Beni shoga is a popular Japanese tsukemono, or pickle, made from ginger. Not to be confused with gari shoga, the pale pink variety often eaten with sushi or sashimi, beni shoga consists of thin matchsticks of ginger (shoga) coloured with shiso leaves to a deep crimson (beni meaning red). The ginger is pickled in umeboshi vinegar, made from the juice of umeboshi plums, and it is a common accompaniment to gyudon – a bowl of rice topped with simmered beef and onions.






Skill level

Average: 3.6 (14 votes)


  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 x 4g sachets instant dashi (see Note)
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp sake (see Note)
  • 1 tbsp mirin
  • 80 ml (⅓ cup) light soy sauce
  • 500 g beef rump or fillet, thinly sliced
  • steamed rice, sliced spring onion and baby shiso leaves (see Note), to serve


Beni shoga (pickled ginger)

  • 150 g ginger, peeled, cut into thin matchsticks
  • 250 ml (1 cup) umeboshi vinegar (see Note)
  • 1 punnet baby shiso leaves (see Note)

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Standing time 6 hours
Pickling time 3 days
Cooling time 10 minutes
Drink match 2012 Brokenwood Cricket Pitch Sauvignon Blanc Semillon, Regional blend ($20)

To make beni shoga, place ginger in a bowl and sprinkle with 1 tsp salt flakes. Set aside at room temperature for 6 hours. Place in a fine sieve and rinse under cold running water. Pat dry with paper towel. Place in a saucepan with umeboshi vinegar and shiso leaves, bring to the boil, then remove from heat and transfer to a plastic container. Cool, then refrigerate for at least 3 days before using. Pickled ginger will keep refrigerated for up to 3 months. 

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring, for 12 minutes or until softened and slightly golden. Combine dashi with 500 ml boiling water and add to onions. Simmer rapidly for 10 minutes or until liquid has reduced by two-thirds. Add sugar, sake, mirin and soy sauce and simmer for a further 3 minutes. Add beef and cook for 2 minutes, or until just cooked through or to your liking.

Divide rice among serving bowls and top with beef mixture. Serve topped with beni shoga, spring onion and baby shiso leaves.


• Instant dashi and umeboshi vinegar are available from health food shops and select Asian food shops.
• Sake is a Japanese rice wine from bottle shops. If unavailable, substitute with 2 tbsp mirin.
• Baby shiso is available from select greengrocers.


Photography Brett Stevens


As seen in Feast magazine, November 2013, Issue 26. For more recipes and articles, pick up a copy of this month's Feast magazine or check out our great subscriptions offers here.