Tangy, refreshing, and peppery, this naturally coloured homemade beni shoga (Japanese red pickled ginger) brings any dish to life. Spice up your next meal with these julienned ginger in just 10 minutes!
Beni Shoga (Red Pickled Ginger)
Ever wondered about the vivid red coloured ginger pickles served on the side of your favourite Japanese meal? This thinly sliced red ginger is called beni shoga.
The julienned ginger’s striking red colour is naturally coloured with Japanese aka shiso herb, red perilla. But much of the shop bought beni shoga relies on artificial colouring and often contains preservatives. (source)
So I decided to make it fresh at home and use a traditional Japanese method. This beni shoga recipe takes no time at all and you’ll love it!
If you’re lacking inspiration in food these days, trust me, pickling ginger will help. It really is fun and satisfying to make. Add some new colour and taste to your vegan friendly home cooking today. Read on!
What is Beni Shoga?
Beni means red and shoga is ginger in Japanese. Beni shoga is pickled Japanese ginger. It’s full of peppery flavour, crunchy and slightly sour. The freshness explodes in your mouth. It works well with so many things, as it really brings them alive with freshness and tang.
Beni shoga uses umezu, which is a vinegary liquid used for making umeboshi. This recipe shows you how to transfer the red umezu colour to julienned young ginger while it’s pickling.
Umeboshi is Japanese pickled plums and is Japan’s power food. Andy loves them and looks for excuses to add them to just about any meal! I’ve recently made umeboshi at home, and we eat it almost every day. I have plenty of umezu to make red ginger now.
You can find umezu easily at Japanese grocery shops or health food shops.
Find out how to make umeboshi at my umeboshi recipe!
Beni shoga vs sushi ginger: What’s the difference?
Pickled ginger is tsukemono in Japanese. There are various pickling methods that lead to different results. Both beni shoga and sushi ginger are Japanese pickled ginger, but they should not be mixed together. Their use and coours are different.
HOW TO ENJOY JAPANESE PICKLED RED GINGER
- Beni shoga is added to yakisoba, okonomiyaki, domburi rice bowls, ramen, yaki udon, yakimeshi, takoyaki and much more!
- Pickled sushi ginger is called gari. The pinkish thin ginger slices are served at sushi restaurants. It’s also comes with inari sushi, maki sushi and chirashi zushi.
HOW BENI SHOGA AND GARI ARE MADE
- Beni shoga is pickled with umezu. Japanese red shiso herb and sea salt are used for umeboshi pickling. The left over vinegary solution is umezu. It gives the strong natural red colour to the ginger.
- Sushi ginger is pickled with a mixture of Japanese rice vinegar and sugar. When you eat this tangy and slightly sweet pickled ginger, your mouth is refreshed and cleared before you eat next sushi. It’s enjoyed as a palate cleanser. I enjoy the fresh ginger’s light red stems adding a natural pink colour in pickling.
Find out how to make sushi ginger at my pickled sushi ginger recipe!
Best ingredients for Beni Shoga
This red pickled ginger recipe is super easy. The only thing you need to do is to find the right ingredients.
What you often find at the supermarket is regular ginger which is rested for a few months to induce the bitterness for cooking. But for beni shoga what you need is new, young ginger. It’s softer in texture and milder in taste.
If you pickle with regular ginger, it could be dry, the texture will be too fibrous, and it may be bitter.
Where to find fresh ginger
You can often find the new, young ginger at a local Japanese or Asian grocery store from May to June and November.
UMEZU (PLUM VINEGAR)
I use left over umezu after making umeboshi. This is the secret of vibrant red food colouring. If you haven’t made the pickled plum this year, you won’t have umezu. But you can easily find it at a Japanese grocery store. Or at health food stores where it’s called as plum vinegar.
You can make this vibrant red food colouring with red cabbage. Find out the details at the recipe for pickled red cabbage.
How to Make Red Pickled Ginger
Young ginger skin is soft. It can be easily removed with a spoon. Clean the skin with water. Cut the ginger into some blocks and cut each into julienned pieces.
Boil the hot water in the pan. Transfer the ginger into it and leave it for 15 seconds.
Drain the water and dry on a bamboo sieve or kitchen paper.
Transfer the finely cut ginger into the air tight container. Add umezu. If you have aka shiso herb in umezu, add it. The red colour becomes intensified as I do.
If you use a plum vinegar bottle from the shop, the colour tends to be milder.
- Make sure the container is closed tightly. Pickle the ginger in the container and leave it in the fridge.
- You can eat the pickled ginger after a few hours later. If you leave it two days in the fridge, the taste is more settled and milder.
That’s it! It’s pretty easy to learn how to make beni shoga! Enjoy!
Tips for the Best Beni Shoga Recipe
How to store beni shoga
You can save this red pickled ginger in a fridge for 1 month.
If you want to keep the ginger longer than one month, use an air tight container and clean it. Then leave the ginger in a fridge.
How to clean a container for pickling
Clean the air tight container with warm water well. Dry it out completely at the room temperature. I then clean out the container with strong alcohol like Japanese shochu or vodka. Just soak some on a kitchen paper and wipe both inside and outside the container and the lid.
More pickling recipes
Beni Shoga (Japanese Red Ginger Pickles)
- 8 oz young ginger (226 g)
- ½ cup umezu (plum vinegar) (118 ml)
- Remove the skin and spots of young ginger with a spoon. Clean the skin with water, and cut the ginger into 2 inch blocks. Then thinly julienne the ginger along the fiber.
- Boil the hot water in a pot. Transfer the julienned ginger and leave for 15 seconds. Do not boil long to keep the ginger moist. Then drain water with a sieve.
- Spread the ginger on a bamboo sieve or a paper towel and cool it down.
- Once the ginger is cooled down, transfer into an air tight container. Add umezu, plum vinegar, and mix it up with ginger with a clean utensil. Close the lid tight and keep in the fridge for two days.
- That's it! Enjoy!