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Hero short of Pickled Cucumbers and Shiitake Mushrooms.
Pickled Cucumbers and Shiitake Mushrooms
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
5 mins
1 d
Total Time
1 d 15 mins

Pickled Cucumbers and Shiitake Mushrooms is not a traditional Japanese pickled cucumber recipe. It has a complex flavour of salty, sweet, sour, nutty, and spicy – a perfect izakaya (Japanese-style tavern) dish.

It is assumed that pickling time is 1 day.

Don't forget to see the section 'MEAL IDEAS' below the recipe card! It gives you a list of dishes that I have already posted and this recipe that can make up a complete meal. I hope it is of help to you.

Recipe Type: Appetiser, Side
Cuisine: Japanese
Keyword: japanese pickles, pickled cucumbers, pickled mushrooms
Serves: 4 as a side
Author: Yumiko
Ingredients (tbsp=15ml, cup=250ml)
  • 300g / 0.7lb cucumbers (note 1)
  • 100g / 3.5oz shiitake mushrooms (fresh, not dried)
  • 10g / 0.4oz rehydrated wood ear fungus (also called black/cloud ear fungus, note 2)
  • 10g / 0.4oz ginger , very finely julienned to 2cm / ¾” long strips
  • 7g / 0.2oz red chili , finely julienned to about 3cm / 1⅛" long strips
Pickling Liquid
  • 1 tbsp shiro dashi (note 3)
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1⅓ tbsp white sesame oil (note 4)
  • 1⅓ tbsp dark sesame oil (note 4)
Pickling Liquid
  1. Add shiro dashi, rice vinegar, and sugar to a jar and mix well until the sugar is dissolved.

  2. Add the remaining Pickling Liquid ingredients to the jar and mix well.
Prepare vegetables
Shiitake mushrooms:
  1. Trim the end of the stem and slice into 3mm / ⅛" thick pieces.

  2. Put the mushroom slices in a small saucepan, add 4 tablespoons of water (not in ingredients list), then bring it to a boil.
  3. Reduce the heat to minimum and cook for 30-45 seconds with a lid on. Bubbles will come up. If the bubbles overflow, shift the lid to let the bubbles subside. There should be a small amount of liquid left. Transfer the mushrooms, including the liquid, to a bowl and let them cool (note 5).

  1. Cut the cucumbers into 5cm / 2" long logs, then quarter each log vertically (note 6) to make triangular prism-shape pieces. Trim off the tip lengthwise where the seeds are (centre of the cucumber) since the centre of the cucumber contains a lot of water (see the photo in post).

  2. Wood ear fungus: Slice the wood ear fungus pieces into 2mm / 3⁄32" wide strips.

  1. Put all the prepared vegetables (including the residual liquid from the boiled mushrooms), chillies, and ginger in a zip lock bag.

  2. Massage the bag or use a spoon to mix the vegetables in the bag.
  3. Add the pickling liquid to the bag. Remove air as much as possible and seal the bag.
  4. Keep the bag in the fridge for 1-2 days.
  5. Serve as a side dish or nibbles for drinks.
Recipe Notes

1. I used 3 Lebanese cucumbers (similar to Persian cucumber) that were about 16-17cm / 6½" long.

2. I used several small pieces of dried wood ear fungus. I tried to weigh them before rehydrating but they were so light that my food scale could not give me the weight. 10g is the rehydrated weight.

3. I used shiro dashi to give umami to the pickles. If you don’t have shiro dashi, I recommend using a strong dashi stock combined with mirin and salt instead. In the place of 1 tbsp of shiro dashi, combine ¼ tsp granular dashi powder, 1 tsp warm water, 1 tsp mirin, and 1/8 tsp salt.

4. Unlike most commonly available brown sesame oil, the colour of white sesame oil is yellowish clear, like rice vinegar. Please refer to my post for more details about white sesame oil.

If you don’t have white sesame oil, substitute it with lightly flavoured clear oil.

5. Alternatively, place the saucepan, with the mushrooms inside, in cold water to let the pan cool down quickly.

6. The length of the stick can be slightly shorter or longer. If your cucumber is fat, you may want to cut each log into 6 wedges.

7. You can keep Pickled Cucumbers and Shiitake Mushrooms for about a week in the fridge.

8. Nutrition per serving. It is assumed that 1/3 of the pickling liquid is consumed. 

serving: 116g calories: 55kcal fat: 2.6g (4%) saturated fat: 0.4g (2%) trans fat: 0.0g polyunsaturated fat: 1g monounsaturated fat: 0.9g cholesterol: 0.6mg (0%) sodium: 190mg (8%) potassium: 217mg (6%) carbohydrates: 6.8g (2%) dietary fibre: 1.1g (4%) sugar: 3.5g protein: 1.6g vitamin a: 2% vitamin c: 3.8% calcium: 1.1% iron: 2.3%