Japanese cucumber salad known as “Kyuri no Sunomono” in Japanese is a very refreshing, light, and delicious side dish. It is healthy dish consisting of thinly sliced cucumber and Wakame (a type of seaweed) that is marinated in rice vinegar, which is called “su” in Japanese.
Which Cucumber to Use?
The main ingredients of Japanese cucumber salad are cucumber, wakame seaweed, and vinegar. This is the perfect recipe for enjoying the refreshing-ness and crunchiness of cucumbers. So it is important to use the right cucumber. I was surprised that almost all vegetables are ginormous in size here compared to Japan. Those thick cucumbers are not good for this recipe. In Australia, the cucumber variety that I use is Vietnamese cucumber which are small cucumbers and close to what I get in Japan.
Preparing the Cucumbers
Slice the cucumbers into 2mm (0.078 inch) thick. Sprinkle salt in order to take the moisture out of the cucumbers. This is an important part of the process in order to not impair the flavour of the dish. Removing as much water out of the cucumbers allows the vinegar to absorb more into the cucumber. And this is why big cucumber does not suit for Japanese cucumber salad as it contains too much water. If that type of cucumber is all that’s available, the seeds and centre of the cucumber need to be removed before it is sliced.
Wakame seaweed is often used as an ingredient in Japanese cucumber salad. They are available in dried form from any asian grocery stores or online. It absorbs water, so you only need a little bit like 1 tsp. Put the seaweed in cold water and leave it for 10 minutes. Squeeze the water out and cut them if necessary. Wakame seaweed can be replaced with cooked octopus bits, Shirasu ( juvenile sardines, sand lances, and herring), or Chirimen (dried shirasu).
“Su” the Vinegar
Commonly used vinegar in Japan is known as “Su” and it is usually referred to wheat, sake lees, rice and corn blended and brewed vinegar. Another generally available vinegar is “Kome Su” which contains more than 40g of rice per 1 litre of the vinegar. Those two types are generally used to cook Japanese cucumber salad, salad dressings, pickles and Sushi in Japan. There is also Sushi vinegar that has the sugar and salt already mixed in to the vinegar. In Australia, I can get the same vinegar that I used to use in Japan from local Japanese grocery stores and the brand I use is Mitsukan (Mizkan).
Super fast, easy and healthy Japanese side dish
It’s perfect as a small summer salad or side dish to any meal. This is also super easy to make, like unbelievably easy, you don’t need anything special to make it and it you don’t any sort of skill (just basic cutting skills)! It is low in calories and vegan.
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Japanese cucumber salad is a refreshing, light, and delicious side dish. It is made from thinly sliced cucumber marinated in rice vinegar so it is very healthy!
- 1 cucumber
- 5 g dried seaweed wakame mix
- 2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp rice vinegar
- 2 tsp mirin
- 2 tsp ususkuchi soy sauce
- sesame seeds to sprinkle
Combine all Amazu ingredients in a small bowl, stir them, and set aside.
Wash and slice the cucumbers 2mm(0.078inch) thick.
Place the sliced cucumbers into a small bowl and sprinkle the 2tsp of salt.
Toss the cucumbers and salt in order to coat the cucumbers evenly with salt.
Leave the cucumber with salt for 10 minutes to get the water out of the cucumbers.
Place the dried seaweed in a small bowl with 2 cups of water and set aside for 10 minutes.
Drain and squeeze the water out of the cucumber and seaweed.
Place the cucumber and seaweed in a mixing bowl and pour Amazu vinegar mixture over the cucumber.
Serve it in a small bowl and sprinkle with white sesame seeds.
Other vinegars can be replaced - white vinegar, apple cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar, wine vinegar but each different vinegar will taste differently.
Vietnamese cucumbers or continental cucumbers are recommended to use for this recipe.
Wakame seaweed can be replaced with bits of cooked octopus, and Shirasu baby fish (cooked and dried)
Instead of sprinkling white sesame seeds, garnish with finely chopped ginger is delicious too.