Obachan’s Pikurusu Recipe (Japanese Pickles) • VEGAN

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I’ve LOVED my obachan’s (grandma’s) pickles since I was a little girl. They are super crunchy, slightly sour, and subtly sweet. They are so fun to eat, and make for the perfect accompaniment to any meal.
My obachan told me the recipe last year when I visited my grandparents in Osaka, but I didn’t write it down… aka I forgot everything (🙄 oops). So when my mom came to visit me last month, we decided to make some together.

They turned out DELICIOUS and I’m so excited to share the recipe with you guys. I know some of you might be deterred by the sugar, but honestly it’s not a lot of sugar since this is meant to be a side dish; you won’t be eating a ton of it at once. This recipe lasted me about 10 days, which comes out to about 3.5 grams of sugar per serving.

NOTE: I recommend starting this process at night, since you need to leave the veggies out for 8-12 hours to draw the water out. Then you can complete the rest in the morning. 

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I love adding some to rolls!

If you like other types of pickled/fermented food like sauerkraut, kimchi, or regular old cucumber pickles, you will LOVE these.

This recipe makes two 16 oz jars worth of pickles. 


  • 1/2 head of medium cabbage
  • 3 large carrots
  • 1/2 large yellow onion
  • 4 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar


  1. Cut the cabbage into small pieces
  2. Slice the carrots diagonally, about 1/4 inch thick
  3. Slice the onion into long, thin pieces, about 1/8 inch thick
  4. Place all vegetables into a large mixing bowl, and sprinkle in salt a little at a time, tossing around until the vegetables are evenly covered. You don’t need to douse the veggies in salt; just make sure there’s a little sprinkle on each layer.
  5. Place a heavy object like a glass bowl or ceramic plate over the veggies and leave overnight, or for 8-12 hours
  6. Squeeze liquid out of the veggies and place in glass jars
  7. In a small pot, combine the sugar and rice vinegar, and bring to a boil, making sure the sugar is dissolved
  8. Once boiling, immediately pour over the veggies in the jar (divide the liquid evenly)
  9. Place the pickles in the fridge and enjoy once cooled

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Adds a really nice crunch factor to sandwiches

Enjoy :) Let me know how it goes if you make them!

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