03 Feb2010


The plate of pickles we enjoyed on a recent visit to Momofuku Ssam Bar in New York was the reason I bought the Momofuku cookbook, and eventually tried making the pickles for myself. They turned out brilliantly. I love pickles and these ones are just right up my ally. Made from prime fresh produce, treated to a brief bath in a simple pickling solution, and crisp to the bite but unmistakably pickled. If you love pickles, you will love these…


Start with a bunch of clean glass jars, or if you don’t have those, clean sturdy plastic storage units like tupperware. Next, buy incredibly farm fresh produce of your liking, I have tried small japanese cucumbers, carrots, chili peppers, singkamas or jicama, beets, green cabbage, red cabbage, young onions, and Japanese pears to good results. Wash them carefully and chop to bite sized pieces. Place them in your containers.


Next make the simplest of pickling solutions: 1 cup hot water, but not boiling or very hot even, 1/2 cup premium rice vinegar, 6 tablespoons sugar, 2 and 1/2 teaspoons of kosher salt and stir until salt and sugar are dissolved. This recipe is from the Momofuku cookbook. I actually like to add a touch more water so the pickles aren’t so vinegary. Pour this over your pickles, cover and refrigerate. Let them sit in the fridge for a couple of days before consuming. However, I did try most of them a day after making and they already tasted great…


The color of the beet pickles were partiularly striking, though if you aren’t a beet lover, you might find these a tad earthy. I loved them. The Japanese cucumbers were also good, though the skins understandably turned a bit olive green. If you want a more vibrant green, I suspect you have to wait for the marinade to cool before pouring them over the cucumbers. Alternatively, you cut the cucumbers about an hour before you eat them and do a very short bath in the vinegar solution.


The slam dunk pickle was the singkamas or jicama one. It retained its crispness and had that tangy sour sweet flavor. It reminded me of the times as a kid when I used to cut up singkamas and eat it with vinegar and salt. This option wasn’t in Momofuku’s cookbook, but I strongly encourage you to try it.


Finally, since the singkamas worked so well, I decided to try the suggested Japanese pear pickles, consisting of thin slices of Japanese pear, marinated for just an hour before eating. This was SUPERB. Sweet and tangy at the same time. SUPERB.


Overall, these pickles would go great with grilled fish or meats, with fried foods, even lechon. A little goes a long way, so don’t be tempted to make huge batches unless you have a veritable army of pickle lovers as frequent diners in your home. Very economical, super easy to make, and a pleasant addition to the table. After trying several rice vinegars, I use the one in the photo above which I buy from the Chinese ingredients store in Virra Mall in Greenhills. Happy pickling!



  1. marissewalangkaparis says:

    Yummmmm…let me try this..I love pickles and have been wanting to find an easy one..thanks MM!!!

    Feb 3, 2010 | 11:28 am


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  3. jannah says:

    Here in UAE, if you buys shawarma, it comes with pickles (chili, carrots and even ampalaya). I love pickled mustasa leaves, every time Im at home my mom buys it from the wet market.

    Feb 3, 2010 | 12:06 pm

  4. venus says:

    thanks MM, i love to try these sooon!

    Feb 3, 2010 | 1:11 pm

  5. leigh says:

    The pickled pears look divine. I will definitely try this!

    Feb 3, 2010 | 2:27 pm

  6. joey says:

    I spent most of my life thinking I didn’t like pickles. I think because the only ones I was exposed to as a kid were supermarket dill pickles and sweet pickle relish (both which I still don’t like). But once I started trying other pickles I realized that I do actually LOVE them! Love making them too :) Thanks for sharing this recipe!

    Feb 3, 2010 | 2:32 pm

  7. Pera ni Juan says:

    Pickles are good in hamburgers too. The Big Mac made a killing with adding pickles in their famous burgers.

    Feb 3, 2010 | 3:48 pm

  8. Ed B. says:

    Perfect timing! I’ve been thinking and wanting to make my grandfather’s pickled onions (with quail eggs) but didn’t know where or how to start because my grandfather passed away about 2 decades ago. Will definitely try to make the pickled onions using the pickling solution you posted. Thank you, thank you! Ãœ

    Feb 3, 2010 | 5:46 pm

  9. sister says:

    The Momofuko pickles are very similar to the wide variety of lightly pickled vegetables available in Russian farmers’ markets sold by weight in late summer and fall. Absolutely more appealling than processed pickles.

    Feb 3, 2010 | 6:22 pm

  10. emsy says:

    i love pickles. i’ll definitely try this, especially since the refrigerator method is soooo easy!

    Feb 3, 2010 | 6:29 pm

  11. Joyce says:

    peter piper picked a peck of pickled peppers. hehe.i lovvee pickles that go with fatty stewed pork dishes and the ones they include in japanese bento sets. strangely though i hate pickles on burgers. i will try japanese pear pickles this weekend

    Feb 3, 2010 | 6:55 pm

  12. jean says:

    I’ve read a couple of other bloggers wax poetic about Momofuku pickles, but have never made them. This post is the proverbial straw, though. I’m intrigued by the pear pickles. Everything looks bracingly delicious!

    Feb 3, 2010 | 9:53 pm

  13. Gej says:

    I’ve always wanted to make pickles! This is so useful for me. Thanks MM!

    Feb 4, 2010 | 12:02 am

  14. marilen says:

    Just wanted to add my delight to this pickling story. Never could get the right sweet sour balance in past attempts – thanks, MM! You are right – singkamas is ideal , great crunch.

    Feb 4, 2010 | 12:14 am

  15. acmr says:

    Thanks for this! I have always bit a bit daunted by the achara that my dad makes. It always looked like too much work. This looks easy enough for me to want to try. Thanks talaga for sharing!

    Feb 4, 2010 | 12:48 am

  16. alicia says:

    Pickled beets are my favorite! Your jarred vegetables look so appetizing, especially in the first photo with the red cabbage, baby carrots and young onions. The colors are just great.

    Feb 4, 2010 | 7:37 am

  17. Betchay says:

    Doing local achara, I always add garlic cloves, sliced ginger and peppercorns. But I will try this Momofuku version with your suggested rice vinegar.I guess this version will have a milder taste.

    Feb 4, 2010 | 8:04 am

  18. Gej says:

    Hi Betchay. What vinegar do you usually use?

    Feb 4, 2010 | 8:16 am

  19. k. ramos says:

    Great! Will try this with green papaya :D

    Feb 4, 2010 | 10:11 am

  20. Mom-Friday says:

    Been a long time since I had homemade pickles — I only made it cucumber and green papaya before. And as a gift, we received a jar of really good pickled veggies which was a mix of thin slices of Carrots, Ampalaya, White Onions, Green papaya and Cucumber — maybe you can try this too :-) I can already taste that cold, juicy, pickled singkamas!

    Feb 4, 2010 | 11:53 am

  21. Betchay says:

    GEJ- Usually it’s just Datu puti I used as this is what’s always in my pantry but coconut or palm vinegar gives better flavor.I love acharang ampalaya with my fried fish!

    Feb 4, 2010 | 12:31 pm

  22. iya says:

    pickled baby onions! yum!

    Feb 4, 2010 | 10:38 pm

  23. Gej says:

    Thanks Betchay, I’ll try that too.

    Feb 5, 2010 | 3:57 am

  24. Markin Gomez says:

    I will definitely try this one out. I am beginning to like your blog. That instruction you wrote and a lil bit of suggestion and recommendation is really informative. Cool. You see, I’m more of a veggie guy and my life’s been a bit dull eating raw veggies. Though i kinda like it because it’s health, eating same food all the time doesn’t mean there won’t be a day when you just want to try something else. Unfortunately, that “something else” usually turns out to be.. bad for my health.

    But i guess not this one.

    Thank you for posting this entry , now i can finally do something that would make my fave veggies yummy. Can’t wait til Wednesday. Thanks again. – Markin of Cebu

    Feb 8, 2010 | 12:55 am

  25. bobcouttie says:

    Kamias also pickle well. Also, if you like British-style pickled onions and find Malt Vinegar too expensive, or unavailable, use a well-aged Ilocos vinegar, sukang ilocos.

    Mar 22, 2010 | 6:11 pm

  26. sme says:

    where can I buy kosher salt. I’m from the philippines.

    Mar 11, 2011 | 3:54 pm

  27. Marketman says:

    they sell kosher salt in some large groceries or S&R. If you can’t find it, use native salt that is NOT IODIZED. Just adjust the salt as the volume of native salt is different than kosher salt due to the larger crystals.

    Mar 11, 2011 | 7:10 pm


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