I can't truly say that I love Japanese food because saying so (at least in my definition ot it) would mean that I can eat Japanese food everyday. That's not my case. I only eat Japanese food maybe once or twice a month during good times. But when I do get a hankering for Japanese, I usually follow it.
But you know what my favorite Japanese food is? Gari. It's the pickled young ginger that they serve as a side dish. It serves as a palate cleanser. And personally, I think this is a great way to break the sometimes monotonous taste of Japanese food.
I'm told that gari is very easy to make. After rummaging through many Japanese-food blogs, I came up with this pretty easy to follow recipe. This one is for a small serving only, but of course, it's easy to double or triple the recipe if you have to.
-1/8 kilo of young ginger (The ginger has to be young or it won't be crispy anymore. Also, old ginger tastes stronger and you lose that distinct gari taste. Young ginger is almost entirely pink in color, but I'm told that for the common variety of ginger here in the Philippines, young ones are those that have pink/purple tips)
-2 Tbsp of table sugar
-1/2 cup rice vinegar (Accordingly, Marukan brand is good)
-1/4 tsp of salt
-Wash ginger and peel. Use a spoon to peel the ginger as this makes the process easier. Cut in thin, even slices. I use a sharp or serrated fruit peeler for this step. The pieces shoud be very thin.
-Pat dry the ginger and salt them. After more or less an hour, squeeze out the juice. If you want your gari to be more gingery, skip the squeezing part and just rinse the ginger to remove excess salt.
-Place the gari in a container.
-Mix sugar, vinegar and salt in a pot and allow to simmer/lightly boil. You can add more sugar or more salt. It really depends on your palate.
-Pour the pickling solution over the ginger.