Tsukemono, which are pickles fermented in rice bran (Nukadoko), is the perfect companion to plain steamed rice. This is because of the refreshingly acidic taste and aroma that is produced when fermenting ingredients in rice bran (nukadoko) because the lactic acid and yeast grow in balance.
What is Tsukemono and Nukazuke?
Tsukemono means pickled thing. Nukazuke is one of the tsukemono. Nuka is rice bran in Japanese. Ingredients pickled in Nuka rice bran is called Nukazuke. I can buy already pickled from Japanese grocery stores but it is fun to make my own.
What’s in the rice bran fermenting bed (Nukadoko)?
Freshly made rice bran is the best but I am not living in Japan so it’s hard to find so the second best is roasted rice bran in packets that I can get from local Japanese grocery stores. Nukadoko consists of rice bran, water, salt, kelp, chili flake, garlic, and mustard powder.
How to make rice bran fermenting bed ?
It is very simple. Just mix all the ingredients together. The water needs to be boiled and cooled before added in order to remove the chlorine in the water. The amount of salt is calculated at 10%-12% of the rice bran weight. Kelp and garlic will be added for umami. Chili flake and mustard are added for antiseptic and antioxidants. I added matured nukadoko as well to speed up the fermenting process.
Suitable Containers to keep Nukadoko rice bran fermenting bed
In my opinion, enamel container is best because
- It’s resistant to acid and salt.
- Unlike plastic, the chemical substances never dissolve
And the size is large enough to stir the rice bran bed easily every day. So I use rectangle shaped enamel container
Looking after your Nukadoko
Once all ingredients are combined, test a pickle with outer leaf of cabbage (Sutezuke) to mature the fermenting bed. Leave it for about a week, then remove the cabbage. Nukadoko is ready to pickle anything. Nukadoko needs to be stirred upside down every day by hand in order to grow both the lactic bacteria and yeast in good balance.
What and for how long ingredients can be pickled in Nukadoko?
Most vegetables, fish and meat can be pickled though, I have never tried fish and meat myself. My absolute favourite is eggplant (aubergine) and cabbage. Vegetables like eggplant (aubergine) need to be rubbed with salt to keep the nice purple colour and also to remove astringent taste. The length of time needed to pickle ingredients in Nukadoko depends on the type of vegetables.
Cucumber is a Nukazuke classic ingredient. Cucumber has an astringent taste so you need to do a little bit of prep before it gets pickled in Nukadoko. Chop off both ends and rub with salt. This will draw the water out of the cucumber then you can pickle in Nukadoko. It will be pickled in 7-8 hours.
Carrot is quite a hard vegetable so if it is large, cut it in half or quarter in length width with skin intact. I used Dutch carrots which are small so I just washed it and chopped off thel eaves and pickled as it is. Since it is a hard vegetable, it takes longer to get pickled. It takes about 1-2 days to pickle.
Wash and chop the leaves off. Then pickle for 1 day.
Here is my instruction for Tsukemono Nukazuke Rice bran pickles and If you liked it, please rate it and leave a comment or any questions below. Also, don’t forget to follow me on Youtube, Pinterest, Facebook , Twitter and Instagram to keep up to date with all the latest happenings on Chopstick Chronicles. Don’t forget to use the hashtag #ChopstickChronicles so I can see your wonderful creations!
- 800 ml Water
- 800 g Roasted Rice Bran
- 80 g salt
- 2 tbsp mustard powder
- 250 g matured rice bran mixture Optional *1
- 5 cm Kelp
- 1 dried chili
- 2 cloves garlic cut in half
- 6-8 outer leaves cabbage for maturing the rice bran bed
- Boil the water in order to remove chlorine and set aside to cool down.
- Place the roasted rice bran into the container that is used for pickle
- Add salt to the roasted rice bran and mix them well
- Add mustard powder and combine them all together well
- Pour the cooled down water into the container and mix them well with hands
- Press the konbu kelp, chili and garlic in and bury completely in the rice bran bed.
- Make the top surface flat with your hands, wipe the container to clean (avoiding other bacteria growth) and place a lid on.
- Refrigerate to rest overnight.
- Next morning, take the container out of the fridge and press the cabbage leaves into the rice bran pickling bed (nukadoko) and bury them completely with rice bran.
- Wipe the inside of the container with wet cloths to clean.
- Place the lid and leave it overnight at room temperature.
- Next day, remove the cabbage leaves out of the rice bran bed, and stir the rice bran bed well.
- Add another cabbage leaves, cover with the rice bran, flatten the top surface and wipe off to clean the container with wet cloths.
- Repeat the above process 3-4 times in order to mature the rice bran pickling bed. *2
- After you repeat the above process 3-4 times, the rice bran bed is ready to pickle.
- Wash the vegetables that you want to pickle and prep the vegetables. *3