Ginger is an important Asian food, prized for its many culinary, medicinal and health benefits. That fact, along with the love of anything pickled, naturally led to beni shoga or the red pickled ginger slivers served on many Japanese dishes from okonomiyaki to yaki soba. Not to be confused with gari, the pink pickled ginger served alongside sushi, beni shoga has a deep red colour that comes from the red perilla (aka shiso) plant.
Beni shōga (紅生姜) is a type of tsukemono (Japanese pickle). It is made from thin strips of ginger pickled in Umezu (梅酢), the pickling solution used to make Umeboshi. The red colour is traditionally derived from Red Perilla (Perilla frutescens). Commercial beni shōga often derives its hue from artificial colouring, to a garish effect. It is served with many Japanese dishes, including gyūdon, Okonomiyaki, and yakisoba.
- 450 g fresh ginger root
- 3 teaspoons sea salt
- ¾ cup umeboshi vinegar
- 5-7 fresh japanese basil leaves (shiso or red perilla)
- Wash and peel ginger.
- Cut into small, uniform matchsticks by slicing into rounds first, then stacking the rounds and slicing across.
- Place into a strainer and sprinkle with sea salt. Let this sit and drain for about 30 minutes.
- Squeeze out liquid and pat dry with a paper towel.
- Stack the shiso leaves on top of each other and roll into a cigar-like cylinder. Now, slice thinly.
- Place the ginger slivers into a clean, glass jar, layering with the sliced shiso leaves.
- Pour in the umeboshi vinegar.
- Cover with a lid and store in the refrigerator. Let the pickled ginger mature for 14 - 21 days before using.