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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
When using Japanese cucumbers, there's no need to remove the seeds. These go so well with rice.