Have you ever tried the soft pink pickled ginger that often accompanies sushi? It comes in a little sachet when you buy sushi rolls or at sushi restaurants. The flavour is refreshingly sweet and sour, and it has a pretty light pink colour. It is called “Gari” in Japanese. Maybe you would like to try and make this yourself.
I am going to show you how to make this pickled ginger “Gari”!
What is Gari?
Gari is thinly sliced new ginger rhizomes, then pickled in sweetened rice vinegar. You will always find it accompanying sushi. Did you know that you can actually make it? It is not difficult to make, and is much healthier. This is because it contains no artificial preservatives.
Why is Gari soft pink?
Pickled ginger is naturally a soft pink colour because new ginger roots are used to make sushi ginger. You can see them in the above photo. New ginger roots are red in colour. If some of the red pigment is thinly sliced with the ginger root, then the end result is this gorgeous colour. Isn’t it a beautiful pink?
Pickled ginger, or sushi ginger is often served with Sushi. But why? Because eating pickled ginger cleanses the taste buds between pieces of sushi. Eating refreshing ginger prevents the taste buds from becoming desensitized by eating same the taste food. As a result, your sushi experience is more delicious.
Grow your own ginger
I really wanted to make pickled ginger myself. So I purchased fresh ginger with the beautiful foliage still attached, at a local farmers market. I planted a part of it into my veggie patch. Now I don’t have green thumbs, so maybe I think if I can grow ginger, anyone can. Besides, it is always a great feeling to grow something you can actually eat. If you would like to know more about growing your own, check out growing ginger.
5 Tips to make delicious Gari
1. Make pickled ginger with new ginger rhizomes.
2. In order to make Gari that beautiful soft pink colour, keep some of the red pigment parts.
3. Scrub wash the rhizomes. Peeling is NOT necessary.
4. Slice thinly. Parboil. Finally, squeeze out the excess water as much as you can.
5. Add sweetened vinegar while it is still hot.
How to store Pickled ginger
When it has cooled down, put the pickles in an airtight container and store it in a fridge. It will keep for about a month refrigerated. I only harvested about 150g of the new ginger rhizomes, so it did not last long in my fridge. We ate them all in about a week.
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- 150 g new ginger rhizomes
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup rice vinegar
- 3 tbsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp kelp dashi powder *1
- Prepare the ginger rhizomes by scrubbing them under running water.
- Cut stems off leaving the read part attached to rhizomes.
- Slice the ginger rhizomes as thin as possible with a slicer *2
- Boil water in a pot and parboil the sliced ginger.
- Drain the parboiled water and scutter the sliced ginger on a cooling tray and set aside.
- Place vinegar, sugar, salt and kelp dashi powder in a small saucepan over medium heat.
- Turn the heat off when the sugar and dashi powder dissolved.
- Squeeze the sliced and parboiled ginger to remove excess water out.
- Place the ginger in a container and pour the vinegar mixture over while the vinegar is still hot. The ginger colour will turn to pink straight away.
- Let it cool and refrigerate. You can start to eat after three hours pickled in the vinegar.