Achara-zuke pickles are summer pickles, mainly pickled during the O-Bon holidays. The name comes from the Portuguese word "achar" for pickles.
Some people use carrots or hanafu, a flower-shaped wheat gluten cake. Odd numbers are considered lucky in Japan, so seven types of pickles are presented here.
1. Remove seeds from red chili, and slice finely.
2. Pour vinegar, sugar and dashi stock into a pan, and heat until the sugar has dissolved. Add (1), and leave to cool.
3. Remove the skin of the lotus root, cut into 3mm half-moon slices, soak in water, and boil.
4. Scrape the black peel off the burdock roots, and cut into 4cm pieces. Split thick parts into four, and thin parts into two. Rinse and boil.
5. Cut shirouri into halves lengthwise, remove seeds, and slice thinly. Rub with salt, rinse, and squeeze out excess moisture.
6. Remove the skin of zuiki/imogara by hand, cut into thumb-sized pieces, and parboil. Soak in water, and squeeze out any excess moisture.
7. Rub kanpyo with salt, rinse, and boil until soft enough to leave nail marks when pinched. Soak in water, and squeeze out any excess moisture. Cut into 5cm slices, and make a knot.
8. Parboil kikurage to reconstitute, cut away any root clusters, and slice into bite-sized pieces.
9. Sandwich soft parts of dried konbu kelp between a wet cloth to reconstitute, cut into pieces 1cm wide, 6cm long with scissors, and make a knot.
10. When the vinegar has cooled, pickle (3)-(9) in the vinegar for around 1 hour, and then serve in dishes.
Reprinted with permission from the book:
Recipes of Fukuoka
by Akiko Tsuda, Norio Matsukuma, Thomas Caton
This lacquerware set of hashioki (chopstick rests) includes square and oblong pieces in traditional black and red. It's the ideal set for a Japanese meal and goes well with sushi, sashimi and ramen.
In Japanese table etiquette, chopsticks should always be left on chopstick rests between bites.
In recent years, hashioki have become available in a huge range of shapes, colors and sizes. We've scoured the kitchenware shops of Kappabashi to come up with our own unique sets for discerning customers. [US$15, €13.20]
Evoke the atmosphere of traditional Japan every lunchtime
This cute bento lunchbox takes the form of a traditional Japanese teahouse, with tiled roof, sliding doors, noren curtains, and a large banner showing the kanji character for tea.
The two-story building and separate roof compartment are big enough to fit a hearty lunch for a hungry student or office worker. Use the two box compartments for main and side dishes, sandwich and salad, or rice and toppings, and pop some candy or a snack in the roof. [US$29, €25.52]