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South-East-Asian Pickles: The Topic


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I LOVE pickled ginger. In fact, in some instances, moreso than sushi or sashimi itself. When I was first introduced to sushi, it was my least favorite part of a sushi meal. Now it's the opposite.

Besides sushi/sashimi, what other uses for pickled ginger are there? And how do you make your own? What goes in the pickling solution? Fresh pickled ginger (not premade) is undyed and a pale beige in color, whereas the premade version is a slight tawny pink.

Any suggestions?


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I am not into sushi or sashimi but I do occasionally "preserve" ginger. When my Asian market has some particularly fresh and luscious ginger, I will buy a bunch and slice it up. Then I just put it in a jar, pour rice wine vinegar over it and refrigerate. Then I have it for cooking (usually Thai curries and such) and just adjust the sour note accordingly. I do this with galangal as well since that seems to be a bit more seasonal here. Funny, but doing this often, but not always, results in the ginger turning pink. :blink: I wonder why that is.

I would really be interested in any other pickling or preserving ideas since I am looking at a nice pile of some really pretty ginger that my nephew brought to me yesterday. I had bitched rather loudly about the quality of the ginger I found for braising Bambi's mother for Christmas. He also threw in some fresh cinnamon bark. Is there a recipe out there for some sort of sweet and spiced pickle or preserves?

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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Gari is best coloured with beet root, which also imparts a slight sweetness.

Peel and slice the ginger and cover with salt, leave for 24 hours. Then rinse. Heat some rice vinegar with some large pieces of beet root. Add the ginger. Store sealed for about a week.

This not a traditional way of making gari but it works well.

The beet is delicious as well.

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Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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Jin: What's the traditional method for making gari? Also, does it matter how thinly you slice the ginger? Typical pickled ginger is sliced razor thin, but I could see the case for thicker slices.


Edited by SobaAddict70 (log)
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Besides sushi/sashimi, what other uses for pickled ginger are there? Any suggestions?


i use pickled ginger in the following "untraditional" ways:

--a bit chopped up in a squash, pumpkin, or carrot soup at the end.

--simmer some with water for a throat/head-cold treatment.

--mince some to go with tangerines, mangoes, or grapefruit.

--if i'm making ribs, i use some of the juice from the jar in the marinade.

but for some/all of these ideas, the fresh, young gingerroot would almost certainly be better--a matter of convenience. :smile:

"The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears, or the ocean."

--Isak Dinesen

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Besides sushi/sashimi, what other uses for pickled ginger are there?  And how do you make your own?  What goes in the pickling solution?  Fresh pickled ginger (not premade) is undyed and a pale beige in color, whereas the premade version is a slight tawny pink.

Any suggestions?


I just heat rice vinegar with a little sugar and add the sliced ginger. It seems to keep forever in the fridge. I use the ginger in most savory recipes that call for fresh ginger, which I don't always have. I also use the vinegar for salad dressings and marinades.

Edit to add something I just remembered:

In Gourmet (I think) a while back, there was a sort of "deconstructed" California Roll salad made with rice, crab, avocado and sliced pickled ginger. I didn't try it when I saw it, but maybe now that crab season is here, I'll do it.

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I'm pretty sure I read somewhere that the "pink" can be attained from food coloring. It's more for presentation than anything else. Keep it simple and don't worry about the pink color.

If you like pickled ginger, you may also enjoy any of the various pickled vegetables, rizomes, and tubers offered at Asian grocery stores.

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I make a salad with shredded white cabbage, jullienned carotts, peanuts and chopped gari. The dressing is rice wine vinegar, a little bit of soy sauce and some mirin. I don't have any measurements, sorry. It's just a make it up as you go sort of recipe.

I also put a few pieces of unpeeled garlic into my chicken broth when I am sick.

True Heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic.

It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost,

but the urge to serve others at whatever cost. -Arthur Ashe

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Sorry, can't help myself. Does anyone know why pickled ginger turns pink? I know it's a chemical reaction between the ginger and the vinegar. And I vaguely remember something from high school chemistry about basic and acidic solutions mixing and changing colors. (Distilled water turns grape juice blue, right?)

But I can't figure the ginger thing out. Vinegar is obviously acidic. I would guess that ginger is too, but don't know for sure.

Can any chemistry experts help with this?



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Pink ginger...it seems to turn pink more reliably if the ginger is young (and fresh). Hence young ginger shoots are almost always pale pink when pickled.

Red color in vinegar...seems that vinegar usually enhances reds, alkalis produce blues. You can waste some time by putting some finely chopped red cabbage in vinegar...turns red....add soap....turns blue...add more vinegar...turns red again...etc.

Scientific explanations?? Well, don't look at me!

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I discovered this recipe several years ago -- "Hebi and Ogo Cake with Maui Style Salsa." The salsa contains pickled ginger. I've made several variations of it, all good.

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Pink ginger...it seems to turn pink more reliably if the ginger is young (and fresh). Hence young ginger shoots are almost always pale pink when pickled.

And of course, the tips of young ginger roots are pink without being pickled.

Michael aka "Pan"


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  • 5 years later...

Yesterday I went to a Taiwanese restaurant that served this spicy salty daikon pickle. It was cut in small pieces and mixed with hot red chili paste and fermented black bean. I don't think there was any vinegar, so it's not the sweet & sour kind.

Does anyone have a recipe or technique on how to make this kind of pickle? I especially like how the daikon was so crisp and crunchy - I imagine you'd have to salt or brine it? TIA! :smile:

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Does anyone have a recipe or technique on how to make this kind of pickle?  I especially like how the daikon was so crisp and crunchy - I imagine you'd have to salt or brine it?  TIA!  :smile:

You can buy them ready-made in the stores.

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
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  • 2 months later...

I'm making bamee noodles with barbecued pork tonight for dinner, and it called for pickled Chinese cabbage. I found pickled everything - except cabbage - at the market this afternoon. I bought kimchee - would this be a good substitute? Or even what the recipe was calling for?

I also have fresh Chinese cabbage - if the kimchee isn't ideal, can I make my own pickled cabbage in a few hours? If so, how would I go about doing it?

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  • 1 month later...
Does anyone have a recipe or technique on how to make this kind of pickle?  I especially like how the daikon was so crisp and crunchy - I imagine you'd have to salt or brine it?  TIA!   :smile:

You can buy them ready-made in the stores.

Granted ... but if I wanted to make them home made, does anyone have a recipe or suggestions? I ask because I have friends who are orthodox Jewish and unless the ready-made is certified Kosher (rare for many Chinese products), they won't eat it ... it forces me to make many items "from scratch" ... all in all, not a bad thing! :cool::cool:




Philadelphia, PA, USA and Sandwich, Kent, UK

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  • 3 months later...

I'm pretty sure this is Preserved Tianjin Vegetables - a Chinese preserved vegetable, also used in Thai cooking. It is used in soup, so this it a likely candidate. This answer comes very late, so is not likely to help with your dish anymore, but you can't easily make it quickly.

Even though it says it's cabbage and chinese, I have a hard time believing it's actually Chinese cabbage (I'm a botanist, Master gardeners, and food-lore enthusiast). I suspect something is lost in the translation. It's called winter cabbage preserve too - and I think it's actually regular western cabbage - and it's Thai name anyway Cai Bap is Western Cabbage (which is Brassica oleracea (capitata group) - probably originated in the Mediteranean region where wild relative are still found, while chinese cabbages are Brassica rapa (various groups) the same species as turnips, but the origins of the plants are obscure - but likely western Asia)


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I agree, if I saw that ingredient in a recipe, I would use preserved Tianjin vegetable. It's sold cheaply in Asian markets, in a distinctive clay crock.


I don't think kimchee is a good substitute, because of its spice. In a pinch, I would substitute old-fashioned sauerkraut, drained and dried well on a paper towel. Tianjin vegetable is more pungent and earthy than sauerkraut.

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  • 3 years later...

Has anyone tried the pickle recipe in Land of Plenty. I made it a few days ago (using only carrots), but the carrots came out waaaaaaaay too salty for my tastes. I guess I will halve the salt and try again.

Are there any other chinese or simply asian pickling recipes I should know about?

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  • 9 months later...

I am growing small eggplants (I'm trying several varieties that are early - even some other related species) this year and hope to make a condiment I purchase at a Vietnamese / Cambodian market nearby. I suspect these are popular all over Southeast Asia. It's pickled small whole eggplants in a sweet and sour sauce with quite a bite. They are crunchy and addictive. They make a great addition to meals, Southeast Asian or not, especially with rice. Here's a link to a site that sells them http://www.shoptheeast.com/buy-preserved-pickled/1118-roxy-trading-pickled-eggplant-with-chili-in-vinegar-16-oz-051299161316.html Vinegar is missing from the ingredients, and I'm pretty sure it's there - or they fermented them (but they don't seem too fermented to me).

There are actually several types I've bought, some with shrimp, some with fish, all are good. I want to make the simplest version first. If I get no response I'll post my experiments. I've found what seems a similar recipe for just shrimp (it has the same ingredients listed on the jar).

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  • 3 months later...

My grandmother makes these all the time and they keep forever. I have no idea what she uses for the brine, but it seems like it's some mixture of fish sauce, salt, sugar, and vinegar, with a few chili peppers thrown in

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