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quick pan-asian pickles

When you hear the word ‘pickle’ I’m guessing your mind automatically thinks about large green dill pickles or those bread-and-butter pickle chips you get on a burger? Well, my friend, you’re in for a surprise because these are not the kind of pickles I’m referring to.

Asher and I make rice bowls for dinner quite often because they are easy, delicious, dietary-restriction sensitive*, and customizable. (Not to mention we can make fried rice a few days later with any leftovers.) But they can get pretty boring unless you know what to put on them, which is why we always make quick pan-asian toppings!

I call these pickles “pan-asian” because we when we make them, we use traditional Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, and sometimes Korean ingredients. (These particular pickles don’t have Korean ingredients, however we always have gochujang and various types of kimchi in the fridge that we use.) And I call them “quick” because they only take 1-3 hours before they’re ready.

Well, thats enough chit-chat. Let’s get to it! I’d like to share with you our cucumber and carrot, radish, and bean sprout pickles. (Though the bean sprouts are more like a slaw/salad, I still like to group them into this pickle category, so please forgive me.)

*All of these pickles are vegan, vegetarian, and dairy-free, you just have to make sure that the versions of the ingredients you have are also vegan/vegetarian because not all ponzu, sambal, soy sauce, and miso are vegan. These pickles can also easily be made gluten free if you substitute gluten free soy sauce and ponzu.


These pickles are the ones we probably make the most. They have a fresh taste and an obvious Japanese influence. Additionally, the liquid mixture can be used on its own as a salad dressing.

Shaved Carrot

Servings: 4-6

Time: 1 hr

Difficulty: easy


  • 1 Hothouse Cucumber

  • 1 Carrot

  • 2 Tbs White Miso

  • 1 Tbs + 1 tsp Kotteri Mirin

  • 3 Tbs Rice Wine Vinegar

  • 1 Tbs Sesame Oil

  • 1 tsp Sesame Seeds

  • 1 Tbs Ponzu (Vegan or Regular)

  • 1 tsp Lemon Juice


  • Slice the hothouse cucumber as thin as possible

  • Peel the carrot and discard the skin. Shave the remainder of the carrot with the peeler to get thin slivers.

  • Place the cucumber and carrot in a jar or bowl.

  • Combine all other ingredients in a small mason jar or bottle and shake until well-mixed.

  • Pour liquid mixture over cucumbers and carrots. Shake to coat.

  • Cover and refrigerate for at least 45 minutes before serving.


This is Asher’s invention. These bean sprouts go well with rice bowls or as a side dish. They are slightly spicy, but can be made hotter with the addition of more Sambal.

Bean Sprouts

Servings: 6-8

Time: 1 hr 15 mins

Difficulty: easy


  • 24 oz Bean Sprouts

  • 2 Tbs Sesame Oil

  • 2 Tbs Sambal / Chili Garlic Sauce (Huy Fong brand is vegan) *

  • 3 Tbs Soy Sauce

  • 1 tsp White Pepper

  • 8 cups Boiling Water


  • Place bean sprouts in a large mixing bowl and cover with boiling water.

  • Slowly stir the bean sprouts for 2 minutes, until softened.

  • Drain the water from the bean sprouts.

  • Add all other ingredients into the bowl with the bean sprouts and stir well.

  • Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.


This recipe was more of a spur of the moment experiment than the others, but it turned out great! The radishes will taste pretty salty if you try them immediately after making, but once they sit for a couple of hours, they become well balanced and mild.


Servings: 4-6

Time: 1 hr 15 mins

Difficulty: easy


  • 2 Bunches of Radishes

  • 1 green onion

  • 1 tsp Kosher Salt

  • 1 Tbs + 1 tsp Kotteri Mirin

  • 1 tsp Ponzu

  • 1 tsp Sesame Oil

  • 1 tsp Lemon Juice


  • Wash radishes and remove from the greens. Prepare them by trimming off the tops and bottoms.

  • Finely slice the green onion.

  • Add the green onion and radish to a lidded bowl or container.

  • Add all other ingredients to the radishes and shake to coat.

  • Let sit in fridge for 2-3 hours before serving.

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