Chyuka Kyuri Tsukemono (Chinese Style Pickled Cucumber)
Today, I share with you a Chinese style pickled cucumber that is very easy to make and it’s so simple that you’ll definitely want to give it a try. I love the flavor of fresh cucumber slices, and chyuka kyuri no tsukemono is one of my favorite ways to enjoy cucumber.
In Japanese cuisine, there are so many variations of kyuri no tsukemono, or pickled cucumbers, it will make your head spin. I’ve eaten countless variations that my Mom has made over the years and she’ll simply make a slight ingredient change from one batch to the next, such as adding yuzu, or konbu, or shoyu, or togarashi, or even sugar – the possibilities are endless.
One of my favorites, however, is a variation of my Mom’s shoyu kyuri no tsukemono (pickled cucumbers seasoned with soy sauce) that my Auntie Sumiko made for us at a BBQ sometime last year. She added goma abura (sesame oil) which makes the Japanese pickled cucumbers, in Japanese culture, “chyuka” or Chinese – style, hence the title of today’s post, “Chinese Style Pickled Cucumbers”.
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This past weekend my brother-in-law came over and did a photo shoot for my blog. I’m not the best photographer, and for me, a camera falls under the category of “technology”, and therefore is a serious challenge.
I’ve been trying to take better pictures for my blog, and I can thankfully say that my photos have improved slightly since I started my blog two years ago (some of my earlier shots were quite awful), but I’ve found that photography, for me, is still a challenge and something that I would very much like to improve upon. The photo below is one that I took, and can proudly say is an improvement over some of my more embarrassing food shots.
Fortunately, the brother of my brother’s wife, is a great photographer. He’s really my brother’s brother-in-law, but I always refer to him as my brother-in-law. I was very lucky that Hideki agreed to shoot some of my food for me. Apparently, my brother and sister-in-law didn’t invite him to yesterday’s Dodger game because they found out he was shooting food for me. Oops, sorry Hideki!
In some of my upcoming posts, you’ll see his photography featured on my blog, and you’ll recognize his photos immediately, as those will look REALLY GREAT, as opposed to some of my photos that are hopefully starting to look a little better. I’ve featured a few of his photos here and there around my blog: Oshogatsu’12, Oshogatsu ’11 and Girl’s Day ’12. You can see his full portfolio on Flickr, Hideki Ueha.
- 2 Japanese cucumbers (or other thin-skinned cucumber)
- 4 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon dried wagiri red chili pepper (sliced in small rings), optional
- Slice cucumbers into large bite-sized pieces. Place in a sealable (Ziplock) bag or a plastic container that can be tightly, and securely sealed.
- In a small bowl, combine soy sauce, rice vinegar and sesame oil and mix well. Add dried red chili pepper slices for some heat.
- Pour the mixture over the cucumber pieces and shake the bag or tupperware until the cucumbers are well-coated.
- Refrigerate for 1 - 2 hours, periodically mixing the cucumbers to ensure the pieces are evenly coated. The meat of the cucumber will begin to absorb the color of the soy sauce, at which point, they should be ready to eat.
- NOTE: If you keep your chyuka kyuri no tsukemono in the marinade for 4 - 5 days in the fridge, they will begin to shrivel and they will likely become very salty. I prefer to eat mine the same day that I make them, or within a day or two of making them at the most. You also have the option to discard the marinade once your chyuka kyuri no tsukemono reaches the desired flavor that suits your palate. This will prevent the cucumbers from becoming too salty.