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Japanify: Sunomono Salad

This monochromatic sunomono salad may look humble, but it packs a sweet and sour punch. It tastes somewhat reminiscent to the cucumber salad that comes with Thai satay skewers. Although sunomono is eaten more like a salad than pickles, it does cleanse the palate when eating something oily or spicy. Sunomono literally means vinegared ("su") things ("mono").

I usually accompany sunomono with with grilled fish or with some simmered chicken. It's also a great salad to bring to a BBQ because it will be a cool relief to meaty and/or smoky foods.

For the dressing:
3 tablespoons sugar
4 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon dashi (or water) for thinning to desired taste - optional

For the salad:
1 Japanese cucumber (kyuri)
3 tablespoons of dried wakame

Japanify: Sunomono Salad

It is essential to buy Japanese cucumbers (kyuri) for Japanese recipes that call for cucumbers. Japanese cucumbers are thinner than their English counterparts, less spongy and much more crisp.

1. Rehydrate the wakame by placing in water for about 15 minutes.

2. Combine all ingredients for the dressing. Make sure it tastes both sweet and sour. Remember that it should be sour enough that the depths of your cheeks should feel it. If it's really unbearably sour, add a little bit of water or dashi, but remember, there is going to be a lot of water that will enter the mix when you factor in the rehydrated wakame. Whisk the dressing. Set the dressing aside for at least 10 minutes.

3. Cut the cucumber in extremely thin slices. This is to allow a lot of the dressing to adhere to each slice. Drain the wakame and pass some cold water through it. Make sure you strain the wakame well. Combine cucumber slices and wakame into a mixing bowl.

4. By the time you have combined your cucumber and wakame together, the dressing should have had about 10 minutes to sit and the sugar granules should have dissolved. Mix the dressing up one last time and pour over the cucumber mix.

5. Serve. Sunomono is very potent (in its sourness) so each serving can be quite small - about 2-4 tablespoons.

Japanify: Sunomono Salad
Column: Japanify
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5 comments

  • Mmmm… Kyuri and wakame! If I liked sour stuff, I’d be all over this. This reminds me of the natto-yamaimo-wakame salad you made that was sooo tasty!

    seri on

  • Plating with chopsticks does wonders!

    yoko on

  • Nice plating, lady!

    kayoko on

  • Ooohh! Chili flakes sound amazing. Talk about a flavor explosion. I can totally imagine it.

    yoko on

  • I was making this with cucumbers and green peppers for the last three weeks! I also add a bit of chilli powder just to give it a little kick and remind me of Thailand.

    sakura on

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