If you like the spicy, vinegary bite of pickled ginger, then it’s a condiment you easily could, and should, make at home. Scan the labels of pickled ginger next time you’re at the grocery store and you’re likely to find ingredient lists that include artificial pink dye, aspartame or lots of sugar.
Using three ingredients at home – ginger, rice vinegar and honey – and a very simple method, you can make your own pickled ginger in about 20 minutes. Give it another 24 hours for flavor to develop and the pickled ginger is ready to eat. It keeps almost indefinitely, so just stash it in the refrigerator door with your other refrigerated condiments.
Besides sushi, what else can pickled ginger be used for? Toss it into a glass of sparkling water, chop it up into a fruit salad or green salad, use it as a topping for tamari marinated steaks or burgers, mix it with shredded cabbage and avocado, or, use it as a garnish for these Asian Salmon Burgers. Made without any added filler or binder (like breadcrumbs or eggs), these salmon burgers are moist and juicy with pure wild salmon flavor. Shiitake mushrooms, green onions and coconut aminos add extra flavor that pairs perfectly with a mound of pickled ginger on top.
Note that this recipe uses a lot less sweetener than most recipes for homemade pickled ginger do. The result is ginger with a slightly bolder, spicier, more intense flavor.
Servings: 6 burgers
Time in the Kitchen: 45 minutes, plus 24 hours to pickle the ginger
- 5 ounces ginger root (150 grams) (equal to about 1 cup of very thinly sliced ginger)
- 1 cup unseasoned rice vinegar (240 ml)
- 2 tablespoons honey (30 ml)
- 1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless salmon cut into 1-inch cubes (680 g)
- 12 fresh shitake mushrooms, finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- 4 green onions, finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons coconut aminos (45 ml)
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (2.5 ml)
Ideally, make the ginger at least a day before you plan to eat it. The pickled ginger will keep for months or more in the refrigerator.
Peel the ginger then shave it into very thin pieces. To do this, use a mandoline, vegetable peeler and/or sharp knife. You should end up with about 1 cup of shaved ginger.
Whisk together the vinegar and honey in a small bowl or jar.
Bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Add the ginger, and blanch for 2 minutes. Drain, and transfer ginger to the bowl with the vinegar and honey. Let cool then cover and refrigerate in its brine.
To make the salmon burgers, first sauté the mushrooms and garlic over medium heat in a little bit of oil until the mushrooms are lightly browned and most of the liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes.
Place 1/4 of the salmon pieces in the food processor and blend until it’s a smooth paste. Add the rest of the salmon, mushrooms and garlic, green onions, coconut aminos and salt. Pulse, stopping to mix and scrape down the sides, until the salmon pieces are about 1/4-inch/6 mm in size. Don’t process the salmon so much that it all becomes a smooth paste; it should be a little chunky.
Shape into 6 patties.
Heat a few tablespoons of oil in a skillet over medium-high heat and cook for 3 to 4 minutes a side, until there is no raw, dark pink salmon in the middle.
Serve on a bed of lettuce and top with pickled ginger.