Japanese cucumber salad, is a type of “sunomono,” or “vinegared dish,” 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’t 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’s 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’s, 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!