- Dish type
- Vegetable salad
- Cucumber salad
Cucumber sunomono is a tasty Japanese cucumber salad made with just a few easy to find ingredients. Nice for a summer BBQ!
Yorkshire, England, UK
35 people made this
- 2 large cucumbers
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 teaspoons granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons grated or minced root ginger
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 5 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
MethodPrep:20min ›Extra time:1hr chilling › Ready in:1hr20min
- Using a vegetable peeler, peel four strips of peel off of each cucumber, leaving some of the peel in tact (your cucumbers will look 'striped'). Slice off the ends and cut in half.
- Slice the cucumbers into very thin slices using a mandoline, or carefully with a knife. Place in a bowl and sprinkle with the salt, and stir well. Set aside.
- Meanwhile, in a bowl combine the sugar, ginger, soy sauce and vinegar. Whisk together until well combined.
- After the cucumbers have sat in the salt for about 5 minutes, squeeze the excess liquid out of them using your hands or a clean tea towel.
- Toss the cucumbers with the sauce. Stir well. Place in the fridge to chill for 1 hour before serving.
- Just before serving, sprinkle each portion with sesame seeds. Enjoy!
Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(10)
Reviews in English (3)
Loved this too! Once or twice used distilled vinegar - it's nearly as good, but not quite.-08 Nov 2014
I've made this so many times after the first trial and totally in love with it! Thanks for sharing. A slight tweak that I've made to make it superb is to add a teaspoon of sesame oil to the recipe.-31 Dec 2013
I didn't have ginger, so I used some baby leeks to give it bite instead. Loved it. It's the dressing that's the key. Went perfectly with an Asian inspired stew. Freshened it up perfectly.-20 Aug 2013(Review from this site AU | NZ)
Sunomono (Japanese Vinegar Salad)
During most of my pregnancy with Evan, my biggest craving was for Japanese food. I spent many weeks making numerous recipes from the two Japanese cookbooks I own and scouring various food blogs/foodgawker for more ideas. This sunomono recipe was the result of one of those searches. Unfortunately, the vinegar was a big trigger for my heartburn during the second and third trimesters. I am happy to finally enjoy this salad again. Sunomono is a Japanese vinegar salad with many possible variations. The basic components include vegetables (and sometimes seafood) marinated in a seasoned vinegar dressing. This particular recipe has cucumbers and cellophane noodles marinated in a vinegar, sugar, soy sauce. It is a light and refreshing accompaniment to a Japanese meal.
I used the garden cucumbers from my CSA box. If you use garden cucumbers, make sure they are unwaxed or peel them. The best cucumbers for this recipe are Japanese, followed by English. The skin of the Japanese cucumber is bumpy and they have a mild with minimal seeds. They are also crisp and less bitter than the garden cucumber.&nbsp
Make sure the rice vinegar used is unseasoned. Seasoned rice vinegar has sake, salt, and sugar added for sushi rice.
Sunomono Cucumber Salad Recipe
Refreshing, delicious, and easy to make — appetizers don’t get any better than this! Sunomono salads are simply cucumbers that are thinly sliced and marinated in a tantalizing vinegar dressing. As a result, this is always my go-to every time I visit a sushi restaurant. Best of all, it’s also fun and crazy simple to make at home. The chefs at Seven Sushi — a hotspot in Bozeman, Montana — shared their recipe with me. Try it!
Additionally, I’ve got a few more Japanese-inspired recipes especially if you’re looking to host a theme night. One great pairing is my Spicy Tuna Roll that combines fresh tuna, avocado and Siracha. Serve the cucumber salad and tuna rolls in an exciting presentable Bento Box that’ll really jazz up your dinner party! You can even include a flexible Creamy Sriracha Dip to tie it all together.
Get More Tasty Travel Dishes like the Sunomono Cucumber Salad
In my cookbook, FOOD YOU WANT For The Life You Crave, I share dozens of recipes inspired by my global travels. Check out my Vietnamese Spring Rolls on page 88, Asian Island-Style Chicken Adobo on page 149, and the Israeli Falaffal on page 253.
Preparing Sunomono In A Tiny Kitchen
This recipe takes about 10 minutes to prepare. Ideally, you want to wait at least an hour after preparation before you eat it. In this tiny kitchen, however, that almost never happens! From my own experience, even if you don’t wait, it’s still really tasty. When you let it rest for that extra hour, the flavors become bolder and stronger as the cucumbers begin to pickle in the vinegar.
This sunomono recipe is perfect to prepare in a small space and doesn’t require much in the way of clean up. Preparation uses only a few dishes and doesn’t require any cooking. You can prepare it in advance and keep it in the refrigerator for up to two days. Pop it into an airtight container and you’re set. Now you’ll have a quick side dish any time you want!
For the sanbaizu dressing
2 tablespoons usukuchi shoyu (Japanese light-colored soy sauce) or dark soy sauce
For the salad
1/3 cup (7.5 g) dried wakame seaweed
3 Persian cucumber or 1 1/2 Japanese cucumbers, sliced crosswise into 1/8-inch rounds
3/4 teaspoon toasted white sesame seeds
1 teaspoon grated ginger (optional garnish)
Sunomono (Kiyuri Namasu)
Kyuri no sunomono (の 物) or kiyuri namasu is a variety of namasu prepared with cucumbers. Namasu is a Japanese dish made of raw vegetables, finely sliced and marinated in vinegar. Vinegar is known as su in Japanese. Hence sunomono generally refers to all vinegar-based dishes.
What is namasu?
The word namasu is derived from the combination of words nama meaning uncooked and su, something that is marinated in vinegar. Namasu consists of thinly sliced vegetables or seafood marinated in rice vinegar, almost like pickling.
Sunomono and namasu are very similar yet different dishes. The ingredients of both are the same and the main difference lies in how long they are marinated in vinegar.
In sunomono, the vinegar acts as a dressing whereas in namasu, ingredients are marinated in vinegar for hours. Depending on the marination time, a dish is known as sunomono or namasu.
What is kyuri sunomono?
Kyuri sunomono translates to cucumber salad. Thinly sliced cucumbers are dressed in a slightly sweet and sour vinegar dressing. They are crunchy, light and refreshing. It is usually served as an appetizer or in between courses of meals, or as a side dish accompanying the main dishes.
Japanese cucumbers also known as kyuri is a common Japanese cooking ingredient. Having a firm crisp texture with no bitterness makes them an important ingredient in the Japanese cuisine. From sushi to salads to pickles, they are commonly used. Japanese cucumbers are mostly small and narrow with less to no seeds and they have a prickly exterior.
They can be difficult to get outside of Japan. The best substitute for this cucumber is Persian cucumber. You can also use cucumbers that are firm and have less seeds.
Removing excess moisture or water content is key to making any variation of sunomono. Sprinkle salt and rest them for a few minutes so the moisture from the ingredients is released and this excess water can be squeezed out.
What is rice vinegar (komezu)?
Rice vinegar is the type of vinegar used in East Asian cuisine. It is made from fermented rice or sake. In Japanese culture, rice vinegar is not only used in cooking but it is also used for weight loss, skincare and also as a beauty product.
Known as komezu in Japanese, rice vinegar is very mild, almost colorless and delicately sweet when compared to standard vinegar used in cooking. This flavor profile makes it suitable to be used as a dressing in salads, marinades, tsukemono (pickles), sunomono (vinegar-based dishes) and nimono (simmered dishes).
What is seasoned vinegar?
Seasoned vinegar is nothing but pre-made vinegar-based condiments or sauces. It is usually made with sake, salt, sugar and vinegar. While there are different types of condiments made from rice vinegar, nihaizu and sanbaizu are the two seasoned vinegars that are extensively used as a salad dressing and marinade in Japanese cuisine.
Nihaizu is a blend of rice vinegar and soy sauce and sometimes dashi (fish broth). While sanbaizu in addition to rice vinegar and soy sauce also has mirin (rice wine) and sugar added to it. Hence it is slightly sweeter than nihaizu.
These seasoned vinegars act as a base for making a variety of salad dressings. They are similar in preparation with almost the same ingredients used in both types. They can be prepared well in advance and stored in the refrigerator. If you have these handy, making sunomono dishes become easy.
What are the varieties of sunomono?
Cucumbers can be substituted with any vegetable or seafood to make sunomono. Kohlrabi, daikon radish, cabbage, carrots, wakame, seafood like shrimp (ebi-sunomono) and crab are all used to make sunomono varieties.
Kyuri no sunomono is one of the simplest salads out there and all the Eastern Asian countries have their version of kyuri no sunomono. Vietnamese and Thai add peanuts, while the Chinese add garlic and crush the cucumber before slicing. But the common ingredient in all the variation is rice vinegar and the natives urge us to not substitute it with anything. That’s the secret ingredient to make the best cucumber salad the East Asian way!
- Thinly slice your cucumber, place it in a bowl and sprinkle a little salt over it. Toss the cucumber with your fingers and let sit for 15 minutes.
- Pour any liquid that’s sitting at the bottom of the bowl and gently squeeze the excess water from the cucumber slices.
- Soak the wakame in cold water for a few minutes, drain well and add it to the cucumber slices.
- Whisk in all the ingredients for the dressing into a bowl add it to the salad, together with the sesame seeds.
- Toss well, transfer to small serving bowls and top with shirasu. Enjoy!
The best way to slice a cucumber for this type of salad is with a Japanese mandoline (this is the one I use, which is available on Amazon). It’s light and easy to handle, and the blade is much sharper than a French mandoline, which will give you slices that are smooth and even.
You can of course do it with a knife but this process will take you a lot longer and the slices won’t be as thin and evenly cut.
Japanese Cucumber Salad
Japanese cucumber salad, is a type of &ldquosunomono,&rdquo or &ldquovinegared dish,&rdquo and is typically served in Japanese restaurants as an appetizer or a side salad. Japanese cucumber salad is refreshing and light and whets your appetite for more!
The basic ingredients for this sunomono and the technique for making this sweet and sour Japanese cucumber salad are simple and quick. Rice vinegar, a little sugar, and soy sauce or fish sauce are combined resulting in a tangy flavor and crunchy texture for the cucumbers.
It is important to use Japanese style cucumbers such as Persian or mini cukes which can be found in many grocery stores these days. The regular cucumbers that we grow or find at the market typically have thick skins and too many seeds. If you do need to use these large cucumbers, peel them first and remove seeds before using.
Another important step is to slice the cucumbers thinly and salt them to remove most of the moisture and add crunch to the Japanese cucumber salad. Don&rsquot forget to rinse the cucumbers after salting so the salad is not over salted.
Many Japanese cucumber salads include dried wakame seaweed, or nori, which can be rinsed and rehydrated and added to the cucumbers. I found a Trader Joe&rsquos product, Nori Komi Furikake Japanese multipurpose seasoning, which is composed of small flakes of dried seaweed and sesame seeds. Perfect for this recipe. You can either do without the seaweed or wakame, or if you are lucky enough to find this at Trader Joe&rsquos, it can be used in this salad and for many other purposes.
I cut the cucumbers in chunky diagonals for this recipe. Most recipes recommend slicing the cukes very thin to increase flavor and crunchiness.
I served this salad recently with a spicy seafood dish, crawfish bisque. I was looking for something cooling and refreshing to serve as a side and this salad was my answer to achieving a nice balance of spicy and cool.
You can also add a bit of crabmeat to this salad for another option. There are lots of options available once you have the ingredients for this versatile Japanese cucumber salad. Enjoy!
Cucumber and Wakame Salad
Sunomono is usually a light, vinegared salad made with cucumbers. This is a sunomono made with wakame, or seaweed, and cucumber. It is served as part of Japanese meals and is especially good with seafood. The combination of cucumber and wakame is one of the most popular types of Sunomono. You too can make this simple and tasty dish at home.
If you have a mandolin or vegetable slicer, it’s a breeze to make this. But even if not, you can still slice cucumbers the old way, with a knife.
Sunomono can also refer to vinegared salads made with other raw vegetables (i.e., turnips, daikon, radishes, celery, cabbage) and sometimes seafood as well. “Su” is the Japanese word for vinegar.
The vinegar of choice is rice vinegar. Fermented from rice, rice vinegar plays an essential role in Japanese, Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese cuisines. Less acidic than most Western vinegar, rice vinegar has a mild and slightly sweet flavor. Seasoned rice vinegar is often referred to as “sushi vinegar” as it includes sugar and salt, the three ingredients used to flavor rice for sushi.
When preparing sunomono, the key is to first remove any excess moisture from whichever vegetables you use.
- Slice the vegetables
- Sprinkle with salt and mix together.
- Let sit over a strainer for about 10 minutes to begin drawing out the moisture.
- Use your hands to squeeze out additional moisture.
- Gently mix with the dressing and other salad ingredients.
Japanese cuisine has embraced edible sea vegetables, particularly nutrient-rich seaweed, for centuries because they contain the widest variety of minerals of any vegetable group. With its subtly sweet flavor and silky-smooth texture, wakame stands out as a favorite. It is most often incorporated into soups, such as Miso soup and salads such as this recipe for sunomono. Wakame most often comes dried and in need of rehydrating before using. Dried wakame can be purchased “ready-to-use” or in larger pieces in need of trimming.
Quick & Easy Octopus Salad
If you are able to find some sashimi or sushi-grade octopus (タコ刺身) in a Japanese grocery store, making octopus salad at home is surprisingly easy. Even though we call it sashimi/sushi-grade octopus, it actually has been boiled and ready to be enjoyed. To check if the precooked octopus is fresh, the skin should be dark purple and the flesh should be white. The texture is a bit chewy, but when sliced thin, it can be consumed easily by adults.
For Tako Su, we simply combine the thinly sliced octopus with crunchy cucumber, wakame, and toasted sesame seeds before tossing in a light Japanese vinaigrette. The contrast colors and textures of the salad, in my opinion, is a celebration of what nature has provided us. An exemplification of what good food is all about.
I know octopus may not be for everyone, but I hope those of you adventurous eaters will give this salad recipe a try. It’s yummy and low in calorie, making it a delightful side dish to serve especially on a midsummer dinner.
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