Jangajji (Korean Pickled Vegetables)

 

Are you ready for a pickle with the perfect marriage of umami, tangy, sweet, and crunchy? Look no further.

Jangajji (Korean pickled vegetables) are, flavor-wise, a cousin to my Japanese shoyuzuke cucumber pickles, which I certainly also recommend you trying out with your crops from this summer! However, the pickling technique is a bit different, and the exact ingredients and ratios are similar but not identical. In short, they’re both delicious and worthy of trying.

A couple of key details I want to add which I also think will motivate you to try this (as though you really need any motivation!): You can switch it up with vegetables; I give an ingredients list with weight measurements, but you can switch this up to so many other veggies and hot peppers are not a requirement by any means. Chayote is a really popular option (and has come to be called “choko” all over Asia, where it has exploded in popularity). Celery is a great choice, as well as Korean radish slices, and really just about whatever appeals to you. Eggplant is a great option but I recommend adding it to the boiling soy-sauce brine in the saucepan for the last minute or so (the brine simmering phase) before jarring it.

You can pickle just a single ingredient with the brine recipe below, such as just onion, or make a mix, which is what I’ve shown below.

Furthermore, this is a refrigerator pickle recipe, so although you can take the added step of water bath canning to make the product shelf stable at room temperature (until opened), all that is really required of you is to finish the few easy steps I laid out and place the jar in your fridge!

You can adjust quantities to make a quart, gallon, or other desired size.

You will need:

Ingredients or substitute with other veggies as desired):

  • ~1.5 lbs. Korean cucumbers (cut into 1/4″ to 1/2″ slices), or other variety such as: pickling (e.g. 4-5 Kirby cucumbers), Japanese, Persian, or English. Salad Slicer varieties not recommended
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 medium white onion, peeled & halved and given 2-3 cuts vertically and horizontally to make ~1/2″ to 1″ squares
  • 3-4 Korean peppers or large jalapenos, ~1/4″ to 1/2″ slices
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled

For the brine:

  • 1.5 cups water
  • 1.25 cups soy sauce (Korean preferred)
  • 3/4 to 1 cup brown sugar, packed (150 – 200g, to taste)
  • 3/4 cup rice wine vinegar (same as rice vinegar); added to the brine after (see below)

Directions:

1.) Slice the cucumbers, place in the mixing bowl and apply the salt evenly over it. Toss thoroughly and place in refrigerator. Wait 30-60 minutes. This step will help retain crunchiness later.

2.) Meanwhile, prep the onion, peppers, garlic, and/or any other veggies you desire.

3.) In the saucepan, combine the soy sauce, water, and brown sugar. You will add the vinegar later.

4.) After the allotted time, place strainer in sink and transfer the cucumbers to it. Rinse the cucumbers well. Shake well and allow several minutes for any residual liquid to drip off.

5.) In mixing bowl, combine the cucumber, onion, garlic and peppers and mix well. Transfer to the jar using the (optional) canning funnel. Ideally, fill just to the neck of the jar.

6.) Bring the soy mixture to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat and simmer for a minute or two. Remove from heat and immediately add the rice vinegar. Pour over the veggies until the vegetables are submerged or the brine is near the top of the jar. Seal tightly and allow about an hour to cool. Then, transfer to the refrigerator. The pickles can be eaten with a couple days but the best results will be achieved by waiting at least 5-7 days.

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