17 Aug2009


We had a bounty of young fresh ginger brought to us while on our recent trip to Bacolod. I LOVE young ginger, and have written about it before, here. Young ginger has a much thinner skin than that of its older relatives, and possesses a sweeter, lighter flavor and aroma. Young ginger is perfect julienned and added to steamed fish dishes, and it is excellent for salabat or ginger tea. Although often referred to as “ginger root” it is in fact a rhizome, I think, which means it is an underground stem or beginnings of a stem. The tips of the ginger seek the sun above, and are typically tinged in pink and when peeled, the ginger also has blushes of pink. I find the best way to peel young ginger is to use an inverted spoon or teaspoon, scraping the skin with the spoon concave relative to the ginger, scraping with the tip of the spoon… This makes it easy to get to the knobbly pieces and the hard to get too nooks and crannies… We made some crystallized ginger with some of this bounty by boiling the peeled ginger and simmering them in sugar water… but there was still a LOT of ginger left over.


I decided to try and replicate the pickled ginger that you get in Japanese restaurants and didn’t realize that it is SO INCREDIBLY EASY to do. I love those thin slivers of sour/sweet pickles which come with plates of sushi and sashimi… The ginger is really there as a palate cleanser, before one has another piece of raw fish or seafood. To make the Japanese style ginger pickles, I peeled roughly 250-300 grams of ginger with a spoon and sliced it on a mandoline until quite thin (don’t go to the thinnest setting, or it will be too translucent after marinating. I would say go a notch or two thicker than the thinnest… Next, I boiled up a pot of water, added the ginger and waited for the pot to return to a boil before draining the water and turning off the burner. Let the sliced and blanched ginger cool a bit while you make the pickling solution.


Add the ginger to a heat proof, non-reactive bowl like stainless steel or glass. In a pan over high heat, add 1 cup Japanese rice vinegar, 5 tablespoons of sugar, 2 teaspoons of soy sauce, 1 teaspoon of kosher salt until it hits a boil and the sugar and salt are dissolved. Pour this very hot mixture over the sliced ginger and mix well. Many folks say this is going to turn a slight tinge of pink, but I was concerned that it wouldn’t turn pink enough, so I cheated and added 1.5 drops of red food coloring. It turned out perfect. Some of you may want to add more sugar if the vinegar you use is particularly acidic. And trust me, the versions you get in restaurants have a LOT more food coloring and possibly much more sugar as well. Let this cool and stick it into the fridge to mellow for a day or two. I had some with some sushi a few days later and it was excellent. Definitely something you should try if you are a big fan of Japanese ginger pickles AND you find yourself with a sudden bounty of young ginger… Would make great presents for a fans of Japanese food. Enjoy!



  1. pinkytab says:

    MM, have you ever tried pickled garlic scapes? I dont know if these are available in the Philippines but if ever you come across some try pickling them the same way you did with the ginger. I tried them the first time from a Korean market here in Northern Virginia at $9.00 a pound. Quite pricey so I decided to try pickling some fresh garlic scapes (these are seasonal btw) and they turned out to be just as good, even if the Korean lady said I wouldn’t be able to duplicate the one that they sold because it required the special water from Korea :) I must look like I just fell off the garlic scapes truck :(

    Aug 17, 2009 | 10:07 am


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  3. Artisan Chocolatier says:

    MM, you can also coat the crystallized ginger with dark chocolate.

    Aug 17, 2009 | 10:27 am

  4. Mari says:

    OMG! I can’t believe all the things that you think of doing and sharing!!! I wish I can find some young ginger here…am pretty sure there are but it probably escapes my eyes everytime I go to the farm markets. Oh I wish I can try them…

    Thanks again MM for your never-ending generosity in sharing your ideas, thoughts and recipes…it’s been always mouth-watering.

    Aug 17, 2009 | 10:28 am

  5. GayeN says:

    I love young ginger! We usually slice them paper thin then mix with tomatoes, young onions and bagoong(shrimp paste) then serve it as condiment to grilled tilapia or hito. Hmmm!

    My mom has an abundance of young ginger all year round from her garden… I would like to try pickling some.

    Thanks MM!

    Aug 17, 2009 | 11:00 am

  6. vicki2 says:

    Excuse me, but I need 4 kilos of young ginger and can you send to me asap? haha, joke!

    Seriously, where in Manila can we find young ginger? I tried making crystalized ginger for a cookie recipe but was told that I should’ve used young ginger. Do they have these in wet markets?

    I’ve been using my crystallized ginger for tea instead (I also kept the syrup it boiled in and use that in the tea). It’s just plain old salabat but it looks so” Martha Stewart” (homemade) at the dinner table.

    Aug 17, 2009 | 11:05 am

  7. zena says:

    I LOVE the japanese pickled ginger. When I went to Japan and ate at a a kaiten sushi, there was this box of picked ginger right in front of me and I just kept popping slices in my mouth more than what is required for a palate cleanser. =)

    Aug 17, 2009 | 11:49 am

  8. Artisan Chocolatier says:

    palate cleanser? Is that what its for? I thought it was an appetizer or sidings….hahahaha…….I liiiiiiiike them too!!

    Aug 17, 2009 | 12:12 pm

  9. Mila says:

    I love those julienned pink ginger pinkles, I buy them in bulk at japanese groceries and eat them with rice and some dilis and an egg. Have to admit that I can munch on them like chips.

    Aug 17, 2009 | 12:53 pm

  10. calorie-shmalorie says:

    Learned somewhere that they put in a few slices of beets to get that nice pink tinge to the pickled ginger. All natural food color.

    Aug 17, 2009 | 1:43 pm

  11. joyce says:

    cool. thanks for the post! will be on the lookout for young ginger. didnt realize the pickles in jap restos were so easy to make.

    Aug 17, 2009 | 2:17 pm

  12. Divina says:

    I love young ginger. I used to have that in our backyard but then my mom is not aware of it and she grab it and threw it all away. I’ll growing another one.

    Aug 17, 2009 | 3:15 pm

  13. VickieB says:

    Sounds good! can you do this with regular ginger? If not, where can I find it and how do you distinguish it from “old” ginger–sorry, pardon the ignorance.

    Aug 17, 2009 | 3:54 pm

  14. Cris Jose says:

    Hi MM!.. you have a typo — “Young ginger has a much “hinner” skin that its older relatives, and possesses a sweeter, lighter flavor and aroma.

    And I think you’re missing a word here … “I decided to try and replicate the pickled ginger that you get in Japanese restaurants and didn’t realize that it is SO INCREDIBLY ? to do.”

    Will defintely try this at home… Thanks… “,)

    Aug 17, 2009 | 3:54 pm

  15. marisa says:

    i love japanese pickled ginger! i’ve tried using it as a substitute for real ginger (during emergiencies) in fish dishes such as paksiw, pangat and sinigang with great results!

    Aug 17, 2009 | 3:58 pm

  16. Marketman says:

    marisa, that’s good to know… adds a hint of sweetness and acidity too, I would think. Cris, thanks, will edit post now. VickieB, young ginger has very pale thin skin, click on the link to see a picture of young vs. old ginger. It is available in some weekend markets, you just have to keep an eye out for it. Vendors who cater to Chinese cooks often have it, it is perfect for steamed fish dishes… calorie shmalorie, beets, that is brilliant! I like that idea, will have to try it the next time I do this. vicki2, hahaha, you have a sense of humor today. :) GayeN, that sounds good, but does the thinly sliced ginger get a bit too strong? Or is it something one gets used to? Artisan, small bits with dark chocolate, yum, that sounds really good. pinkytab, I have seen ginger scapes, but I must say I have never tried to cook them or eat them. I don’t think I have seen them in Manila. Actually I saw them in a floral arrangement in the U.S. I think, before I even knew they were edible!

    Aug 17, 2009 | 4:06 pm

  17. erleen says:

    please post pictures of your finished product MM

    Aug 17, 2009 | 4:56 pm

  18. Marketman says:

    erleen, the third picture above is just before they are bottled and stored in the fridge… the finished product is just less soupy, as you remove the ginger from the pickling liquid so they aren’t too wet on the serving plate.

    Aug 17, 2009 | 6:27 pm

  19. joey says:

    C and I love this!!! C actually is the bigger fan and finishes 3 extra big servings (he gets special ginger treatment from the sushi chef — probably because he eats more ginger than anyone else they’ve seen!) when we go out for sushi! They make sure to tell us when the ginger is young too :) Thanks for sharing this recipe!

    Aug 17, 2009 | 6:35 pm

  20. noes says:

    I remember, my dad just love this with bagoong. He will minced the ginger together bagoong and onion and voila! may ulam na siya.

    Aug 17, 2009 | 7:13 pm

  21. Angela says:

    How long will it keep in the fridge? Can it be processed in a boiling water bath (i.e. like jam) and stored in the pantry?

    Aug 17, 2009 | 11:05 pm

  22. THELMA says:

    this would be fun to make this and surprise my parents-in-law
    with a bottle or two of this homemade japanese pickled ginger. my only problem is where to buy the young ginger. i haven’t seen this being sold in japanese markets
    here and even at a huge asian supermarket. i will keep the
    recipe though just in case i find some unexpectedly in the

    or come to think of it… maybe i can plant some in my vegetable garden so i can have some available when i need it.

    Aug 18, 2009 | 3:22 am

  23. Lou Garcia says:

    I don’t know if anyone knows this ginger juice recipe. I have learned it from West Africa where it is known as a very refreshing drink when the temperature is a constant 35+C almost all year round. It is actually very close to our salabat, except that the grated fresh ginger is served ice cold with lemons{limes) or calamansi(when available)and sugar to taste. I have served it to all my friends and they enjoyed its kind of gentle ginger sting on the tongue with the lemon taste. It’s amazingly resfreshing!

    Aug 18, 2009 | 8:39 pm

  24. juls says:

    is that langkawas?

    Aug 19, 2009 | 1:18 am

  25. pinkytab says:

    MM, I dont know if you meant garlic scapes in your reply to me. I have not heard of ginger scapes. You have to try to find some. Pickled or sauteed, it is so good.

    Aug 19, 2009 | 9:56 am

  26. Gener says:

    Young ginger in brine which i usually bought from malls is perfect match for fresh uncooked salmon fillet…roll it to your mouth freely and you will love the taste…..

    Aug 19, 2009 | 3:47 pm

  27. odie arevalo says:

    Hi. Im odie from cavite. ginger marketing is a good business. im looking for a wholesaler of adult ginger. if anyone already trading this crop, and willing to make business with me.. pls txt or call me at 0917-8838258 or email at odiearevalo@yahoo.com. tnxs

    Aug 19, 2009 | 5:45 pm

  28. Marketman says:

    pinkytab, yes of course, I meant garlic scapes, sorry. juls, langkawas is turmeric I think.

    Aug 19, 2009 | 10:11 pm

  29. Jelo says:

    What are garlic scrapes?

    Aug 20, 2009 | 1:10 pm

  30. Evie says:

    Hello. Anyone know where in Manila can I buy pickled ginger already made? I have looked at SM Supermarket, Santis and Rustan’s none of them carry it. Thanks, Evie

    Mar 3, 2010 | 4:44 pm

  31. Catherine says:

    Hi there Marketman! I was wondering if I can buy some of those fresh ginger. I can’t seem to find as fresh as that here in Manila.

    Mar 29, 2010 | 2:14 pm

  32. Marketman says:

    Sorry, I don’t sell it and only occasionally see it in the markets.

    Mar 29, 2010 | 5:07 pm

  33. vegetable garden says:

    I have never tried pickled ginger before but I would love to.

    Jelo, the scapes are the flower stems that garlic plants produce before the bulbs mature.

    Jul 14, 2010 | 8:55 am


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