greens without tearing them. Shape the mixture into a cute little mound in a cute little plate and enjoy your cute little meal!
To be honest, I am relatively new to Celtuce. And by new, I mean I only just realized that this vegetable I’ve eaten many times since childhood is in fact a lettuce and not part of the broccoli family. Sacrilege, right?? See, despite being of Chinese heritage, I am 3rd gen and do not speak a lick of Chinese. I can read some Chinese characters but only because I speak Japanese and can read some of the Chinese kanji. Weird combo, but that’s me! Anyway, all the millions of times I had a vegetable called Wosun (celtuce in Chinese), I thought I was eating something related to kailan or broccoli. Now that my friends are growing all my Asian veggies for me, it wasn’t until last year that I realized my “Good Chinese Boy Card” has been revoked.
Celtuce is a variety of lettuce which is coveted for its long, meaty but tender, big honkin’ stem. Sure you can eat the lettuce leaves at the top- and indeed they make a wonderful stir fry- but its the stem you really want. When steamed, braised or stir fried, the stem yields a tender and mild addition to any dish or on its own. Think of it like a young broccoli stem but even softer, tastier and absorbs flavor ten times better.
Now that you know my dirty secret, I’m going to share my one of my most favorite ways to eat Celtuce, with eggs. While that may in fact be my favorite way to eat anything, I am particularly fond of these tender stems with custardy scrambled eggs, seasoned only with sea salt, fried garlic, perhaps a chili pepper and a tiny drizzle of sesame oil and soy sauce just before serving. It literally takes just minutes to make and is- quite frankly- particularly lovely as breakfast on top of a bowl of rice!
Wosun (Celtuce) with Garlic & Eggs
Serves 2 as a meal or 4 as a side
1 large Celtuce Stemand hearty ends of the leaves. Approx. 1.5-2 cups– All leaves removed, rough end cut off, stem peeled, quartered lengthwise (or halved if you have a small stem) and cut diagonally into 2 inch pieces.
2-4 Eggs– I mean, 2 is fine, but 4 is best. Depends on how much you love eggs.
4 cloves Garlic– Thinly sliced
1 dried Chili Pepper-I always go for a Japanese Togarashi pepper
Sea Salt to taste
A drizzle of Sesame Oilto taste
A drizzle of Soy Sauceto taste
This will only take a few minutes.
Heat up about 2T of canola oil in a wok or cast iron pan. Toss in the whole chili pepper and stir fry until fragrant. Add the garlic and stir fry until fragrant. Add the prepared celtuce pieces and cook for about 2-3 minutes until tender. Whisk your eggs and pour them in slowly in a spiral from the outer edge of the pan inwards, covering everything. Sprinkle a pinch or two of sea salt, then gently fold the egg in until it is just set, then turn off the heat, transfer to a serving plate and drizzle your sesame oil and soy sauce on top just before you serve. Definitely eat this with rice yummmm. If you are like my husband or Beyonce, take your hot sauce out of your bag and have this with a chili sauce or sambal.
Hello friends! I’ve not been writing as many recipes here as I originally planned as I’ve been working on a thing and have been rather busy. Plus this heatwave Sonoma County is currently going through is killing me softly and my energy levels are loooooow. Don’t worry I didn’t go to the beach this last Memorial Day Weekend with the crowds (COVID time). Had a lovely weekend coming up with recipes for the next CSA box from Radical Family Farms.
Those of you who are members of theirs, you may already have your boxes as well as some lovely Perilla leaves, or Shiso, as I like to call it in Japanese! You’ve heard of it for sure. There are many types of Shiso out there, all with their slight variations in flavor. Shiso is used for many things. I like to have my garden or fridge stocked with it when at all possible as it is a very valuable herb to have on hand for garnishing and for cooking with. I’ll start by saying that anywhere you use cilantro, try using shiso instead. It adds a similarly aromatic flavor to cilantro but also vegetal and slightly minty (if you can call it that) flavor. It is delicious raw in a salad, deep fried in tempura batter (a personal fav) wrapped around your favorite grilled meats, rolled into wraps, slipped into sushi or even steeped in tea.
SEGUE! For this unsweetened iced tea recipe, I use Japanese Green Perilla or Aojiso but any kind of Shiso will do with light variations in flavor. Here I use black tea as a base BUT if you are caffeine intolerant, you could easily omit it and had a bit more herbs. You’ll also find that I have more mint in this recipe than shiso. That is because, as with cilantro, people sometimes find it too overpowering. If you want to go for the full monty, do equal parts mint and shiso!
Mint & Shiso Iced Tea
About 4 cups
One small handful fresh Mint– Woody stems removed
Half a small handful Shiso Leaves, plus extra for garnish
1 bag (or tsp) of BlackTea- You can omit this. If you are using loose leaf tea, use a tea ball and do be mindful that it can be stronger than bagged tea due to quality. Keep an eye on the darkness of the tea as it infuses. More below.
3-4 slices of fresh Ginger
A few slices of Lemon- To garnish
1000ml Boiled Water
Bring a kettle of water to a boil then turn off the heat and let it sit for a couple of minutes. You don’t want to “cook” the herbs. Put all your ingredients into a heatproof pitcher, measure out 1000ml of the boiling water and pour it over everything.
After 1-2 minutes, remove the tea bag. Depending on how strong you want the black tea to taste, you may decide to take it out sooner or leave it in longer.
Allow the herbs and ginger to sit in in the water for about 20 minutes. Again, if you want a stronger flavor, leave them in longer.
When it has reached the desired flavor, take the mint and shiso out- leaving the ginger- and allow to come to room temperature before putting it in the fridge to chill.
When its nice and cold. Pour over a few cubes of ice in a glass, pop a ginger slice in, throw in a slice of lemon, sprinkle with some chopped shiso and you’re ready!
If you really want to have your iced tea sweet, feel free to add some sugar or honey in there as well ;).
People tend to get very confused about what to call this. Depending on who you talk to, this Dim Sum favorite is typically referred to in English as Turnip Cake, Radish Cake or even Carrot Cake in Singapore. I, for example, was raised to call it both Lo Bak Go (Cantonese for radish cake) AND Turnip Cake in English??? But I’m here to tell you it is a RADISH. A RADISH. Either way, you can call this dish whatever you want.
Lo Bak Go (pronounced loh-bawk-goh) is a savory pan fried, steamed caked made from a batter of grated daikon radish, its liquid, a variety of flours (depending on who you talk to) and a filling of your choice (including no filling!). It’s then steamed, cooled, cut into small pieces and then pan fried making them crispy on the outside and soft on the inside!
Your standard Lo Bak Go you’ll experience at a Dim Sum restaurant will likely be filled with dried shrimp, mushrooms & Chinese sausage. I’ve chosen to go the vegan route and fill mine with shiitake mushrooms & pickled Chinese mustard but you could basically use any filling you want provided you can chop it finely and it will keep its shape when cooked, ie it won’t disintegrate. Anyone who is familiar with eating Lo Bak Go might think it to be a complicated dish, but it is surprisingly easy to make, only a few steps and requiring a bit of patience in between. It is essential, however, that you have a steamer which can accommodate a 9-inch cake pan or casserole dish.
Lo Bak Go “Radish Cake“
Makes about one 9-inch Cake, to be cut up
1 Daikon Radish, about 700g or just over 1lb, grated finely or coarsely depending on if you want a more solid texture or something a bit looser and stickier, respectively.
12oz/350g Rice Flour
1.2 oz/35g Tapioca Flour or Corn Starch
1/2t Ground White Pepper (or Black Pepper)
2T Green Onions, chopped
Approximately ¼ cup each of 2 chopped ingredients. For example:
Shiitake Mushrooms, Chopped – if using dried, let sit in boiling water until softened, then reserve the liquid to use for the cake batter.
Pickled Chinese Mustard
Note: Chopped Sausage or Bacon will also work nicely here! Chinese Sausage and Dried Shrimp are very popular. You can basically choose anything that will retain its shape and not disintegrate.
Set some water to boil in a small pot on the stove and grate your radish while it’s heating. When it comes to a boil, add the grated radish and let it simmer for about 10 minutes. When done, drain the radish over a bowl to collect the cooking water. Let the radish rest until it’s cool enough to handle and then squeeze the excess water into a measuring cup. Then add enough of the reserved cooking water to measure out 700ml in total with the squeezed out liquid. If you have mushroom water reserved as described earlier, use that too. Just make sure the total amount of liquids equals 700ml.
Mix the flours, radish liquid, salt, sugar and pepper together until it resembles a watery batter.
Heat up some canola oil in a wok and fry the fillings until fragrant. Turn the heat to low and add the batter. Cook the mixture for about 3 minutes, stirring the entire time so it doesn’t brown. It will thicken into a paste.
Pour the batter into a greased 9-inch baking pan, smoothing out the surface with a spatula.
Place the pan into the steamer and steam on high heat for about 45 minutes.
Remove the cake and allow it to cool completely before you cut it into pieces. Some people place it in the fridge to chill completely so its ready for the next day. If you do, allow it to come back to room temperature when you take it out of the fridge.
When cooled, carefully tip it out of the pan and cut into pieces the size of your choice. Dust the top and bottoms with rice flour and pan fry on both sides until browned and crispy.
Plate with a side of chili sauce or chili oil and enjoy!
I nominate Korean Jeolla Do Mustard as my vegetable of the year! I can’t rave about it more. It’s crunchy, coarse and textured like kale, with a blast of peppery bitterness. It makes for a wonderful kimchi, the recipe for which you can find here. I’ve been lucky because my friends at Radical Family Farms are exploding at the seams with Jeolla DO Mustard and so I’ve got a lot in my fridge. In addition to making the kimchi, I also tried out mixing it into a Korean dish called Pajeon, a pan fried green onion pancake. Crispy on the outside (from the frying), crunchy (from the onions) and soft (from the batter) on the inside and burst of bitterness (from the mustard). We also threw some napa cabbage kimchi in there as well bc our favorite type of pajeon is Kimchi Pajeon. This injected a whole load of umami into the flavor but also crowded the pancake batter a bit. This didn’t bother us a bit, but some people might want to have a slightly higher batter to veggie ratio. If you are one of those people, just omit some of the veggies or make more batter. This is easy to do as the batter’s water:flour ratio is 1:1. This will make more sense when you read the recipe. We served our Pajeon with a delicious dipping soy sauce and vinegar based dipping sauce. It was absolutely gorgeous and super easy to make. Here’s how we made it!
Note: Jeolla Do Mustard isn’t just available anywhere. If you can’t get your hands on it, kale will also work very well!
Jeolla Do Mustard Pajeon
Serves 2 as a meal or 4 as a side
200g or 7oz Jeolla Do Mustard, cut into 2inch lengths, discarding the rought bottom stems (or Kale, preferably red)
2 stalks Green Onions, cut into 2 inch pieces, white ends cut in half lengthwise. You could easily subtitute any old onion or even chives.
1/3 cup Kimchi, roughly chopped (Optional)- this is merely the amount I use in my recipe, you could add more or less depending on your preference. Just in case, reserve some kimchi liquid for the batter if you can spare it.
2 cloves Garlic, thinly sliced (or minced if you prefer to have the garlic flavor mixed in evenly rather than in large bursts).
1t Sesame Seeds (for garnishing the pancake)
1 Cup Flour, for a slightly softer and chewier inside, make about 1T of this measurement Corn Starch.
1 Cup Water
1T Red Miso (or basically any fermented soybean paste, even white miso will do)
3T Soy Sauce
1T Rice Vinegar (white vinegar is also ok)
1T Green Onions, finely chopped
1t Roasted Sesame Seeds
Start by blanching your chopped mustard in boiling water. I meant to only do this for 5 minutes but forgot about it (bc wine) and so it sat for 15 minutes. It was totally fine. The idea is the cook it enough so it wilts. Drain and set the liquid to the set. Let the blanched mustard cool so you can handle it and then squeeze the excess water out as much as you can. Add it to the reserved blanching water and use it for stock, cooking something else or watering your plants (when it’s cooled down completely!). Allow the mustard to cool further to room temperature.
Whisk your miso and sugar into your water so they’re completely dissolved. Then whisk the flour mixture into the liquid little by little until it forms a batter, much like a pancake batter.
Get a cast-iron skillet (or any old pan for frying) warming on the stove on low so its ready. I do this for my cast-iron skillet so it heats evenly. You won’t need to do this if you have a pan made of a thinner material.
Add all the prepared vegetables to the batter and give it a good stir to incorporate everything. Take a look to see if it’s the right consistency for you. Everyone has their preferences, but it should be roughly the same consistency as American pancake batter. If it’s too thick, add some of the reserved kimchi liquid or water. If it’s too wet, add more flour, just make sure you use a whisk to avoid lumps.
Turn the heat under the skillet up to medium high and let it heat up. Add about 2-3T of canola oil. Once the oil is heated, give the pancake mixture one last stir and evenly pour the batter onto the surface of the pan. Once evenly distributed, it should only be about 1/2in thick at the most which means I spread the batter to the edges of my 10in skillet.
Fry your pancake for about 4-5 minutes, checking the bottom with a spatula to see what color it is. Traditionally, you want a golden brown color, but I like mine to be slightly charred so I did the full 5 minutes. This will depend on your pan and the strength of your heat as well as the type of stove you’ve got. Key is to keep checking.
Once it’s the color you want, it’s time to flip it, but first sprinkle sesame seeds over the top of the uncooked side. If you are NOT using a non-stick pan, use a spatula to make sure the pancake is not stuck to the bottom. Next use two spatulas to flip the pancake over on its other side. If you are not able to do this (like me, I had Chris do it hahaha), you can also use the method of slipping it onto a plate first and then flipping it over back onto the pan (what I normally do). If you do the latter be very careful with the hot oil splattering!
Once you’ve flipped it, allow to cook for another 4-5 minutes, again checking the bottom for the right color. Also, be sure to press down the pancake as this helps condense everything so it cooks more evenly.
When it’s done, flip it back onto a plate or serving dish with the sesame-side up. Cut the pancake into rectangles and enjoy with the dipping sauce!
We enjoy Pajeon as a main with a vegetable side and a bowl of rice. Most recently, we served this with a side of stir fried pea shoots without the gravy, simply seasoned with sea salt.
Jeolla Do Mustard is a variety of wild mustard from the Jeolla Do province of Korea. Long, hearty stems and large, coarse leaves, this purple and green hairy plant is a lot like Kale when it comes to cooking and eating- crunchy and with a lot of texture. And because it is a mustard variety, it has a bitter but earthy flavor to it which could add a delicious contrast to all kinds of savory dishes. When eaten raw, the bitterness is at its peak, sharp and spicy. When cooked, the bitterness mellows and you are left with a mild sweet earthiness to it, a lot like kale or collard greens.
In Jeolla Do, the most popular use of this beautiful plant is for Gat (mustard leaf) Kimchi, a spicy, garlicky and peppery fermented dish-a perfect pairing with grilled meats, in stews, sauces or as a snack. It is extremely easy to make and because this mustard grows to such a large size and in abundance, this recipe makes it easy to use up a lot of greens if you end up with a few pounds of it!
In addition to Kimchi, this mustard will also go excellent in stews, salads or even roasted in the oven like kale. There is a lot you can do with this strange and unusual vegetable and I will provide more recipes for my Radical Family [Farms] Friends to follow, but for now, please enjoy trying out this recipe for Gat Kimchi! If you like standard cabbage kimchi, this will blow your mind!
Makes about 2 cups of kimchi
2lbs Mustard Greens, leaves and stems chopped into pieces 1inch long, ends tailed and discarded. Some recipes discard the stems but I keep them in for sudden bursts of crunchiness. Others also cut the leaves in half lengthwise first, but I just worked with the full width of the leaves.
4 cups Water
6T sea salt– Non-iodized as the iodization halts the fermentation process.
Note: the brine is 1.5T sea salt to 1 cup of water.
3-4 cloves (or more!) Garlic, crushed into a paste. You can do this with a pinch of salt, it will break down the garlic as you crush it in a mortar and pestle or with the flat edge of your knife.
3T Gochugaru (or more!), Korean Chili Powder- You could also try Indian chili powder, cayenne or paprika, but taste test as you measure it out, you will likely have to adjust the measurements.
1.5T Fish Sauce– or Soy Sauce if you are vegan.
1.5T Pickling Brine
1 sealable jar, big enough for 2 cups,sterilized by pouring boiling water into it, pouring it out and allowing it to airdry.
After preparing your mustard, put it into a large bowl or pickling pot. Make a salt brine by dissolving your salt in the water and then pour it over your mustard greens. It may not completely cover the greens at start- that’s ok. Get a plate or something similar that is just within the diameter of your bowl, and place it over the mustard and water. Use a stone or something heavy to weigh the plate down. The water will rise the cover the greens with the weight. Cover with a towel and let soak for about 2 hours.
While the mustard is soaking, prepare your kimchi paste by incorporating all the ingredients together into a paste and set aside.
After the 2 hours have passed, drain the mustard and squeeze the excess liquid out (you don’t need to be too precious about it) but do not rinse it. Rinse and dry your bowl and put the squeezed-out mustard back in. Put in your kimchi paste and using your hands, massage the paste into the mustard. Next, layer the kimchi into the jars. This ensures that there are no air-bubbles and that all the kimchi can remain in its pasty brine. It also helps you fit more into the jars. After filling your jars, use a fork to gently press down on the top to remove any extra air-bubbles. Put the lid on, sealing the jar. Now the rest is up to you. You can put it into the fridge, wait 24 hours and start using it. OR you can leave it in a dark, cool cupboard for a week minimum to let it ferment. I usually prefer my kimchis to ferment for at least 2 weeks before digging in but it’s all up to personal taste. Just remember, once you’ve opened it and started eating it, keep it in the fridge. It should last a few months in there….if you don’t eat it all at once!
Enjoy your Gat Kimchi with meat dishes, cook it into stews, sauces or just enjoy as a snack!
Shiozuke is a type of salt-pickling in Japan, kept chilled and without fermentation. The result is a cold, crunchy texture with a slightly soured but salty hint to the natural flavors of the vegetable you are using, perfect for spring or summer when the temperatures go up. These pickles will only take a couple of hours to be ready to eat and are easy to prepare for a meal ahead of time. In this recipe we also use the leaves of the turnip for the occasional splash of bitterness as well as lemon zest for a hint of sweet citrus. When they are ready, you will end up with a very fresh but subtly complex combination of flavors. Note: You could also use daikon or radishes instead, with leaves of course!
Serves about 4
1lb of Turnips with leaves, peeled and cut into half-rounds at about 1/8in thick about 2.5in-3in wide. Save about 2 cups worth of leaves torn or cut in roughly 2in pieces. Save any leftover leaves for a salad, wrapping grilled meats or in place of lettuce for a sandwich or burger.
Sea Salt- 1/2oz or just under 2T, about 3% the weight of the turnips- Non-iodized as the iodization halts the fermentation process.
1 Lemon zest, peeled without the white inside of the rind and thinly sliced into pieces about 1in long.
Prepare and cut your turnips, turnip leaves and lemon zest as described and place into a bowl. Pour your salt on top and mix everything together, making sure to gently massage the salt into the turnips and leaves. You will feel the water come out of the turnips slightly as you massage them.
In Japanese markets, this type of pickle is usually sold in beautifully decorated plastic bags as the sweating liquid from the radishes end up creating a brine. You can either put yours into a zip-lock bag or a tupperware and store in the fridge for 30 minutes to 2 hours before serving. You could even eat them immediately after massaging, but it’s always best to give them at least 30 minutes to sweat and for the flavors to transform slightly. Unlike kimchi, which typically can be kept for months, you should eat these within a few days otherwise you lose the crunch.
These go beautifully as a salad, a snack or paired with meats or a savory main, particularly Yaki Niku or your favorite BBQ. The idea is to have the beautiful contrast of flavor between the main dish and the freshness of the pickled turnips.
If you are looking for a crunchy, sour and peppery pickle with loads of umami, this is the one for you! Chinese Mustard or gai choy is a variety of mustard with thick, wavy leaves so solid that, to me, they look like some kind of weird giant green mollusk. They look like napa cabbage’s super buffed up, gymhead bro. I don’t have any of my own photos of gai choy at the moment and that description is a bit strange so here is a stock image from google search.
This pickle is made by creating a brine and simply submersing the vegetable in it for at least 2 weeks. Although, it doesn’t reach its full flavour potential until at at least 1 month! The first image at the top is after 2 months. Sour, packed with umami and peppery. So crunchy too. You can eat this as a side or cook it into dishes like braised pork belly with preserved mustard, a personal favorite! This recipe is super easy and takes no time at all. It does take patience though as it is so pretty to look at and very tempting to tuck into early ::hand slap::
Pickled Chinese Mustard with Szechuan Peppercorns
Makes 1 quart Jar
2lbs Gai Choy Chinese Mustard, leaves separated from the heart but reserving the core.
3T Sea Salt (NON iodized or it will not ferment!)
1T whole Szechuan Peppercorns (or any other kind will work as a decent replacement)
1 quart size sterilized Jar
Separate the leaves one by one, all the way down from the base, making sure you get the thick stems and reserving the heart when you get down to the center. Lay these out on a clean towel or tray and leave out to dry for a few hours in the morning sun, or somewhere in the house for about half a day, until they begin to look wilted.
When dried, cut the mustard leaves and thick stems into large chunks about 2in x 3in. Place into a bowl with about 2T of the salt. Gently massage the salt into the mustard for a few minutes. It will start to sweat liquid as you do this.
Once evenly coated and massaged, layer the pieces into your sterilized jar, followed by the last tablespoon of salt and your whole peppercorns. Next boil some water in a kettle and then pour the boiling water into the jar to cover the peppercorns. Leave about 2 inches of space between the liquid and the lid of the jar. Replace the lid on the jar and turn it upside down a few times to distribute the dissolving salt equally and to get rid of as many air bubbles as possible. Next, you need to keep the mustard under the brine. Open the jar back up, scrunch some parchment paper up into a ball and use it to push down the mustard under the brine. When you put the lid back on, it should keep the parchment paper ball perfectly so it keeps the mustard under the liquid.
Put the pickles somewhere dark and cold for at least 2 weeks, or if you are patient, 1 month or more! Every few days, be sure to open the jar to allow the gas buildup to release. Give it a try when you think it’s ready. If you think it can go longer, simply leave it for longer until the taste is right. Once you have it where you want it, keep it in the fridge. You could technically keep it in the cupboard as you’re getting through it but just remember it will continue to age and as it does it will get more and more sour. My advice is to determine the age you think is the tastiest and keep it in the fridge from thereon out.