Spicy Pickled Pak Choi by Tim Anderson

Spicy Pickled Pak Choi by Tim Anderson


Tim says: One of my all-time favourite Japanese pickles is karashi takana, or spicy pickled mustard greens. These are especially delicious on garlicky Kumamoto ramen, but they’re also great on their own or with plain rice. Mustard greens are a little difficult to find, but you can achieve a similar flavour and texture by using pak choi instead. The result is something a bit like kimchi, but with an earthier flavour and a subtle mustardy aroma.

Serves 10


10 g (1/2 oz) salt

500 g (1 lb 2 oz) pak choi (bok choi), washed and cut into roughly 2.5 cm (1 in) chunks

3 garlic cloves, finely grated

2 tablespoons Korean chilli powder

2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons sesame seeds

1 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon sesame seeds

1/2 teaspoon wasabi (optional)

1/4 teaspoon MSG


Massage the salt into the pak choi and leave to wilt for about 20 minutes.

Squeeze the pak choi to wring out as much liquid as you can (save the liquid!).

Wait another 20 minutes, then wring out the liquid once again.

Mix in all the remaining ingredients, then pack everything tightly into a sterilised jar, so the liquid rises above the surface of the pak choi (it needs to be completely submerged in order to prevent spoilage).

Put the lid on the jar, but don’t screw it on tightly, to let carbon dioxide escape as it ferments.

Leave at room temperature for at least three days and up to a week, or possibly longer if you like very sour pickles or if your kitchen is on the cold side.

Taste the pickles periodically and transfer to the refrigerator when they are acidic enough for you.

Once fully fermented, these will keep in the refrigerator for up to a year.


Recipe taken from Tim Anderson's new book Japan Easy Bowls and Bento

JapanEasy Bowls & Bento by Tim Anderson (Hardie Grant, £25), Photography by Laura Edwards

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