Saturday, January 7, 2012

Home Nukazuke - The Start

I've always loved a good Nukazuke. With a nice crunchy cucumber, I can probably put away at least two bowls of rice. Nukazuke are Japanese pickles that are made fermented in a bed of prepared rice bran (Nuka). Below are cucumbers, carrot and Kabu (Japanese turnip). The leaves of the Kabu can be eaten as well.

You need to rinse off the pasty Nuka before cutting and serving. Almost any edible vegetable can be pickled, the flavor hard to describe but has a mildly salty, minerally aroma and taste. Some can describe as yeasty or earthy, but it's very pleasant and usually subtle. Nukazuke can vary in taste though, and older nuanced Nukadoko beds (aka Nukamiso) that are well kept handed down through generations can be highly valued.

The mushy Nuka must be stirred daily for the good cultures to proliferate and prevent spoilage. I've always wondered if I'm really up for it, when after all it's so easy just to purchase the pickles at Mitsuwa like I did this day...

But having my own Nukadoko that I could personalize over time and call my own always just felt very neat. I wasn't quite up for creating a batch from scratch as Kyotofoodie had done but earlier in the year I found this kit at Mitsuwa for ~$13 which comes with its own handy container.

I'll eventually need to buy some of the dry stuff (which Mitsuwa also carries) because you need to replenish the bed time to time. You end up losing a small amount of Nuka as you take the pickles out or even during the maintenance process of daily stirring.

Since I'm a total Nukadoko newb, I'll have to update on the progress.

The pickling itself is easy enough. From what I've read most vegetables seem to only take as quick as 12-hours, up to two days max. So if you bury something in the morning, you can have a nice pickled Nukazuke by time for dinner. Sounds like a good plan.

I noticed Yoko of Umamimart has recently posted on Kasuzuke, vegetables pickled in Sake Lees (a byproduct sediment when making Sake). Check it out.


K and S said...

whoa?! that is some project, I know I wouldn't be able to keep that one up. will be looking forward to your progress reports.

Dennis K. said...

Hi Kat, it's kinda like remembering to feed the cat I guess, haha. Yeah, I'm looking forward in pickling a few things atypical to nukazuke.

KirkK said...

Hey Dennis - Cool project! I actually made nukamiso-zuke from the "Quick and Easy" book when we lived in was it a pain to keep up. Knowing you, you'll have no problem!

Dennis K. said...

Hi Kirk, yeah I've seen Myoga, and even fresh Shiitake done. Curious to know what it'll taste like. But I don't know about long term, there's a reason why I stopped spending too much money on house plants and herb planters, haha.