Pickled Ramps, Japanese and Korean Flavors

Pickled Ramps Recipe, Japanese/Korean Style Top

Even before I open my eyes in the morning, when senses are at their dullest, the first thing I’ve been noticing lately is the pungency of ramps. I’m not sure whether it’s my breath, clothes, or skin pores, but I’m guessing that pouring a boiling red pepper broth over wild leeks is enough to trump Febreze freshness.

Did it sound like I was complaining? I’d pickle a truckload of ramps in this way if I could. The smell isn’t anything that Axe and Listerine can’t fix anyway.

The sweet, sour, and spicy pickling brine retains the crispness of the ramps from leaves to bulb. Most of the heat comes from shichimi togarashi, an aromatic Japanese seasoning comprised of seven ingredients. The particular blend I used, one of many variations, had orange peel, black and white sesame seeds, red peppers, sansho (better known as Sichuan peppercorns), ginger, and seaweed.

As fiery as the Korean crushed red pepper (gochugaru) looks, it’s actually rather sweet. It gives the pickling brine a menacing kimchi-red hue even if it barely adds any heat. Any of the milder ground red peppers, such as unsmoked Spanish paprika, will do in a pinch.

recipe adapted from David Chang
Weekend Herb Blogging hosted by Mele Cotte

David Chang’s Pickled Ramps
with Japanese and Korean Seasonings

Pickled Ramps Recipe, Trimmed and Cleaned
A 9 x 13-inch baking dish is not the best container to use. I had to double the pickling brine.


1 pound ramps, trimmed and cleaned

For the Pickling Brine:

3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup rice wine vinegar
3/4 cup water
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon Japanese seven spice (shichimi togarashi)
1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons Korean crushed red pepper (gochugaru)

Pickled Ramps Recipe, Japanese/Korean Style
What’s that smell?


  1. Place the trimmed and cleaned ramps in a large nonreactive container (such as stainless steel or glass).
  2. Combine all the pickling brine ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring until the sugar and salt are dissolved. Immediately pour over the ramps.
  3. Let the ramps and pickling brine cool to room temperature, cover, and refrigerate at least overnight before serving.

Pickled Ramps Recipe, Japanese/Korean Platter
Tsukemono or kimchi?

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30 Responses to “Pickled Ramps, Japanese and Korean Flavors”

  1. Irene says:

    To tell you the truth, I’m not much for anything pickled (weird for a Russian girl!), but I really like the photos, especially the spices!

  2. Rosa says:

    That’s an interesting recipe!



  3. Eddie says:

    I bookmarked this one immediately. Can’t wait to give it a try!

  4. Ben says:

    OK, These all are new flavors for me. But it looks fairly easy to prepare. I only need to go hunting for the ingredients.

  5. Julia says:

    Your pickled ramps look great! I just made some too, but a much simpler recipe. I like the kim chi effect. What will you serve them with?

  6. Mara @ What's For Dinner? says:

    Those look fantastic!! I have never had ramps, but after my sister went ramp hunting, I’m all about finding them!

  7. Lorraine @NotQuiteNigella says:

    I either love or hate pickles depending on various factors-I do love the way these look especially the photo of them in the brine!

  8. kat says:

    We’ve been pickling onions, carrots & radishes lately & I know what you mean about the smell, especially the radishes! I’m enjoying all these ramp recipes. I’ll get two bunches from the farm today & need to pick one or two to do

  9. Natashya says:

    If I ever come across someone in a crowd who smells like Febreze, Axe and Listerine.. and ramps – I’ll know it’s you!
    I am so jealous of your ramp collection, such an interesting way to prepare them.

  10. katiek @kitchensidecar says:

    I am jealous of everybody who is ramp blogging! I have not been around a farmer’s market in a couple weeks and have no ramps!

    On top of that you made a delicious pickle, which would die for! If I find ramps, I am making these.

  11. Leela says:

    If I wasn’t traveling, I would be making this in a heartbeat.

  12. Caitlin says:

    Again with the ramps, Jude? This is *so* not fair.

  13. Lori Lynn says:

    Oh gee, I love this, being a savory kind of gal, I am drawn to these flavors here. Lovely photos (as usual).

  14. Joelen says:

    Only you know how to capture ramps so elegantly! Seriously, I’d love to get some photo tips from you!

  15. joey says:

    I love kimchi! But I have never had ramps before, nor do I think we can get them here…this looks delicious though!

  16. Lien says:

    What an interesting post, on this occasion glad that there’s no ’smell-tv’ :-)
    I’ve never seen these ramps before, can’t immagine they sell that here. Looks good.

  17. Manggy says:

    Dear god, I hope it’s just the breath! I think skin pores is a little extreme! Love fiery flavors :)

  18. maryann says:

    This sounds interesting, but the guanciale- that really hits the spot :)

  19. Zita says:

    Thank you! I’m drooling right now…been looking for a good recipe for kimchi :)

  20. Kristen says:

    yum. I love pickled veggies, esp Korean ones. Looks like these would go well in my bowl of bibimbap that I’m craving for lunch!

  21. pigpigscorner says:

    I love kimchi! This is really interesting.

  22. Squawkfox says:

    Ramps? There are so many veggies I have never heard about. I only got into Rapini last year so I have so much to learn. Yummy!

  23. Carolyn Jung says:

    Oh my gawd! I just had David Chang’s pickled ramps — served in a sashimi-like fish dish — at his Momofuku Noodle Bar restaurant in New York. Thanks for the recipe. I’ll have to try my hand at recreating the dish I enjoyed.

  24. Tangled Noodle says:

    So divine. But I swear . . . I’m the only person who hasn’t been able to get within 100 miles of ramps. I can only look but not taste. [Sigh]

  25. Julia, I usually just serve them with plain steamed rice as a side dish. Gotta be piping hot.

  26. Girl Japan says:

    This is.. ahem.. right up my alley, and down the street, I really admire your presentation skills, ah and served with steamed rice…

  27. Leslie says:

    I dont think I have ever seen Rampa…sounds very interesting.
    Thanks for visiting my blog. Stop back by anytime

  28. Steffan says:

    I grew up in Pocahontas County West Virginia, and ramps were an annual event. Every year the VFW put out signs for ramp, brown bean and venison fundraising dinners at the local firehouses. (Truly a more “West Virginian” meal does not exist.)

    I’d almost forgotten about them when they started showing up on menus and cooking shows last year.

    One thing I won’t forget is the “pungency” you describe. EVERYONE in my high school could tell when a classmate had eaten ramps the night before. The smell comes out of the pores and seems to intensify the next day. It is a testament to the power of the ramp that far from being ostracised, the usual response among my classmates was “where did you find them, and are there any left?” (Usually we would find them in the woods, no one thought to cultivate ramps.) The next day, no-one in school would notice the ramp smell, because by then, we would *all* smell like ramps.

    I lived in Korea for two years and I know that their kimche process would be a *perfect* marriage for ramps and am DYING to try this recipe.

    Unfortunately, I haven’t seen an actual ramp since I left West Virginia. The whole foods market never has them, and the local chefs work back room deals with the local suppliers to snap up the supply. I recently found out that a co-worker’s husband works at a local organic farm and that they got rid of the last of this season’s ramps this last week. So I have to wait for next year yet again to stink all of my co-workers out of the office!

  29. Ramps! | Lucky Duck Press says:

    [...] Pickled ramps [...]

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