Nukazuke Rice Bran Pickles

Nukazuke Rice Bran Pickles

  • Serves 2-3
Rated by 45 people
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Made from fermenting vegetables in rice bran, this recipe results in pickles that vary in taste from pungent to sweet to sour. The process of pickling in rice bran allows nukazuke pickles to remain relatively crisp. Try these delicious pickles for a taste of authentic and traditional Japanese cooking.


1.5kg rice bran, roasted (do not use any oil during roasting)
150g salt
1 tsp dashi no moto
250ml beer
1 clove fresh garlic, peeled
1-2 tbsp water
7 small aubergines
6 small cucumbers

How To Prepare

  1. Prepare a large container by disinfecting it with boiling water to ensure any dirt will not interfere with the pickling process. Dry container completely and set aside.
  2. In a separate bowl, add rice bran, dashi no moto, and 100g salt. Mix by hand.
  3. Add beer and mix thoroughly. Then add water as needed to achieve the right consistency. You are going for the consistency of wet sand, or if you press your finger into the bran, it will leave an indentation. This will serve as the rice bran bed.
  4. Smear and rub aubergines and cucumbers with remaining salt (50g).
  5. Add approx. 1/3 of the rice bran bed into the large container and smooth out evenly along the bottom. Add aubergines in a single layer, ensuring there is no overlapping. Add garlic. Cover with another 1/3 of the rice bran bed. Add cucumbers, ensuring again that there is no overlapping. Cover with remaining 1/3 of the rice bran bed and lightly press down on the top to ensure everything is packed in.
  6. Clean and dry a lid small enough to sit on top of and weigh down the rice bran bed. When the lid is dry, place on top of the rice bran bed and add about 2kg of weights. Allow to sit for 2-3 days in a dry, non-musty place. Be sure to stir the contents with clean hands at least once daily to ensure proper pickling and avoid sourness. Replace the lid and weights after each stir.
  7. After 2-3 days, take out the vegetables and slice them. Consume within a few days.

Tips and Information

-    You can also add kombu seaweed, fruit peels or ginger to the rice bran bed to add different flavours to the pickles.
-    Other vegetables that can be pickled include: carrots, daikon radish, cabbage, turnips.
-    Some people are also known to use meat or fish for nukazuke.
-    Be sure to keep the rice bran bed for the next time you want to make pickles.  This can be reused for the next bed and with proper care can be used for many cycles. If the bed is too wet, be sure to add more bran and salt (salt is normally 15% the weight of the bran used) .
-    For deeper pickling and flavour leave the pickles in the rice bran bed for longer. It is advised that the maximum time would be for a month. Please be sure to stir the bed every day to avoid the formation of mould.  
-    If the bed becomes sour, you can add crushed eggshells or mustard powder to help offset the sourness.  Mixing and making sure there is enough airflow will also help avoid sourness.
-    The bed is traditionally set in a wooden taru barrel, but most containers can be used. Some say wood allows for better airflow, which is helpful for proper maintenance.