AMAZAKE NUKA PICKLE
These days everybody speaks about pickles and the importance of fermented foods.
You could easily say: "A pickle a day keeps the doctor away."
If you are a real fermentation geek, as we are, then you will be "jolly mad" about this tsukemono recipe.
The many benefits of naturally fermented plant-based products, and vegetable pickles, are well-known.
Whether it is the naturally brewed beer, shoyu, miso, vinegar, tempeh, natto, sauerkraut or kimchi, they all have a unique taste and countless nutritional and medicinal properties.
To name a few, natural ferments are:
- Full of vital, easily digestible, high-quality nutrients such as essential amino acids, vitamins, enzymes, minerals and many others.
- A safe source of highly beneficial probiotic bacteria and prebiotic fibre.
- And a good source of natural sour taste which stimulates your liver and gall bladder and the bile secretion. These are vital for proper digestion and maintaining the acid-alkaline balance in your gut and blood.
In one sentence:
Regular natural pickle eating (i.e. free of added sugar and chemicals) makes your belly work well and feel good and helps you poop better and fart less. Eventually ;-). So don't give up.
Now about the ingredients.
Our NUKA, the rice bran we use, is from Spanish organic brown Calasparra rice. Together with amazake, white sea salt and turnips, these four key ingredients make an amazingly good-tasting pickle! We are red-beet serious about this one. So you better try it!
What is AMAZAKE?
Amazake is a traditional natural sweetener obtained by fermentation of cooked rice or other grains with the culture of Aspergillus Oryzae. This "noble" cultured bacteria can break down the complex grain carbohydrates into smaller, sweeter simple sugars (mono, oligo, and polysaccharides).
The result is a super delicious pudding-like sweet paste that can be used in cakes, muffins, pancakes, smoothies, chilled and warm drinks, shakes, desserts, sauces, pickles, marinades, or simply on your morning porridge.
This naturally sweet, grain-based seasoning is perfect for keeping your blood sugar level steady and in tune.
And as for the Amazake nuka recipe.
For one batch, enough for you and to share, you will need:
Note: 1 cup = 250ml
1 kg turnips, finely sliced; we like to use the Japanese Benriner grater
7 teaspoons of white sea salt *
1 big jar or 2 small jars of millet amazake *
1 cup nuka *, rice bran
time and patience, 5-7 days
* Tampopo Foods product
Step by step:
- Wash the turnips well with a tawashi vegetable brush. Cut them in halves or quarters and slice them finely using a grater. For the best and fast result, slices should be less than 1mm thick.
- Mix in the salt and massage gently until the slices turn glassy and start to release some juice.
- Add the nuka and amazake and mix all well.
- Scoop up the mixture into a pickle press or glass pickling pot and press it. Make sure the sides of your container stay clean and all slices are covered with liquid to prevent mould.
- Cover with a clean tea towel to keep away insects and direct light. Allow to rest in a clean, quiet, draft-free place.
- Mix the pickle with a clean spoon gently once a day, always keeping the sides clean.
- Your pickle should be ready after 5-7 days, depending on the temperature, weather, and season. The fermentation bubbles will appear, and the pickle will develop a delicate sweet-sour taste.
- Once ready, move the pickle into a glass jar with a closing or air-tight container and keep it refrigerated or stored in a cool place. This slows fermentation and prevents pickles from quickly turning very sour and eventually bitter.
This pickle has a unique sweet-sour taste thanks to the amazake and fermentation.
The longer you keep it, the sourer it will turn.
So we always like to eat ours daily and finish it on time while it still tastes sweet.
Try red beet or other beets instead of turnip.
Just be aware that you may need to add more salt, as the beets contain more sugars.
Other vegetables suitable for this pickle are, e.g. carrot, parsley root, daikon, and fennel.
Play around with rice or oat amazake too.
Happy pickling, and enjoy!
xxx Jarka & Karel