Yoshizen's Blog

Tsukudani 佃煮 or Tsukemono 漬物? (Japanese Taste)


(Photo left, the sliced gherkins mixed with seasning has been heated for 5 min’ in a Microwave —– when it’s cooled down, keep in a jar in a fridge = ready to eat.)

Instead to have a Cooky or Chocolate kind, I often make and keep some boiled vegetable for a small snack.   But when its run-out, —– Isn’t there something a bit more convenient to pick ?   For western people, it might be a Marmite on cracker or piece of bread = and, you may say  “Japanese can do it with Miso (Soybean paste) on Cracker” —- M m m ?   Sound dreadful = I don’t think so. = So, what Japanese would pick ?  — Rice Cracker (O-senbei) ?    

Then gave a thought “What is THE easiest pick to eat with boiled rice ? ” —– may be for a Japanese, it would be a Tsukudani or Tsukemono kind which we can regularly keep in a fridge.  (There are hundred kind of Tsukudani in Japan = cooked small sea food, sea weed, vegetable, even a long boiled larvae of Hornet wasp or Grasshopper etc etc)  (I found some of those in a Japanese food shop but sold in an extortionate price in small plastic package or in a jar.)   So, I got an idea, why not make it myself ? —– Make it but as usual, with a cheated quickest way. 

One of the easiest approach is, to use the readily available pickled gherkin. (There is or was a packed pickles / Tsukudani called Kyuri no Kyu-chan = cooked cucumber and one of the easiest accompaniment for the boiled rice.)

Tsukudani(1)-A09A7527In order to make Kyu-chan like cooking, pickled gherkin was thinly sliced and excess juice were squeezed out.  Then, Dashi-no-moto (mostly powdered fish), soy-source, a squeeze of wasabi paste, a bit of Mirin (Japanese cooking spirits — in stead, sherry or rum can be used) and a bit of sugar then all of them should well be mixed —– in this stage, if you like crunchy bite, this is the all, — but if you like well infused taste, with a bit soft cucumber, you can micro-wave them (Mid~High 5 min’) then put them into a jar (kept in a fridge, I found no problem for 2 weeks) = ready to eat any time — also good on a bread.   いただきます。 Bon appetite !   🙂

PS :  What I found in this extremely minimalist cooking was that because there wasn’t any complication of taste, we can taste the taste of the rice itself. —– strangely, we can’t just taste the rice, because the mouth just fed-up.   😀


Boiled Cucumber !

Boiled Cucamber-A09A1170

These days, the stall on the open market was filled with good flesh fruits.

So, my mouth was occupied by the Cherry, Strawberry, etc etc —– then

I realized that a cucumber has been in my fridge uneaten.  It was intended

for salad kind with tomato though, as the position of flesh food has been

taken over by those seasonal fruits, it has been forgotten and got old

more than a week and the skin was getting yellowish.   It is no longer suite

for flesh eating though it is a crime to throw the food away. 

So, I decided to cook it boiled !  

I don’t think I ever seen a cucumber was cooked boiled or fried still,

a sister of cucumber = bitter melon (bitter gourd) has been cooked in many 

different way and could even be in a Miso soup  —– why not cucumber.  


I just peel the skin and cut to one-mouth size and boiled in a half depth of

water with added Dashi (mostly fish powder),  some  Soy-source and

few drip of West Indian hot chilly source, for about half an hour slow cook.  

This kind of cooking isn’t  far from boiled Daikon = I would say “Not too bad”.

—– Adding to this story, once before when I got hugely disappointing 

Honeydew melon (that yellow thing) which was not ripe nor sweet at all, 

instead to throw it to a bin, I peeled the hard skin and cut to 2″ size and

boiled it in the same way as above.  

Eating those as a snack or with boiled rice as a side-dish, the taste is

unmistakably Japanese, especially served with shaved Katsuo-bushi

(dried Bonito fish) like the photo above —– I would say, yummy.  🙂

We have rather hard programmed eating habit though, it could be easily

broken and try different way.  Why not !

(And it might save the planet in long run —– not mention the pocket.)  🙂


PS : In a Blog like this, if I said something like “Know thanks (Kansha) to

the Dharma who provided us to keep living”,   “Be humble” or

“Feel compassion to the Cucumber who died for us to survive” it will

NOT be a Buddhist’s Blog.  It’s a sham =  nothing but a Marketing ploy,

same to a spin doctor who is telling the sweet words to sell dubious medicine.

When “So-called Buddhist” got a notion such as Buddhism, Charity, Compassion

etc etc, it is a brake down of Mushin, Ichijo, existence to be the Void.

(if it WAS there at all before)

Zen Buddhism is not for talking about but just DO and just BE.

= Just cook and eat.



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