Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create an account.

Chris Amirault

Nukazuke Pickling

Recommended Posts

There's a recipe for nukazuke pickles in the new Modernist Cuisine book, and I'm very curious about giving it a go. Snooping around on the internet, I can't get a bead on necessary other ingredients besides rice bran, salt, and kombu; cabbage, bread, and a lot of other options seem possible. Strangely, Tsuji's Simple Art has no reference -- so I turn to you!

Surely there are nukazuke experts out there. Tips? Warnings? How long can your pickle bed last?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Anna N   

There's a recipe for nukazuke pickles in the new Modernist Cuisine book, and I'm very curious about giving it a go. Snooping around on the internet, I can't get a bead on necessary other ingredients besides rice bran, salt, and kombu; cabbage, bread, and a lot of other options seem possible. Strangely, Tsuji's Simple Art has no reference -- so I turn to you!

Surely there are nukazuke experts out there. Tips? Warnings? How long can your pickle bed last?

From Easy Japanese Pickling by Seiko Ogawa:

"What Maintenance is Needed?

Every day (twice a day in summer) stir well from the bottom, folding air in. This stirring prevents souring or molding. After stirring, flatten the surface and wipe the sides. Also, as the nukadocko is used again and again, replenish it with more nuka and salt."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Jenni   

Apologies if this is wrong, but the rice bran bit rings a bell from an early blog by helenjp. She talks about the pickling process a little here (and the blog may well go on to say more) and also provides a link to a recipe here.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Excellent! I had forgotten that.

Just went to three stores -- including a Japanese store -- to find nuka (rice bran): no dice. Ideas?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
BarbaraY   

Chris, I suggest you check again as Tsuji has a very good recipe for nuka zuke on page 319. I have used this recipe and it works very well. Also lots of tips from helenjp in her blog. I didn't use the reduced iron as I didn't have it. Have never used bread either.

Elisabeth Andoh has one in her book At Home with Japanese Cooking.

I like a bit of garlic and ginger in the pickles.

I don't care for the idea of bread in the pickles , it just doesn't seem authentic to me.

As you may have guessed I'm very fond of nuka zuke. I have ordered nuka on-line from Maruwa.

Sorry, I misspoke. It was Marukai that I last ordered nuka from. Maruwa no longer ships. Marukai has outlandish shipping fees and I have stopped ordering from them.

I suggest you check with a natural foods store or two as they sometimes have it available.


Edited by BarbaraY (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks, ojisan and BarbaraY! I didn't see that in the index.

I've hit the local Whole Foods and had no luck. There's a natural food place that I'll try next.

Is anyone else doing this? I feel like I want to be prepared for the coming barrage of summer and fall vegetables.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Chris, I think the only place I've ever seen nuka is in a Japanese food store.

Edit: I should learn to read before posting.


Edited by mkayahara (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
ojisan   

Aside from the daily maintenance, the only downside for me was having to dedicate space in my not-large-enough fridge.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
helenjp   

Sorry, I've been away for a few days. Nuka is hard to get outside Japan. I can't see from the Mitsuwa link whether or not the bag includes salt or other seasonings, but it may well do.

One more option - use home-produced bran from a home-polishing machine. I had much more bran than I needed for pickles, but the excess is great for compost heaps (just don't let it form a solid lump of bran in the middle of the compost). Loose fabric bags of bran are also traditionally used in bathwater, and also to clean and polish floors and furniture (the plan is that the oils and some starch work through the fabric, while the messy bran is contained.

I did lightly toast our home-made rice bran. It was much easier to manage than any shop-bought bran, to my surprise - the right cultures grew well, and the bed seemed less prone to getting smelly or moldy.

If you can wangle a bit of rice bran off a restaurant or other place likely to polish their own rice, you can make a smallish pickle bed and keep it in the fridge so that you don't get overwhelmed with the constant need for management in summer.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In the typical fit of wild ambition that usually overcomes me in Asian groceries, I once bought nuka in Seattle's Uwajimaya. Unsurprisingly, I never used it. I would offer to see if they still have it and pick some up for you, but I won't be there for several months. Perhaps some other Seattle-area EGer might be willing?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
_john   

Be careful where you get your nuka (rice bran)!

The bran is where most of the agricultural chemicals are concentrated. So you don't want to pickle vegetables in pesticides/herbicides/fertilizers and then eat them raw. Also rice bran oil goes rancid very quickly. Make sure you get fresh product.

I use organic nuka that is left over from that day's milling. But, and it is a big But, I live in Japan.

Don't start throwing a bunch of stuff in your nuka right away. Start out with just water, salt, and nuka and then adjust from there.

The recipe is very simple:

-a given weight of nuka (if the nuka is raw it must be "toasted". To toast it: in your biggest pot bring it slowly to 100°C without letting it color)

-an equal weight of 13% salt water solution that has been brought to a boil and cooled.

Mix the salt water solution and then nuka until it resembles the consistency of mud or miso.

pickle throw away vegetables for two weeks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks, _john. My two local sources didn't pan out, sadly, and I'm having a hard time justifying the whopping shipping on some of the recommendations here. Amazon has Bob's Red Mill here, and I can get free shipping. But what does "stabilized" mean?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
_john   

I bet "stabilized" means "toasted". In other words heat treated to destroy the enzymes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
BarbaraY   

$19.30 to ship $4.98 worth of goods is totally unacceptable to me. Even with the price of gas I could drive to my nearest (70 miles) Japanese market for that.

I called my nearest and best natural foods place and the person who answered said that they had it. She did sound a bit puzzled so it may or may not happen.

Another problem is my daughter, who is disabled, can't bear the smell of it so I have to figure out how to avoid that problem. Last batch I finally gave up but I still want rice bran pickles.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
_john   

You can pickle meat and fish in nuka as well. first you salt or brine what you want to pickle and then pickle it for a longer time than vegetables. Mackerel pickled in nuka is called heshiko. It is one of my favorite foods. http://長兵衛.jp/html/sati_heshiko01.html


Edited by _john (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OK! I have the rice bran, and I found a large crock from a crock pot at a second hand store. Now it's time to make the nukadoko base over the next short while. I've got a few different proportions for the bran/salt/water mix, but I can figure that out. All have kombu, so I'm going with that. Then it gets tricky.

If anyone can comment on the ingredients listed (from Helen's blog, Kondo, and Tsuji), I'm all ears:

  • Dried chile peppers
  • Dry ground mustard
  • Beer
  • Ginger
  • Garlic
  • Cabbage leaves
  • Garlic
  • Bread
  • Lemon peel
  • Apple peel
  • Reduced iron (kangentetsu) or a rusty nail

Which are flavoring agents? chemical agents? both?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
_john   

Dried chile peppers

- A must, but the resulting pickles should not be spicy. The chile peppers to use are the dry ones used in Chinese cooking. Remove the seeds and cut them into rings.

Dry ground mustard

- Supposedly added for antimicrobial it's properties but it is very easy to overdo. Makes the pickles bitter. I never add it.

Beer

- Makes your pickles taste like stale beer. I never add it. A good substitution is nutritional yeast. The goal of adding beer is to get that fermented flavor. Some people say it is added to add the living yeast of beer. Most beer is pasteurized so I doubt it.

Ginger

- Have you smelled ginger that has turned brown and mushy? Yeah, that smell on your pickles. I never add it.

Garlic

- Way too overpowering. I never add.

Cabbage leaves

- These are a must during the first two weeks. You pickle these and then throw them away. The lactic bacteria on the leaves promote good fermentation.

Bread

- Again, added to get that fermented flavor. Often added by people who do not have access to nuka. I never add it.

Lemon peel

- Never heard of this being added.

Apple peel

- Never heard of this being added.

Reduced iron (kangentetsu) or a rusty nail

- Makes the color of some pickled vegetables better. If you are getting enough iron in your diet already I do not recommend adding it.

Some things you didn't mention but some people add:

Egg shells: added calcium.

Myoban (Potash Alum): added to enhance the color of some vegetables, specifically eggplant.

sansho (Japanese pepper): I'm not sure why this is added but some people include it.

kinako (toasted soy bean flour): I guess this is added to give more depth to the flavor, it is toasty and a little sweet.

dry shitake: for the flavor.

About konbu:

Konbu goes bad very quickly after it has been re-hydrated. I don't recommend adding konbu itself to the nuka. Rather, when you are making the 13% salt solution add about 10% by weight konbu to the water and bring it to a boil. This strong konbu salt soup is what you use to wet the "toasted" nuka.


Edited by _john (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
ojisan   

Elizabeth Andoh's "Kansha" has an xlnt 8-pg. section devoted to nuka-zuke.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×