Ingredients

  • Serves 2 people
  • 2 cucumbers

  • 3 tsp salt

  • 4 tbsp rice vinegar

  • 3 tbsp sugar

  • ¼ tsp salt

  • 1 + 1 tsp chili oil

  • 1 tsp white sesame seeds

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Recipe Courtesy of
Asian Food Network

Japanese Pickled Cucumbers

Just like most Japanese food, the Japanese Pickled Cucumber is a delicate-looking dish that will surprise you with its bold flavors. Made simply with thinly sliced cucumbers, salt, sugar and rice vinegar and chili oil, it is traditionally served as a side dish but also works great as a little healthy snack! Here’s a tip –use small cucumbers to get a slightly sweeter taste.
  • Easy
  • 15 min
  • 0 min
  • 10 min
  • 2 steps
  • 7 Ingredients
  • Easy
  • 2 steps
  • 7 Ingredients
  • 15 min
  • 0 min
  • 10 min

Japanese Pickled Cucumbers 

A Refreshing Snack for a Hot Day 

As the seasons change, so do the food and landscape in Japanese cuisine. Seasonal foods are a key feature of Japanese cuisine. Each season, or “shun” in Japanese, has its own unique seasonal ingredients where they are at their freshest and most flavourful.  

During summer where temperatures are sweltering, cucumber is a popular ingredient in many Japanese dishes. It is refreshing and filling as it is 90% water and keeps the body hydrated while keeping the stomach full. 

If the weather is warm where you are and you are looking for a refreshing snack, why not try making Japanese Pickled Cucumbers at home? 

Just like most Japanese food, the Japanese Pickled Cucumber is a delicate-looking dish that will surprise you with its bold flavors. Made simply with thinly sliced cucumbers, salt, sugar and rice vinegar and chili oil, it is traditionally served as a side dish but also works great as a little healthy snack! Japanese Pickled Cucumbers also serve as palate cleansers in between dishes. 

With a few simple ingredients, you can easily whip up this crunchy and refreshing dish to enjoy alongside rice and other dishes.

This dish is suitable for beginners as well as experienced home cooks. It does not require complicated cooking techniques. You only need 7 ingredients! 

Frequently Asked Questions about Japanese Pickled Cucumbers

Is this dish suited for vegetarians?

Definitely! This dish is completely meat-free and dairy-free. 

Are Japanese Pickled Cucumbers spicy?

The level of spiciness depends on the amount of chili oil you add. If you prefer dishes that are not spicy, you could leave chili oil out completely and season the dish with more vinegar and sesame seeds. However, if you enjoy spicy foods, feel free to add more! 

How should I serve Japanese Pickled Cucumbers?

You could serve this dish as a palate cleanser, a snack, or a side dish with rice and miso soup. You could also enjoy it with other meat-heavy dishes like Chicken Katsudon.

Is Japanese cucumber the same as zucchini?

While both cucumber and zucchini have dark green skin, low glycemic index, high water content and a long cylindrical shape, zucchinis and cucumbers have several differences.

For one, cucumber and zucchini belong to different families. Cucumbers fall under the gourd family while zucchinis belong to the Cucurbita group. Cucumbers are also relatively softer while zucchinis are crunchy. 

If you don’t have cucumbers on hand, you could also replace them with zucchinis. Just take note that the dish would be crunchier when you use zucchinis. 

I’m not a fan of cucumber, could I replace it with other vegetables?

You could replace cucumbers with other raw vegetables like cabbage, carrot, turnip, eggplant and carrot. All you would need to do is adjust the pickling time. 

Tips to Prepare Tasty Japanese Pickled Cucumbers 

  1. Use small cucumbers for a sweeter taste: if you have a sweet tooth, small cucumbers tend to be sweeter than large ones. 

  2. Ensure your produce is as fresh as possible before pickling: the best pickled dishes are made with only the freshest ingredients so avoid using old or spoiled cucumbers. Scrub them well to remove the dirt.

  3. For the best results, use vinegar with around 5% acidity: don’t go overboard with the vinegar for a tangy taste that is not too overpowering.

  4. Use pickling salt: table salt might make the brine cloudy and could also affect the taste and texture of the vegetables, so use pickling salt instead. 

  5. For crisper pickles, coat the cucumbers with a thin layer of salt: salt pulls moisture out of the cucumber, so this will give your pickled cucumbers a crisper texture. 

Instructions

  1. Cut cucumbers

    • Peel and cut cucumbers. Remove the seeds. Slice it.
    • Place cucumber in a bowl, sprinkle 3 tsp salt, and let it sit for 5-10 min.
    • Rinse cucumbers under cold water to remove salt.
    Cut cucumbers


  2. Mix cucumber and sauce

    • Mix together rice vinegar, sugar, 1 tsp chili oil and salt stirring until sugar and salt dissolve.
    • Pour over cucumbers.
    • Marinate cucumbers overnight in refrigerator in sealed container.
    Mix cucumber and sauce


Garnish and Serve!

Serve with a sprinkle of white sesame seeds and a drizzle of 1 tsp chilli oil over the cucumbers.

Want more Japanese recipes? We have them!

Garnish and Serve!

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Ingredients
  • Serves 2 people
  • 2 cucumbers

  • 3 tsp salt

  • 4 tbsp rice vinegar

  • 3 tbsp sugar

  • ¼ tsp salt

  • 1 + 1 tsp chili oil

  • 1 tsp white sesame seeds

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