Pickled vegetables, Kyoto
At the storefront are put some vegetables on the baskets. Something like clay or sand sticks to the vegetables. What is that?
It is neither clay nor sand, but is called Nuka, powdered rice bran produced from the outer coat of rice. It is rich in Vitamin B and lactic acid bacterium, produced by the slightly watered rice bran, make the juicy vegetables tasty after they are pickled in the pasted rice bran with some salt and a few pieces of red pepper, for a certain time. We usually use cucumber, eggplant, Chinese cabbage and more for pickling.
Every home used to have an earthenware pot or plastic box, full of the paste for pickling, till some decades ago. Now some still have the pot or box but the others usually buy the pickled vegetable at vegetable shops or supermarkets. We eat them with some drop of soy sauce and they are musts for traditional breakfast, consisting of boiled rice, miso soup, fermented soybeans (natto in Japanese) and grilled fish.
I prefer the Chinese cabbage one with some drop of soy sauce and powdered hot pepper.