Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Pickled Sushi Ginger

Having just bought a mandolin slicer after many years of suffering inconsistent thicknesses of my sliced ingredients (I know, a tragedy), I thought I'd put it to some use within a minute of getting it out of the box.

But what to slice? I didn't fancy coleslaw or home-made potato crisps for lunch.

After contemplating using my new purchase to shred some documents, I had a brainwave. Pickled ginger! I love sushi, and my own stocks of shop-bought pickled ginger are running low, so without needing any further excuses I ran down the road, leapt at my local greengrocery stall holder, bought a 'paaaaaahnd-a-bowl' worth of ginger and hot-footed it home.

After ten minutes of working out how to shred the ginger REALLY thinly, yet manage to avoid adding some fingertip into the mix, I set about the pickling liquor. White wine vinegar is too harsh and lemon juice too weak. So, with a quick rummage I came up with a bottle of rice wine vinegar - a perfect level of acidity and a bit Asian, to help keep some authenticity in the recipe. Perfect. I guessed that I would need an even ratio of sugar and vinegar.

Only one other thing: How to get the ginger to lose some of its own juice before pickling can commence. With all home pickling, you need to extract as much of the main ingredient's own moisture, in order that you retain maximum crispness and reduce bitterness. This principle hold true for all veggies - cucumbers, onions, courgettes, peppers etc.

So, with only a few ingredients and a sterilized jar, I set about doin' some picklin'. And what a fun half-hour it was. Truth be told, I haven 't yet tried eating the ginger. It needs about a month in the fridge to let the vinegar mellow out and the ginger to lose its raw taste. I'll let you know how it turns out. Oh, and don't bother trying to turn it pink like the shop-bought stuff. 99% of the time they use food colouring, unless the ginger is super young - which 99% of the time it isn't.

Cost wise, this comes in at £1.50 per kilo. The shop-bought stiff is a fiver for 250g. Cool.

Makes 1 kilo


1 kilo whole root ginger, peeled and very finely sliced
2 tablespoons of salt
150g sugar
150ml rice wine vinegar

Mix the ginger with the salt in a bowl and leave to stand for an hour. Drain and pat dry. In a microwave bowl, mix the sugar and vinegar and heat for a couple of minutes unto the sugar is dissolved. Transfer the hot liquid to a sterilized jar and add the ginger. Close and refrigerate fro a month to allow the flavours to develop. Serve with sushi, or cold meats and cheeses.

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