Boiled eggs feature in many dishes like oden and ramen, and they make a great snack or addition to a bento. Most often they are cooked until the yolks are solid, however we like ours to be barely set, especially with tiny quail eggs which you pop in your mouth whole and burst to release the rich gooey centre. By lightly pickling them in a sweet and sour soy liquor you can add a level of complexity to their whites and stain them an attractive glossy brown colour too. Shoyu tamago are a great replacement for use in any recipe which calls for boiled eggs, and their natural saltiness makes them a perfect accompaniment to drinks.
Hakusai no shiozuke is on the other end of the flavour spectrum, rather than being rich and gooey like the shoyu tamago it is crisp, spicy and fresh with lemon zest. Chinese cabbage is pressed and pickled for a short amount of time to provide a punchy accompaniment to meals and a perfect counterpoint to rich or fatty meats. This traditional recipe is a delicious introduction to salted pickles for those who’re a little wary of the tsukemono plate that comes with most Japanese meals.
Shoyu Tamago ingredients.
- 100ml water
- 175ml soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 6 large eggs or 12 quail eggs
- In a bowl, mix together the water, soy sauce, vinegar, sugar and black pepper, then stir well to dissolve the sugar. Put this liquid into a food-safe ziploc bag, seal and set aside.
- Next, bring a large pan of water to the boil then carefully add the eggs. Cook them over a medium heat for 7 minutes (or 2 1/2 minutes if using quail eggs), then transfer immediately to a bowl of cold water and leave to cool.
- Once the eggs have cooled, peel off the shells and place the eggs in the ziploc bag with the salty marinade. Put the bag into the fridge, and leave for two to three hours so the eggs can absorb the flavours of the pickling solution.
- To serve, cut in half lengthways, and sprinkle with shichimi togarashi or black sesame seeds.
Hakusai no shiozuke ingredients.
- 1 small Chinese cabbage (ours weighed just under 600g)
- 1 tablespoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon chilli flakes
- Zest of 1/4 lemon, sliced into thin strips
- Cut the root end off the Chinese cabbage and discard, then remove any damaged outer leaves- set these aside for use later. Now slice the cabbage in half from top to bottom, then each of these halves lengthways into 3 pieces.
- Spread the pieces out on a rack to dry in a warm place for around four or five hours; you want the leaves to be slightly wilted and flexible, this concentrates the flavour of the cabbage and produce a better finished pickle.
- After the segments have dried out for several hours, take the container that you will make your shiozuke in, and sprinkle a pinch of salt over the inside. Now start to layer up the wilted cabbage, sprinkling the rest of the salt, the lemon zest strips and the chilli flakes evenly over the leaves. When the cabbage is all layered up, place the reserved outer leaves over the surface then put a plate on top of the pickle, and a weight on top of this. The weight will keep the cabbage under the brine that forms as the salt starts to pull the liquid from the vegetable, and help it to pickle properly.
- Put your shiozuke container in a cool place and leave for a day or two, until the cabbage is totally covered with brine, and it is soft and translucent. At this point the pickle is ready to eat, or you can transfer it into a glass jar- making sure there are no air gaps between pieces and that the cabbage is fully covered with pickling liquid- and keep refrigerated for up to a month.
- Before serving, rinse the shiozuke under cold water to remove excess saltiness, then squeeze out the liquid and chop the cabbage leaves into 1″ pieces or leave whole if you prefer.