Simple Pickled Ginger (Gari) Recipe

Simple Pickled Ginger (Gari) Recipe

If you've ever enjoyed sushi at a restaurant, you've probably encountered the delightful pickled ginger that accompanies the meal. While store-bought versions are available, pickled ginger, also known as gari, offers a much fresher and tastier experience. This condiment, sweet, sour, and slightly spicy, is traditionally eaten in between bites of sushi or sashimi, helping to cleanse the palate and enhance the flavors of the fish. Making pickled ginger at home is surprisingly simple, and the result is worth the wait. By using young ginger, rice vinegar, organic cane sugar, and sea salt, you can create your own jar of delicious pickled ginger that lasts for months in the fridge. Elevate your dishes with this zesty and condiment that adds a burst of flavor to any meal.

Simple Pickled Ginger (Gari)


If you've ever been to a sushi restaurant, you've probably seen the little slices of sushi ginger served alongside the meal. These slices, known as pickled ginger or gari in Asian cuisine, are used as a palate cleanser in Chinese and Japanese cuisine. While you can find jars of pickled ginger at your local grocery store, making it at home is not only easy but also allows you to control the ingredients and ensure a fresher and tastier end result. In this article, we will guide you through the process of making your own delicious pickled ginger.


To make homemade pickled ginger, you will need the following ingredients:

  • 8 ounces of fresh young ginger root
  • 1 ½ teaspoons of sea salt
  • 1 cup of rice vinegar
  • ⅓ cup of organic cane sugar

Preparation Steps

  1. Peel the ginger using a spoon or vegetable peeler. The skin is thin enough that using a knife would be overkill. Discard the peelings.

  2. Cut the ginger into thin slices. You can use a mandoline, but a vegetable peeler works best for this task.

  3. Place the sliced ginger in a colander and sprinkle it with sea salt. Let it rest for 30 minutes to allow the ginger to sweat. Toss the ginger occasionally during this time.

  4. Spread the sliced ginger out on a clean towel to remove any excess moisture.

  5. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the rice vinegar and organic cane sugar. Stir until the sugar dissolves and bring the mixture to a boil.

  6. Transfer the pieces of ginger to a heat-proof glass jar.

  7. Pour the pickling liquid into the glass jar, covering the ginger completely. Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature.

  8. Once cooled, transfer the jar to the refrigerator and let it rest for at least one week before using. This resting period allows the ginger to fully absorb the flavors of the pickling liquid.

Choosing the Best Ginger

When making pickled ginger, it's important to choose the right type of ginger. Mature ginger, which has a fibrous texture and stronger spiciness, is not suitable for this . Instead, look for young ginger. Young ginger has lighter skin and may still have the pink tip attached. You can often find young ginger at larger health food stores or farmers' markets. Don't be alarmed if your pickled ginger turns pink in the fridge. This is a natural reaction between the young ginger and the rice vinegar.

Simple Pickled Ginger (Gari) Recipe

The Pickling Process

Making pickled ginger at home is a fairly simple process, but it does require some patience. After peeling and slicing the ginger, it's important to remove excess moisture by salting it. This step helps the ginger absorb the flavors of the pickling liquid more effectively. Once the ginger is prepared, it's time to make the pickling liquid using rice vinegar and organic cane sugar. The mixture is then poured over the ginger slices in a heat-proof glass jar. After allowing the pickled ginger to cool to room temperature, it should be stored in the refrigerator for at least one week before consuming. This resting period allows the flavors to fully develop and the ginger to become tender.

How to Store Homemade Pickled Ginger

Once your homemade pickled ginger is ready, you'll need to store it properly to ensure its freshness and flavor. The best way to store pickled ginger is by keeping it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. The ginger will last for several months in the fridge, allowing you to enjoy its zesty flavors over an extended period. It's important to keep the pickled ginger away from other strong-smelling foods in the fridge to prevent any cross-contamination of flavors.

Simple Pickled Ginger (Gari) Recipe

Ways to Use Pickled Ginger

Pickled ginger is not only a delicious condiment to accompany sushi and sashimi, but it can also elevate the flavors of various Asian dishes. Here are some ways to use pickled ginger:

  • Add it to vegetable stir-fried rice for a burst of tangy flavor.
  • Include it in Vietnamese spring rolls for an extra zing.
  • Pair it with Asian ginger salmon to complement the dish's flavors.
  • Use it as a topping for sweet and sour chicken to balance the sweetness.
  • Incorporate it into a beef and cabbage stir-fry for a refreshing twist.

Feel free to experiment and get creative with different dishes to discover your own favorite ways to use pickled ginger!

Tips and Variations

  • If you prefer a milder ginger flavor, you can soak the sliced ginger in ice water for about 10 minutes before pickling. This can help to reduce the spiciness of the ginger.
  • For a slightly sweeter pickled ginger, you can increase the amount of sugar in the or use a sweeter variety of ginger.
  • If you're feeling adventurous, you can add additional flavors to your pickled ginger. Some popular options include adding a slice of lime or lemon to the pickling liquid, or even incorporating a small piece of fresh chili pepper for a spicy kick.

Simple Pickled Ginger (Gari) Recipe


Making your own pickled ginger at home is a simple and rewarding process. By using fresh young ginger and a few other ingredients, you can create a zesty and flavorful condiment that pairs perfectly with various Asian dishes. Whether you're enjoying sushi, stir-fried rice, or salmon, pickled ginger adds a tangy and refreshing element to your meal. So why settle for store-bought options when you can easily make your own delicious pickled ginger in the comfort of your own kitchen? Give it a try and enjoy the authentic flavors of homemade gari!

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