Nara Zuke: Oriental Pickling Melon Pickled in Sake Lees
Nara is a historic city adjoining Kyoto where every year many tourists, both from in and outside Japan, enjoy sightseeing. When I hear Nara, many things come to my mind, but in terms of food, the first thing that pops into my head is what I introduce here “Nara Zuke (奈良漬)”.
Nara Zuke (奈良漬)
In its name, “Zuke (漬)” is the Japanese suffix that refers to pickles or “Tsukemono (漬物: literally Pickled Things)”, and Nara Zuke is a specialty pickle of Nara made using sake lees. It is said that the original form of Narazuke was first made over 1,000 years ago and in modern times the pickle is widely enjoyed throughout the country.
Typical vegetables prepared for Nara Zuke include oriental pickling melon, cucumber, watermelon, and Shoga ginger, which are salted and repeatedly pickled in new sake lees. By the way, the pictured Nara Zuke is oriental pickling melon or Shiro-Uri pickled in a mixture of sake lees, sugar, mirin (sweet sake) lees, and salt.
How to Eat
Before eating, the brown lees are rinsed with water and the seasoned Shiro-Uri oriental pickling melon is thinly sliced. The traditional Japanese pickle Nara Zuke has a distinctive sweet taste characterized by the sake and mirin lees and is often eaten as an accompaniment for alcoholic drinks. It is also a perfect match for rice, so only with these pickles and miso soup, I can eat several bowls of rice.
Ingredients and Nutrition Facts
Lastly, for those of you who are interested in the ingredients and nutrition facts, here are the labels. According to that, with 204 kcal and 3.8 grams of salt equivalents per 100 g, the Nara Zuke I have now is made from oriental pickling melon, sake lees, sugar, mirin lees, salt, and alcohol.
(Reference Page: Wikipedia 奈良漬け )