Asian Recipes/ Condiments and Sauces/ Japanese/ Recipes

3 Ingredient Japanese Red Pickled Ginger – Beni Shoga

02/09/2021

Vivid red strips of Red Pickled Ginger are here to brighten up your favourite Japanese dishes – from takoyaki to ramen! Only 3 ingredients and 5 minutes prep stand between you and a fresh jar of beni shoga.

Jar of red pickled ginger with fork.

Why We Love This

Japanese red pickled ginger adds a bright zing of flavour to so many delicious Japanese recipes, especially our favourites like okonomiyaki

Pickled ginger is so easy to make at home, and the recipe is easy to adapt to your flavour preferences. For example, you can add sugar to make it a little sweeter to offset the intensity of the ginger and vinegar.

Jar of Japanese beni shoga with a small dish nearby.

What is Beni Shoga (紅生姜)? 

Beni shoga are the thin strips of red pickled ginger you often find tucked inside a takoyaki or piled on top of a bowl of ramen or yakisoba.

It’s known as a tsukemono – a type of Japanese pickle, in the same family as takuan and pickled cabbage. It’s often served as a small side dish or as a garnish on a heavier meal.

The ginger is pickled in a solution known as umezu – Japanese red plum vinegar – which isn’t actually a vinegar at all! It’s a by-product of making umeboshi (pickled plums). So essentially it’s the salty, sour juices from the plum brine.

What You’ll Need

  • Ginger – Use fresh young ginger if you can, as it’s sweeter and juicier than older ginger roots. You can still use old ginger if you need to, it might just be a bit tougher, more fibrous and less juicy than young ginger, but will still taste amazing once pickled!
  • Red Plum Vinegar – Also known as umezu – this is the traditional by-product of pickling Japanese plums known as umeboshi. Look for it online or at Asian groceries. Sub with red wine vinegar, or white wine vinegar with 8 drops of red food dye. 
  • Salt – Pickling salt is recommended, as it has no additives that can cause the pickling liquid to become cloudy. However, we just use regular table salt which works just fine.
Ingredients laid out to make beni shoga.

How to make Red Pickled Ginger:

  1. Peel the ginger using a spoon, peeler or knife to scrape off the skin. Cut off any tough spots with a knife.
  2. Slice the skinned ginger into thin strips first, then julienne. (Watch our video for cutting technique)
  3. Place julienned ginger into a small bowl and pour over the salt. Mix through to make sure all the ginger is covered. Place a heavy bowl or plate over the top to press down. Leave for half an hour. Note: You should start to see liquid in the bottom of the bowl from the salted ginger.
  1. Take a handful of the ginger at a time and squeeze out any excess liquid.
  2. Place into a clean, sterilised glass jar and pour over the red plum vinegar.
  3. Push down with chopsticks or a spoon to make sure all the ginger is covered. Add a little extra vinegar if required to coat. Beni shoga is ready to eat in 4 hours, but best results in 1 – 2 days.

Wandercook’s Tips

  • Ginger Shapes – While it’s traditional to cut beni shoga into julienne strips, you can cut it any way you like such as thinly peeled.
  • Storage – Keep your pickled ginger in the fridge for up to a year, and always remember to get it out with clean utensils when serving up.

FAQs

What’s the difference between beni shoga (red pickled ginger) and gari (sushi ginger)?

Beni shoga are bright red strips of julienned ginger. The red plum vinegar they are pickled in has more of a sour note as well. Gari on the other hand is pickled in a sweet vinegar solution of amazu, and has a milder sweet flavour, lending itself to pair perfectly with sushi.

Why is beni shoga red?

The ginger in beni shoga takes on a red hue from the red plum vinegar. It can also be achieved using beetroot powder, beetroot juice or red food dye.

Do I have to use red plum vinegar for beni shoga?

For the most traditional flavour, we recommend red plum vinegar, known as umezu. It’s usually found at health shops or online. The closest substitute is red wine vinegar. You can also use white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar and add red colouring of your choice. You could also add a little mirin to add a dash of sweetness if you prefer.

Small dish of freshly pickled red ginger.

More of Your Favourite Japanese Condiments:

★ Did you make this recipe? Please leave a comment and a star rating below!

Close up of jar with red pickled ginger.

3 Ingredient Japanese Red Pickled Ginger – Beni Shoga

Vivid red strips of Red Pickled Ginger are here to brighten up your favourite Japanese dishes – from takoyaki to ramen! Only 3 ingredients and 5 minutes prep stand between you and a fresh jar of Beni Shoga.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Minimum Pickling Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 4 hours 5 minutes
Course: Basics, Condiment
Cuisine: Japanese
Servings: 1 Jar
Calories: 53kcal
Author: Wandercooks
Cost: $6

Ingredients

  • 1 piece ginger young ginger preferred, around 130g / 4.6oz
  • ½ cup red plum vinegar (umezu), sub red wine vinegar or white wine vinegar with 8 drops red food dye
  • 2 tsp salt 7g

Instructions

  • Peel the ginger using a spoon, peeler or knife to scrape off the skin. Cut off any tough spots with a knife.
  • Slice the skinned ginger into thin strips first, then julienne. (Watch our video for cutting technique)
  • Place julienned ginger into a small bowl and pour over the salt. Mix through to make sure all the ginger is covered. Place a heavy bowl or plate over the top to press down. Leave for half an hour. Note: You should start to see liquid in the bottom of the bowl from the salted ginger.
  • Take a handful of the ginger and squeeze out any excess liquid. Place into a clean, sterilised glass jar and pour over the red plum vinegar. Push down with chopsticks or a spoon to make sure all the ginger is covered. Add a little extra vinegar if required to coat.
  • Ready to eat in 4 hours, but best results in 1 – 2 days.

Video

Recipe Notes

  • Ginger Shapes – While it’s traditional to cut beni shoga into julienne strips, you can cut it any way you like such as thinly peeled.
  • Storage – Keep your pickled ginger in the fridge for up to a year, and always remember to get it out with clean utensils when serving up.

Nutrition

Calories: 53kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 29494mg | Potassium: 456mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 4mg | Iron: 1mg
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3 Ingredient Japanese Red Pickled Ginger - Beni Shoga

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