Easy Balsamic Vinegar Pickled Cucumbers [for Japanese expats]

Easy Balsamic Vinegar Pickled Cucumbers [for Japanese expats]

I'm always shocked at how expensive Japanese seasonings are abroad. But as I can't stop my craving for otsukemono (Japanese pickles), and want to eat a lot, I created this tasty recipe that uses a perfect combination of balsamic vinegar and soy sauce.


Large cucumber
1 (2, if they are small like the Japanese type)
1 thumb's worth
To taste
◆ Balsamic vinegar
25 ml
◆ Soy sauce
25 ml
For a sweet vinegar flavor
1 tablespoon
For a spicy version
Red chili pepper (sliced, without seeds)


1. Outside Japan, cucumbers are fat and large, so I cut them lengthwise (and remove the seeds), and slice into 5-7 mm rounds, salt them, and let them sit for a while. Mince or julienne the ginger.
2. Mix together the ingredients marked with ◆ and bring to a boil in a pan. Add ginger. Since I made a sweet vinegar marinade (with sugar) for 1.5 cucumbers, I increased the marinade to 75 ml.
3. Once the sauce of the ◆ ingredients comes to a boil, squeeze the excess water from the cucumbers, and add to the marinade. Simmer for 4 minutes over medium heat. (Be careful not to overboil, as the texture of the cucumbers will degrade).
4. After 4 minutes, let the cucumbers marinate for 1-2 days in a container or a plastic bag, then they're ready to serve. They're so crunchy and delicious.
5. I used cheap balsamic vinegar from the supermarket. This time, I used red balsamic, so next time I may try white. One bottle was a steal at only 85 cents.
6. Here it is with the white balsamic vinegar (without sugar and red chili peppers). It's lighter than red balsamic, so I added wakame seaweed and tomatoes for a salad. It tasted great with mayonnaise.

Story Behind this Recipe

I love Japanese pickles!
But the cost of Japanese vinegar and mirin overseas is outrageous!
Try this recipe using accessible ingredients.