Unlike a lot of pickle recipes here Japanese pickles are usually made raw, without boiling the brine. This helps the veggies retain their fresh, crunchy texture.
This particular recipe is so easy and fast, I have a constant batch of it sitting in the fridge. If you're feeling lazy, just serve these pickles along with your main. They make great bar snacks too ;)
Veggies of your choice (I've tried bell peppers, cucumbers, carrots & daikon radish)
1~2 cloves of garlic
1 bay leaf
a handful of whole peppercorns
dried chili pepper or chili flakes, to taste
200ml rice vinegar*
8 tablespoons sugar*
1.5 teaspoons salt
Slice up your veggies into sticks or bite-sized pieces. Squash them tight into a glass jar, top with the garlic, bay leaf, peppercorns, and chili. Stir the brine ingredients (vinegar, water, sugar, salt) together until the sugar and salt dissolve. Pour into the jar with your veggies, seal tight, and let it sit in the fridge preferably overnight. If you make this in the morning though, they should be ready to eat by dinnertime.
*Note: About the vinegar—I tried making this with apple cider vinegar, which you can totally do, but it will taste more acidic. As for the sugar—I avoid using white sugar in my cooking whenever possible, but using sucanat or agave nectar doesn't work as well for this recipe.
This is also a great way to use up those huge mounds of Costco veggies that you have no idea what to do with. Tbh it's why I made these pickles in the first place :P