How to make Fukujinzuke
Fukujinzuke is a "modern" pickle which became popular early in the 20th century as an accompaniment to curry and rice.
The "fukujin" of the recipe title are the Seven Gods of Luck, a fanciful reference to the wide variety of vegetables used in the recipe (not a hard and fast list, but always including takuan, eggplant pickles, ginger, lotus root, and pickled shiso seeds).
Pickled shiso seeds are hard to find outside specialty shops, but relatively common in mixes with cucumbers, eggplants etc. Use these mixes, looking for a shoyu base rather than a bright green salted pickle if possible.
takuan (yellow pickled daikon)
salt pickled eggplants
salt pickled "furuzuke" cucumbers
fresh lotus root
burdock root (gobou), or bamboo shoot or other vegetable which will not disintegrate on cooking.
fresh ginger root, or more
1 c Soy sauce
1/2 Sugar, preferably demerara
1/2 Mirin (sweet sake)
2 T Rice Vinegar
2 T pickled shiso seeds, or pack of mixed shiso seed pickles
1 sliced dried chili pods, optional
yellow food coloring, optional
toasted sesame seeds, optional
Seasonings are given for roughly 1 kg of pickled and fresh vegetables.
First, slice pickled vegetables and soak in water for around 24 hours to remove salt. Squeeze water out and place in large pan.
Peel lotus root, slice and then quarter the slices, toss into vinegared water to prevent browning. Later, drain and add to pan.
Peel burdock root, cut into large slivers (able to be grabbed with chopsticks easily), toss into vinegared water to prevent browning. Later, drain and add to pan.
Peel carrot, slice, and halve or quarter slices. Add to pan.
Rinse bamboo shoot, slice into size similar to other ingredients, add to pan.
Peel or scrape ginger, slice and then shred, add to pan.
Add all seasonings, adjusting amount of soy sauce so that vegetables are nearly, but not completely covered. Add some sake to counterbalance extra soy if liquid level is way down.
Bring to a simmer, stirring to dissolve sugar.
Add a drop lid or small plate, and simmer until vegetables are tender. Allow to cool, add food coloring and sesame seeds if desired (I prefer to add sesame when serving) place in container and keep (refrigerated if weather is very hot) for 1-2 weeks for flavors to mature.
As long as no mold develops, pickle should keep very well. If you are in any doubt, occasionally drain the vegetables, bring the liquor to a boil and replace (doing this also helps to concentrate the liquor to create the familiar syrupy consistency - you can do this step after the initial 1-2 weeks' maturation if you like).
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