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Japanese Cucumber Salad

Japanese Cucumber Salad 1

This very simple little preparation is an example of a Japanese Sunomono, or ‘vinegared’ dish. There are all sorts of variations on the general theme but this is about as basic as it gets. You can, if you like, simply use plain rice vinegar for the dressing but, today, we will be using a prepared nihaizu seasoned vinegar preparation…

The Ingredients

  • 1 cup Cucumber slices, all about 2-3 mm thick (see note below);
  • ½ tsp. Salt;
  • 2 tbsp. Nihaizu (or use plain rice vinegar);
  • Sesame seeds for garnish (white, black, or a mix).

For the cucumber, select a thin Japanese or English variety; ie: the seedless sort, or a type whose seeds are very small and do not need to be removed.

The Method

Japanese Cucumber Salad 2

Salt the cucumber slices well, making sure all pieces and sides receive a little, and then toss them. Allow to sit in a bowl for about 20 or 30 minutes or so until the cucumber has softened and some of the water has been thrown off.

Japanese Cucumber Salad 3

Squeeze the slices well to remove as much liquid as possible and then toss them with the vinegar. Allow to sit for at least 10 minutes.

Finally, squeeze the slices once again just to remove excess vinegar and then divide them attractively amongst serving bowls. Garnish with sesame seeds (or anything you fancy) and serve at room temperature.


4 Comments Post a comment
  1. ohsohappy #

    Amazing how something so simple can taste so good. It is a required element of my sushi experience. I completely enjoy picking up each piece of cucumber with the chopsticks. Even the errant sesame seeds. It’s like a ritual or ceremony or something. Mm mm good!

    April 15, 2014
  2. Eha #

    Love this simple salad – actually seem to use the Lebanese cucumbers if have them at home!

    April 15, 2014
  3. cmgifford #

    We have Hothouse (English) cucumbers here in Midwestern U.S, besides the common seedy ones.. What is the difference between English and Japanese? Do you grow your own?

    April 17, 2014
    • Actually, I really only specified Japanese style because I know they are small, relatively seedless, and are the sort I have had in Japanese restaurants and commercially made Japanese pickles. The ones I am using here are the very small sort used for making the western ‘Gherkin’ style pickles… I don’t know much about their origin.

      We have never grown cucumbers… I’m not even sure if you *could* grow them here (I’ll have to ask my wife).

      April 17, 2014

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