Sweet and sour cucumber and wakame pickles (kyuuri to wakame no amasuzuke)

kyuuri_wakame_amasuzuke.sidebar.jpgThis Japanese sokusekizuke method of letting vegetables marinate in a vinegar-based marinade is similar to Western pickling methods, but there’s no canning and sterilation and things involved since these are meant to be eaten within a couple of days like all quick pickles. The vinegar marinade is simply meant to enhance the flavors of the vegetables rather than preserve it for long keeping.

These cucumber pickles are sweet, sour and a bit salty all at the same time. The flavor is quite mild and fresh, so I can eat these several days in a row and not get tired of them. The wakame seaweed can be left out if you prefer, but makes a nice contrast to the cucumber while adding its own umami to the marinade.

The pickles can be eaten anytime from a couple of hours after putting them in the marinade to about 3 days later or so, if you keep it in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Sweet and sour cucumber and wakame pickles (kyuuri to wakame no amasuzuke)

Note: this amount of marinade is enough for one large English-style cucumber - the long, relatively thin kind that often comes shrink-packed in plastic. If you’re using other cucumbers, aim for about 4 to 5 cups cut up.

The marinade:

  • 8 Tbs. rice wine vinegar (not sushi vinegar - read the label)
  • 1/2 tsp. dashi soup stock granules, OR 1 4 inch square / 10 cm square piece of kombu seaweed
  • 1 1/2 Tbs. sugar
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 4 Tbs. boiling water
  • 1 whole dried red chili pepper (optional; leave out if you don’t want any spiciness)

Combine and mix until the sugar is melted.

The vegetables:

  • 1 large English-style cucumber
  • 2 Tbs. dried pre-cut wakame seaweed (fueru type or the kind that just requires soaking)

De-seed and cut up 1 English-style cucumber or equivalent other kind of cucumber. (Japanese cucumbers don’t need de-seeding.)

Put the marinade in a small glass, ceramic or plastic bowl (not metal) or the good old ziplock plastic bag. Put the cucumber and wakame seaweed in. Stir or shake around, seal well and let marinade in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours or overnight.

Drain off the marinade and serve in small bowls. This should be eaten within 2-3 days.


You can reuse the marinade once: let it come to a boil, cool off, and put in fresh vegetables.

Besides cucumbers try sliced turnips, carrots, daikon radish, regular radish, etc.

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I just want to let you know that I LOVE the pickle posts! Japanese pickles are my favorite part of Japanese cuisine, but they are sadly neglected by most cookbooks and restaurants.

anon. | 21 March, 2007 - 15:08

pickles are taken for granted

I think that pickles don’t show up much in cookbooks and such because they tend to be taken for granted. Not that many restaurants make their own pickles…I remember when Sushisay in NYC (which my mom managed) started serving housemade nukazuke (rice brain pickles) it caused a bit of a sensation amongst the Japanese regulars .

In Japan readymade pickles are so easily available, and in such variety, many people just buy it. Since I can’t do that here in Switzerland I have to make my own most of the time…well that’s a common reason for a lot of my Japanese recipes :) I’m glad you are enjoying the recipes!

maki | 22 March, 2007 - 03:33

Re: Sweet and sour cucumber and wakame pickles (kyuuri to ...

I'm going to try this recipe, but I was wondering. How do I adapt this recipe for daikon?

anon. | 1 March, 2009 - 06:33

Re: Sweet and sour cucumber and wakame pickles (kyuuri to ...

I just tried this recipe over the weekend using green (unripe) papaya, and it is heavenly! All I did differently was to peel and seed the green papaya, which I found at my local oriental grocery. I cut it into bits about 1/2" x 1" and then followed the recipe. Super yummy!

Lex | 19 October, 2009 - 18:20

Uncooked kombu safety

Hi, first of all thank you very much for posting this recipe. I tried it yesterday with very good results! :) I have a question regarding the safety of uncooked kombu. For instance the book "Dashi and Umami" advise not to keep dashi stock made from kombu and cold water (no heating applied, just leave the kombu in cold water some hours) for more than 10-12 hours. Quoting the book "after 10-12 hours the complex sugars contained in the kombu will begin to emerge into the water, giving the dashi a gelatinous texture. As this happens, it must also be expected that bacteria will begin to multiply....". That said, I am aware of a number of Japanese recipes which calls for leaving the kombu in some kind of sauce/marinade for days if not weeks. I assume that the specific ingredients (vinegar here?) help to avoid the issues the book is referring to. The only parts that worries me is that the kombu I used on this particular occasion (Rishiri kombu) always quickly develops a "slimy/gelatinous" transparent surrounding after being re-hydrated. This “gelatinous water” can be felt at the touch or just raising the kombu above the marinade (it will "hang" from it) and stay attached to the kombu. I am quite sure my kombu is perfectly fine, can I just be assured that this behaviour is expected and that I am not going to be killed from it? :) Thank you again for your sharing!

Stefano | 2 November, 2010 - 00:53

Re: Sweet and sour cucumber and wakame pickles (kyuuri to ...

I made this with shredded carrots and parsnip flower-cut slices, no wakame because I forgot to buy some last time I went shopping, and it came out yummy and pretty! I want to try it with purple Korean radish next! (I use a lot more Korean radish than daikon because my market is Korean.)

Lori | 24 February, 2011 - 20:52

Re: Sweet and sour cucumber and wakame pickles (kyuuri to ...

I've made this twice now, and I think it will become a regular part of my repertoire. Simple, easy, and delicious! I think I want to try adding a little yukari next time; the slight shiso note could complement the wakame, I think.

marnen | 7 December, 2011 - 23:24

Re: Sweet and sour cucumber and wakame pickles (kyuuri to ...

I'm looking for a recipe to make the style of kyuri tsukemono served in many restaurants in Japan. I saw them everywhere and the seem very standard, but I can't seem to find out how to make them.

Anyone have and tips or links?

Curtis | 9 January, 2012 - 04:56

Re: Sweet and sour cucumber and wakame pickles (kyuuri to ...

You probably had nukazuke (rice bran pickles). I'll have a how-to up one of these days. They take a bit of prep and care and feeding, which is why I haven't gotten around to it yet. ^_^;

maki | 9 January, 2012 - 20:50

Re: Sweet and sour cucumber and wakame pickles (kyuuri to ...

I have always been a big fan of Japanese pickles and now that I have come across a great site for pickles I am going to be enjoying myself for a few months now. The best thing about Japanese pickles that it only takes a few days to be ready. Any ways I am really looking forward to this Sweet and sour cucumber and wakame pickle.

Steve | Healthy Lunch | 18 April, 2012 - 15:00

Re: Sweet and sour cucumber and wakame pickles (kyuuri to ...

I've been dying to try this recipe but I'm pre-diabetic. Could I make this with an 'sugar free' sugar like stevia or splenda?

anon. | 10 August, 2013 - 08:18

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