How to Make Fermented Japanese Cucumber Pickles

Learn to Ferment

If you like the classic flavor combo of ginger, garlic and soy sauce, I guarantee you'll fall in love with this recipe for japanese cucumber pickles.

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Every now and then I come up with a recipe so stunningly fantastic that the more common recipe I’ve adapted it from seems to pale in comparison.

This is exactly the case with Japanese fermented cucumber pickles.  Seriously, I don’t know that I can ever enjoy  regular ol’ dill pickles ever again.

Just seems so boring now.

And if you like Japanese cuisine, especially the classic flavor combo of ginger, garlic and soy sauce, I guarantee you’ll fall in love with this recipe for fermented japanese cucumber pickles.

Now I actually adapted this recipe not from regular dill pickles but from some recipes in a book called Asian Pickles by Karen Solomon.

If you like the classic flavor combo of ginger, garlic and soy sauce, I guarantee you'll fall in love with this recipe for japanese cucumber pickles.

Great book.  Click here to check it out on Amazon.

It’s a great resource for a nice variety of simple pickle recipes from India, Korea, Japan, southeast Asia and China.

Now many of Karen’s recipes utilize a common quick pickling method whereby vegetables are mixed with different vinegars and oils, sugar, spices and seasonings like soy sauce, fish sauce and miso.   They’re pickled for very short time periods of anywhere from a few minutes to a full 24 hours.

But pickling lacks the health benefits of lacto-fermentation and as a fermentation enthusiast I wanted to try fermented Japanese cucumber pickles.

So I decided to do an experiment whereby I’d submerge the cucumbers in soy sauce and see if they’d ferment.   Of course on the surface it seemed to make sense as soy sauce is already a fermented liquid.  However, a quick Google search revealed very little in the way of soy sauce as a fermenting medium.  Almost every recipe I came across was utilizing quick pickling methods.

I thought there was probably a good reason for this, in particular that perhaps the flavor of the soy sauce would just overpower everything.  I figured that’s why quick pickling methods are more common.

And then I thought, well, let’s just try it!

How to Make Fermented Japanese Cucumber Pickles

I chopped the cucumbers into small wedges, added ginger and garlic, a little sesame oil and submerged it all in soy sauce.

After a few days,  the fizzing started…

If you like the classic flavor combo of ginger, garlic and soy sauce, I guarantee you'll fall in love with this recipe for japanese cucumber pickles.

So far so good.

Now for the moment of truth.  The first taste.

Here was my approximate reaction as so eloquently expressed by one of my all-time favorite movie characters…

YEAH. BABY. INDEED!

The soy sauce absolutely did NOT overpower the pickles.   They stayed fresh and crisp in the liquid.  And the classic combination of ginger, garlic and sesame oil was pure magic (as it is in every recipe).

Ready to have your fermented pickle world rocked?

I promise you’ll never look at dill pickles the same way every again.

How to Make Fermented Japanese Pickles

Fermented Japanese Cucumber Pickles Recipe

Ginger, garlic and soy sauce are the key ingredients in this recipes for japanese cucumber pickles.

Course Side Dish
Cuisine Japanese
Prep Time 20 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 12 ounces
Author Craig Fear

Ingredients

  • 2-3 pickling cucumbers
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • one inch piece of ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 1-2 teaspoons sesame oil

Instructions

  1. Wash and trim ends off cucumbers.  Slice them into any length you'd like however I'd recommend smaller spears.  These are quite pungent!  I sliced them into about  2 inch long pieces.
  2. Pack the cucumbers tightly into a 12 ounce glass mason jars and add garlic and ginger.
  3. Add soy sauce and sesame oil.  Make sure the liquid is above the level of the cucumbers and leave at least one inch of space between the top of the liquid and the top of the jar.  If the cucumbers rise above the soy sauce (even after a day or two), pack in a few additional spears to keep them firmly pressed against each other so they don't rise to the top.  You could also use a weight to keep them under the liquid.
  4. Let them ferment at room temperature for at least 3 days.
  5. Taste and scream out, "Yeah baby!"
  6. Transfer to the refrigerator.
  7. Repeat in bigger batches as you will undoubtedly devour them in a few days.

 

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If you like the classic flavor combo of ginger, garlic and soy sauce, I guarantee you'll fall in love with this recipe for japanese cucumber pickles.

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About the Author

Craig Fear is the creator of Fearless Eating and the author of three books, The 30-Day Heartburn Solution, Fearless Broths and Soups and The Thai Soup Secret. After years helping clients with digestive issues, Craig decided to pursue writing full-time. He intends to write many more books on broths and soups from around the world! Click here to learn more about Craig.

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