Kyuri no kyu chan (きゅうりのキューちゃん) is brand name of extremely popular Japanese cucumber pickles. I’m always thrilled at the idea of reproducing a famous factory made product at home (I still keep on preparing my own Taberu Rayu, a Japanese thick chili oil), so when I saw the recipe on Hiroyuki’s blog on Japanese cooking, I knew I would try it soon. This first test was particularly exciting since I have never actually tasted the original pickles. I have no comparison, but Hiroyuki’s home version, slightly modified and prepared with big, long Western cucumbers turned out delicious.
Unlike Western strong pickles, Japanese style pickles (tsukemono) have a low acidity level, are more or less sweet (sometimes too sweet for my taste) and, unless store-bought, they belong to short-term preserves; as such they have to be kept in the fridge. The low acidity is sometimes a nice change from stronger European pickles which cannot be served at every meal. The sweetness level of many Japanese dishes is however often too high for me, so I have slightly reduced here the sugar amount. I have also used low-salt soy sauce (Hiroyuki said they were very salty). I was very happy with the result and found these pickles addictive. They were so delicate and versatile, I had them with every single meal (breakfast too). Moreover, I was astounded by the incredible taste of the pickled ginger strips. They were supposed to be only a part of cucumbers’ seasoning, but I enjoyed fishing them out and eating separately. My next batch will be bigger and I will certainly add more ginger. Thank you, Hiroyuki, for this excellent recipe!
If you find yourself with a big batch of cucumbers, I strongly recommend trying the incredibly easy and particularly flavoursome Cucumber Kimchi:
or the Moomins’ Cucumber Salad I posted last year and have been putting into jars this weekend:
Preparation: 15 minutes + 12 hours
2 Japanese cucumbers or 1 big long Western cucumber
1 tablespoon fresh ginger slivers
1 tablespoon sugar
100 ml (about 3,4 oz) low-salt soy sauce
50 ml (about 1,7 oz) rice vinegar
toasted sesame seeds
Cut the cucumbers into 1 cm (about 1/2 in) slices and if they are big, cut the slices in two.
Put the sugar, the soy sauce and the vinegar in a pan. Bring to the boil.
Add the cucumbers and the ginger strips. Let them simmer for 2 minutes.
Put aside and once cooled, refrigerate them overnight.
Serve sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds.