Start to Finish: 30 minutes + 2 days
Pickled ginger can easily be made at home, using just a few readily available ingredients. Pickled ginger is often served with sushi, as it cleanses your mouth from fishy tastes, making it easier to appreciate the nuanced flavors of different sushi rolls. When making pickled ginger, note that it is likely to be a very pale pink or even yellow, as the bright pink color often seen on ginger at restaurants comes from food dye.
Use fresh, young ginger to make pickled ginger. You can find very fresh ginger at most Asian markets.
- 1 quart water
- 1/2 pound fresh ginger
- 1 1/8 teaspoon pickling salt
- 1 cup rice vinegar
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon Japanese soy sauce
Japanese soy sauce is milder in taste due to the wheat used in it, making it a good choice to add a hint of flavor to pickled ginger without overpowering it.
Slice and Boil the Ginger
Slice the ginger as paper thin as possible to start.
Boil water in a saucepan and add the sliced ginger. After adding the ginger, bring the water back to a boil.
Drain the ginger and allow it to fully cool.
Mix the Pickling Mixture
Put the drained ginger in a bowl and sprinkle it with 1/8 teaspoon of pickling salt.
Add the vinegar, sugar, remaining pickling salt and soy sauce to a saucepan and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring until the sugar and salt is fully dissolved.
Pour the mixture over the ginger and mix well.
Pickle the Ginger
Cover the bowl tightly and refrigerate it for at least 24 hours before using the ginger, though giving the ginger a full 48 hours to pickle will get a better flavor.
Keep the pickled ginger refrigerated and it will keep for three to four months.
Drain the ginger thoroughly before the letting it cool. Too much water left with the ginger can prevent it from pickling sufficiently.
Serving Suggestions and Uses
While pickled ginger's primary use in sushi or as a palate cleanser, it can have a few other uses. Try it tossed with stir-fry vegetables for extra flavor or chop a small amount into diced pieces and mix it in a salad. And if you're a big fan of pickled ginger, just snack on it right out of the container.