Bettarazuke is a regional pickled daikon dish from Tokyo that has a long history! The unique aroma, gentle sweetness and crunchy texture will leave you wanting more.
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What is Bettarazuke?
Bettarazuke (べったら漬け) is a type of Japanese pickle made from daikon radish. This dish is unique because the main pickling ingredient is a sweet rice drink called "amazake" (甘酒). Because of this, bettarazuke is sweet and mild compared to other pickles, it's delicious!
History of bettarazuke
The history of bettarazuke goes back to the mid-Edo period when a farmer started selling daikon pickled with candy and rice malt at a market.
It is believed that even the 15th shogun, Yoshinobu Tokugawa, liked bettarazuke. Apparently, he especially liked the thick cut ones.
Characteristics of bettarazuke
First of all, the unique quality of bettara-zuke is its sweetness. The pickling beds for takuan and bettarazuke are different, but that is not the only reason for the difference in taste.
The most important characteristic of bettarazuke is the rice malt is not used as it is, but fermented as amazake before being used in the pickling bed. The most decisive factor in the taste of betarazuke is amazake.
So what is Amazake?
Amazake (甘酒) is a sweet drink made by mixing rice malt with white rice porridge and fermenting it. It was originally made for Shinto rituals.
You can purchase freeze dried amazake on Amazon here. You simply mix the sachet with water!
Daikon is one of the most popular vegetables for pickles in Japan
Daikon is a type of radish and a popular vegetable across Japan, it is also the most commonly used vegetable for Japanese pickles we call "tsukemono".
Examples of pickled daikon:
- Takuan (yellow daikon pickles)
- Fukujinzuke (red pickles often served with curry)
The most common variant in Japan is the Aokubi daikon, which is white in color with a light green neck. However, there are many indigenous varieties throughout Japan, as well as local specialties such as pickles made of daikon.
Southern Kyushu in particular has special variations of daikon. Unique variants like Sakurajima daikon, Miura daikon, Nerima daikon are available in small quantities nationwide.
How to cut daikon for pickles
When we make pickles, we tend to cut daikon by the method called "Icho-giri (いちょう切り)". Here are the simple guide to how to do this cutting technique.
- Peel away the thick skin.
- Cut lengthwise into equal quarters (half and half again).
- Cut each quarter into slices in your desired width.