Make your own tsukemono

Umeboshi, the kind of pickled food Français : ...
Umeboshi, the kind of pickled food Français : Umeboshi dans une soucoupe 中文: 日本的酸梅稱為Umeboshi, 常用來配飯 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Asian Pickles Japan by Karen Solomon is a small ebook – only 52 pages – but it’s ridiculously cheap, and if you love Japanese food, then it is packed with the kind of recipes you have been looking for. It’s about pickles – tsukemono – those delicious little morsels served at restaurants and which you can sometimes find lurking on the shelves at Asian groceries.

Recipes for delights like umeboshi and pickled ginger are hard to find, and when you do find them, use ingredients that don’t sound quite right, or rely too much on artificial flavours and colours. Karen Solomon gets it just right.

These recipes are as simple as a talented cook can make them, and have ingredients that are not to hard to find. I saw potted shiso (a Japanese herb) at my supermarket, and I didn’t buy it! Now I know what it is and what you can do with it, I will be growing it myself.

There are some very complicated processes, like ‘pickling beds’ and the umeboshi, but the result is so worth it. For the impatient (like me!) there are recipes that are ready in hours or days, like gorgeous pickled nashi with lemons or ‘sitting fee’ cabbage pickles (there’s a cute story behind the name!). Any of these would be great on while watching Asian movies at home.

Solomon has an engaging, humorous and friendly writing style, and she has a knack for making you want to make pickles, even if you have never tried before. It’s a great little book, and for those who enjoy experimenting with Asian cuisines, I thoroughly recommend it.

I must add a word of praise for Jennifer Martine’s excellent photographs. It’s just a pity there aren’t more of them!

My thanks to Net Galley for letting me review this book.

This book is available for download from Amazon Kindle where you can have a peek inside.

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