Tsukemono, or Japanese-style pickles, are a staple of traditional Japanese cuisine. They’re often served as an accompaniment to rice, but they’re also a popular drinking snack because they’re crunchy and have a nice sweet and sour or salty flavor, which goes great with alcohol.
You can make Japanese pickles out of almost any vegetable, with ginger, cucumbers, and daikon being the most common, but the process for making tsukemono can be rather time-consuming, depending on the type of Japanese pickles you want to make. But if you want to try your hand at making your own, you don’t always have to keep tubs of pickling solutions lined up in your kitchen for weeks and months at a time. You can use something easy like Mujirushi Ryohin’s Nuka Paste for Pickling to simplify the process.
Muji’s Hakkou Nukadoko (Nuka Paste for Pickling) makes nukazuke pickles, which are often served with Japanese meals to aid in digestion. Nukazuke pickles are made using rice bran that has been sitting for days, or even weeks, together with vegetables and fruit peels to create a fermentation culture, so making your own can be kind of a lengthy and sometimes very stinky process.
But Muji’s nuka paste contains rice bran that has already established fermentation cultures, and sells for just 890 yen, making pickling your own nukazuke pickles super easy and cheap. It’s so simple that it’s become an explosively popular product; many Muji shops are already sold out of it, and when we went to buy one to try out, we saw at least two other people with one in their baskets.
Since the bran paste is already fermenting, you don’t have to do anything special before you put your vegetables in. You don’t even need a separate container; the bag comes with a zipper, so all you have to do is put in your vegetables, sliced or whole, bury them neatly in the bran, zip up the bag, and put it in the refrigerator for 12 to 32 hours, depending on the vegetable.
Easy-peasy! If you’re a fan of Japanese pickles, this is definitely a must-have. The price is very good for the volume you get, and the bag is big enough that you can pickle a lot of vegetables at once.
Plus you can reuse the rice bran over and over again, and even buy supplementary packets from Muji.
The only problem is that you have to use your hands to really cover the veggies with the paste, and the bag takes up quite a lot of space in the fridge, which is inconvenient if you have a smaller fridge. But for those who want to try making truly authentic Japanese pickles from scratch, this is an indispensable tool.
▼ Our home-made nukazuke pickles
Just make sure to check Muji’s website to find out which stores have it in stock before you go out to buy it.
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