watermelon rind, watermelon, beet, granny smith apple pickles

When I first started this blog I wanted to cook the book from start to finish, in that order, but when I made my obsessive-compulsive lists, I realized that many of the recipes needed recipes within recipes. I’m glad I figured this out because most of the pickles are used in the Ssäm Bar Chapter. If I went ahead and made all the pickles now, instead of later, there would be 15 jars of pickles in the fridge.

watermelon, beet, apples, brown rice vinegar, sugar, salt

Momofuku pickles are brined in water, rice wine vinegar, sugar, and salt. After a big search for rice wine vinegar in which I ended up empty handed, I did a Google search and discovered that rice vinegar and rice wine vinegar can or can not be interchangeable. Confusing, isn’t it? According to Wikipedia, rice vinegar is made from fermented rice or rice wine, so the logical conclusion would be that rice wine vinegar and rice vinegar are one and the same.

mise-en-place for pickles

Seeing as I couldn’t find rice wine vinegar anyway, I decided to substitute rice vinegar in the recipe. Not only did I substitute rice vinegar for rice wine vinegar, I decided to take it one step further and use brown rice vinegar. There wasn’t much of a colour difference between the rice vinegar and brown rice vinegar so I went with it.

The first four pickles I made were: beets, baby watermelon, watermelon rind, and apples. Most of the pickles are made in the same simple way: the fruit or vegetable is prepared and then covered with the brine. Then it’s basically, wait and enjoy.

The watermelon rind needed one extra step and was tenderized by a quick boil in the brine with star anise and ginger.

The pickles were ready to eat right away, but they taste best if you let them sit for a while so I left my pickles alone for two days before making a pickle plate to go along side some yaki onigiri.

pickles with brine

The results? My favourite was the watermelon rind. Crunchy, sweet, sour, with a hint of the star anise, we finished the whole jar in one sitting! (It was a small jar.) The watermelon pickle was good as well, the sourness of the brine and the sweetness of the melon was mouth-puckeringly delicious.

The beets and granny smith apple were tasty as well, but they fell to the wayside after eating the watermelon pickles. Nonetheless, I am so in love with the colour of beets. I think I could eat beets based on their colour alone.

pickle plate

All in all, the pickles were fun, gorgeous to look at and tasty to boot. Maybe I should have gone ahead with the 15 jars of pickles!

13 Comments add yours

  1. I’ve always been deeply scared of pickles, but you make it look quite easy (and yummy!). I guess I’ll give it a try then… Great pictures!

    Hi Anna,
    Thanks, pickles scared me before too, but they’re pretty easy to make!

    steph on January 29th, 2010 at 12:24 pm
  2. These look sooooo awesome! What are the proportions for the brine? Any special preparation?


    Hi Errin,
    Here’s the recipe for the Momofuku pickles.

    steph on January 29th, 2010 at 12:26 pm
  3. Very happy I found this site. I got the book for Christmas and immediately fell in love with it too. On my first try i ended up making 8 things out of the book. Next on the agenda, more pickles! Seriously, you need to make the octo vinaigrette. Even crazier, mix it with some of the ginger scallion sauce, AND the ssam sauce and use it on the roast pork. SO EFFING GOOD! Congrats and keep up the good work!

    I can’t wait to make the octo vinaigrette, I’ve heard so many good things about it! I’ll have to try your crazy mix some time!

    steph on January 29th, 2010 at 1:50 pm
  4. Oh wow! Those colors really pop!

    Thanks Kirstin! The colours were gorgeous, especially the beets.

    steph on January 30th, 2010 at 4:18 pm
  5. I’ve done carrots, daikon and asian pear so far with his basic pickling recipes (a few birds eye chilis as well). The asian pears were a flop for me, something about the rice wine vinegar and the flavor of the pear were really off. The carrots & daikon were wonderful though, and just like what my local vietnamese place puts in their nuoc cham. I picked up a piece of watermelon to give that a try, looking forward to it based on your writeup.

    I’ve made the Asian pear too and found that the sweetness didn’t really go well with the vinegar, which is contrary to what I say about the sweetness of watermelon, but somehow the watermelon really worked. You should do the rind too, I loved the texture of it. The watermelon flesh itself gets a little bit soggy, but the taste is bang on. Let me know your watermelon pickles go!

    steph on March 24th, 2010 at 2:38 pm
  6. I was most interested in how the watermelon turned out. Now I want to try it.

    I recently went to a restaurant and they used this same recipe for their pickled cauliflower. And it was amazing delicious. Try Cauliflower.

    The pickling options are endless and now that produce is starting to get good again, I’ll be pickling a lot more!

    steph on April 26th, 2010 at 9:18 am
  7. I just made my first Momofuku pickles tonight! I did watermelon rind… so I’m sure the watermelon ones are coming soon! I had to leave out the anise – hope it doesn’t ruin the flavor! I can’t wait to taste them! :D

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