Tsukemono: Decoding the Art and Science of Japanese Pickling
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This is a modern, scientific exploration of a venerable practice of pickling in Japan. Although tsukemono are typically made from vegetables, they can also be made from fruits, rhizomes and flowers, all of which are transformed with an emphasis on texture and aroma.
It's reasonable to wonder if a pair of Danish authors, one a food scientist and the other a chef, are the obvious choices for such a book. But Ole G. Mouritsen and Klavs Styrbaek bring an outsider's curiosity and years of practical experience in researching the science behind culinary practice to the task.
In this compact book (176 pages), they begin with focus on technique, identifying ten common approaches to preparing tsukemono that range from marinating in salt and brine to immersion in sake lees to fermentation with koji. They stress the importance of the right vessel, as well as environmental control.
They provide illustrative recipes for many types of ingredients, from cucumbers and daikon to kale, asparagus, and the plums which are transformed into the highly-prized umeboshi.
This is not an exhaustive recipe book; instead it provides a thorough grounding in practice to allow cooks to experiment and develop their own ideas and approaches.
There are are color photographs throughout the book; reproduction quality is adequate.