Sunomono – Japanese Cucumber and Wakame Salad

Sunomono – Japanese Cucumber and Wakame SaladSunomono – Quick & Easy, Light & Refreshing

You’ve probably enjoyed Sunomono any number of times at Japanese restaurants. So refreshing and satisfyingly crisp it had to be on the menu in my upcoming Flavors of Japan Cooking Class. So I’ve had a tasty week researching, perfecting and eating ever more balanced versions of sunomono. Sunomono – Japanese Cucumber and Wakame SaladThe first recipe I tried was overly salty, sweet and brown from too much salt, sugar and soy sauce. But today I offer you my favorite recipe so far. It’s especially flavorsome when tossed together with finely cut slivers of fresh ginger.

Sunomono is usually a light, vinegared salad made with cucumbers. The word 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 vinegars, 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. I like the gently flavored “lite” seasoned rice vinegar from Marukan.

When preparing sunomono, the key is to first remove any excess moisture from whichever vegetables you use.

  • Slice the vegetable.Sunomono – Japanese Cucumber and Wakame Salad
  • 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.

Sea vegetables, also known as edible seaweed, have been a staple of Japanese cuisine for centuries. Nutrient rich sea vegetables contain the widest variety of minerals of any vegetable group. Sunomono – Japanese Cucumber and Wakame SaladThey contain all of the minerals found in the ocean, along with their many health benefits.

With its subtle 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 today’s 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.

The Elegant & Refined Flavors of Japan
Saturday, February 28th 10:30-2:00
Come explore with me the harmony of colors, flavors and techniques that is Japanese food. You’ll learn about and taste the unique and healthful ingredients that make Japanese food so nurturing and aesthetically satisfying.

♥ Stir-Fried Edamame with Garlic, Chile & GingerSunomono – Japanese Cucumber and Wakame Salad
♥ (Dashi)Miso Soup
♥ Sunonomo (Cucumber & Wakame Salad)
♥ Chirashi Sushi (Sushi in a Bowl)
Sushi Rice, Carrot Flowers, Seasoned Shiitakes, Shredded Egg Crepes (Kinshi Tamago)
♥ Matcha Almond Shortbread Hearts

For more information and to register, email:

The 3 ½ -hour class includes lunch. $60 per person, payable upon registration.
Register today as space is limited.

Sunomono – Japanese Cucumber and Wakame SaladSunomono – Japanese Cucumber and Wakame Salad

Cool, refreshing, crisp and delicious Sunomono. A quick and easy to prepare light side salad you could serve for any meal, Japanese or not.
I’ve given you proportions for two possible dressings for your salad. Both dressings are less sweet than typical sunomono salad dressings. Choose either the one using already seasoned, lite rice vinegar or the other using unseasoned rice vinegar plus sugar.

Makes 1 ½ cups, 3-4 servings                                Printer-Friendly Recipe.
Active Time 20 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes

1 tablespoon dried “ready-to-use” wakameSunomono – Japanese Cucumber and Wakame Salad
1 English cucumber or 2-4 Japanese or Persian cucumbers depending on their size
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ inch piece peeled, fresh ginger

Dressing with seasoned, lite rice vinegar
3 tablespoons seasoned, lite rice vinegar
½ teaspoon soy sauce
½ teaspoon toasted sesame oil

Dressing with unseasoned rice vinegarSunomono – Japanese Cucumber and Wakame Salad
3 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
2 ½ teaspoons organic sugar
½ teaspoon soy sauce
½ teaspoon toasted sesame oil

  1. Place wakame in a small bowl. Add ¼ cup water. Set aside to rehydrate while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
  2. Sunomono – Japanese Cucumber and Wakame SaladStrip peel the cucumber. Very thinly slice the cucumber using a food processor, mandoline or sharp knife to equal 2 1/2 cups.Sunomono – Japanese Cucumber and Wakame Salad
  3. Sprinkle the cucumber slices with the salt; toss together. Place the cucumber in a strainer. Let stand for 10 minutes.
  4. Combine the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl.
  5. Finely julienne the peeled, fresh ginger.
  6. Use your hands to squeeze out excess liquid from the cucumber. Place the sliced cucumber into a medium bowl.Sunomono – Japanese Cucumber and Wakame Salad
  7. Drain the wakame. Gently mix it with the cucumber and your choice of dressing.
  8. Either mix the ginger in with the cucumber, or use it as a top garnish.
  9. When you have the time, refrigerate sunomono for about one hour before serving.
  10. Use a slotted spoon to drain off excess dressing before serving sunomono in small individual dishes.

Printer-Friendly Recipe.

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