Achara-zuke (pickles)

Achara-zuke pickles are summer pickles, mainly pickled during the O-Bon holidays. The name comes from the Portuguese word “achar” for pickles. You might use carrots or hanafu, a flower-shaped wheat gluten cake. In Japanese culture, odd numbers are considered lucky, so seven types of pickles are presented here.


  • 150g lotus root
  • 100g burdock roots
  • 150g shirouri melon
  • 100g zuiki/imogara (roots of dried taro)
  • 20g kanpyo (dried gourd shavings)
  • 20g dried kikurage (wood ear mushroom)
  • 20g konbu kelp
  • Ajinomoto umami.
  • Achara-su vinegar:
    • 200cc vinegar
    • 120g sugar
    • 50cc dashi stock
    • 1 red chili pepper


1. Take off seeds from red chili, and slice finely.

2. Pour vinegar, sugar and dashi stock into a pan, and heat until the sugar has dissolved. Add (1), and leave to cool.

3. Remove the skin of the lotus root, cut into 3mm half-moon slices, soak in water, and boil.

4. Scrape the black peel off the burdock roots, and cut into 4cm pieces. Split thick parts into four, and thin parts into two. Rinse and boil.

5. Cut shirouri into halves lengthwise, remove seeds, and slice thinly. Rub with salt, rinse, and squeeze out excess moisture.

6. Remove the skin of zuiki/imogara by hand, cut into thumb-sized pieces, and parboil. Soak in water, and squeeze out any excess moisture.

7. Rub kanpyo with salt, rinse, and boil until soft enough to leave nail marks when pinched. Soak in water, and squeeze out any excess moisture. Cut into 5cm slices, and make a knot.

8. Parboil kikurage to reconstitute, cut away any root clusters, and slice into bite-sized pieces.

9. Sandwich soft parts of dried konbu kelp between a wet cloth to reconstitute, cut into pieces 1cm wide, 6cm long with scissors, and make a knot.

10. When the vinegar has cooled, pickle (3)-(9) in the vinegar for around 1 hour, and then serve in dishes.

 Enjoy it!!!

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