One of my favourite side dishes, for bento and other meals too, is tsukemono or instant pickles. This is not the kind of pickle you spread in sandwiches with meat but the sort akin to pickled eggs but with vegetables.
Below are two methods in which Tsukemono can be made
This tutorial uses a cucumber for demonstration purposes but you can use almost any vegetable using the same principles.
Using about 1/4 teaspoon of salt per 2 inch, massage the cucumber with the salt until limp.
Put into a freezer bag and shake up the cucumber to make sure the cucumber is evenly coated in salt. Now put the freezer bag in the fridge and leave for at least 15 minutes. Instant vegetables taste best if left overnight.
Follow previous method but instead of putting the pickles in the fridge in a freezer bag you can use a press to further extract more liquid making the pickles better.
You can purchase Japanese pickle presses online but they can be quite expensive, a great alternative if you only want to make small batches is the Eddington’s Egg Cuber.
You simply put the pickles in the body of the Egg Cuber and screw on the lid pressing the pickles and releasing it’s own pickling liquid.
Then put the Egg Cubers in a bowl/tub and put in the fridge.
The salty juice left from the instant pickles makes a great tangy salad dressing!