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What is Japanese Cucumber Sunomono Salad?
This cold salad is what is called a “quick pickle. Food is submerged in a salted vinegar solution for immediate or fast consumption. Cucumbers and red onion are thinly sliced and tossed in this salad with sesame oil, rice vinegar, salt, and toasted black sesame seeds. The vinegar and salt act as the “pickling” agents breaking down the cucumbers and onions to bring out their natural sweetness to create a crisp crunch.
Do you peel cucumbers for cucumber salad?
This recipe uses Japanese cucumbers with very thin skin, so I prefer not to peel them. The skin gives the salad more texture and color. If you use Persian Cucumbers, English cucumbers, Hot House cucumbers, regular cucumbers, or any kind of cucumber, I would leave the skin on and make thin slices.
How to slice a cucumber for this salad.
I like to use a Japanese mandolin to slice the cucumber and red onion super thin. I prefer this tool over a food processor because I get perfectly uniform slices. However, you can use a very sharp knife as well. If you invest in a mandolin, I also highly recommend using it for these other delicious and simple salads; Persimmon Burrata Salad, Fresh Corn Salad, and Farro Beet Salad. You can pair these salads with your favorite grilled chicken or other protein, and they’ll be the star of your next dinner party or soiree!
What are the Japanese cucumber salad ingredients?
This Japanese cucumber salad dressing is amazingly simple because you use just a few ingredients! This salad combines sliced Japanese cucumbers and red onion, toasted sesame oil, rice vinegar, toasted sesame seeds, and kosher salt. Add a little chili crisp or chili flakes to make this Japanese cucumber salad spicy. This salad is naturally gluten-free and contains fantastic nutritional information of rich antioxidants and minerals because you eat all raw ingredients. I use similar ingredients in this Miso Brussels Sprouts salad that is a must for your weekly rotation. You can find Japanese cucumbersin most Asian markets, but if you cannot find this variety, English or Persian cucumbers are fantastic substitutes.Some people like removing the seeds from the cucumbers, but the seeds are practically unnoticeable if using a Japanese or Persian cucumber.
How do you make this Asian Cucumber Salad?
1. Use a Japanese mandolin or a sharp knife to slice the cucumbers into paper-thin rounds.
2. Place your red onion on the cutting board and lob off the blossom end.
3. Place the onion flat on the cutting board and cut directly through the root creating two halves.
4. Peel off the skin of both red onion halves and discard.
5. Place one half with the flat side on the board and cut it in half again, slicing directly through the root.
6. Lob off the root end of one-quarter of the onion. Take the remaining onion, place it in an airtight container, and reserve it for another use. (Note: keeping the onion in an airtight container helps prevent the smell from permeating the rest of your refrigerator.)
7. Place the quarter of the onion on the mandolin and slice into paper-thin paper pieces. Again, if you do not have a mandolin, try to slice the onion as thin as possible with your knife.
8. Place the sliced cucumber and onion in a large glass or stainless-steel mixing bowl.
9. Add the measured sesame oil, rice vinegar, black sesame seeds, and salt.
10. Use a large spoon to mix until well combined. Serve and enjoy.
How does adding salt to cucumbers affect their taste?
Salting cucumbers acts as a “cooking agent,” breaking down the cucumber to extract water content. I like to slice my cucumbers first, add them to a small bowl with salt, let them sit for twenty minutes, and then squeeze out the water before adding them to the rest of my salad ingredients. Don’t forget to discard the excess water before adding it to the salad. I also use this same salting cucumber technique in this delicious Cucumber Tomato Avocado Salad. The salt helps to bring out the vegetables’ natural sweetness and flavor.
What is the difference between a cucumber and a pickle?
A cucumber is a raw, untouched vegetable, while a pickle is a cucumber stored in a flavored brine solution of water, sugar, and vinegar to change its taste and texture.
- Nut/Seed Allergy: Use olive oil, avocado oil instead of sesame oil, and toasted coconut instead of sesame seeds.
- Vinegar: Use can use apple cider vinegar in place of rice vinegar.
Suggested Meal Pairings
Japanese Cucumber Salad Sunomono Recipe
- 1 Cutting board
- 1 Chef's Knive
- 1 Mandolin
- 1 Cut Resistant Glove for the Mandolin
- 1 Set of Stainless Steel Bowls
- 1 Measuring Spoon Set
- 1 Large Chef mixing Spoon
- 1 Wooden Salad Mixing
- 2 Japanese cucumbers, (English or Persian cucumbers will work as well, thinly sliced into rounds)
- ¼ red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 2.5 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 tbsp black sesame seeds, toasted
- 1/4 tsp Kosher salt
- Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
- Season to taste with salt.
- Using a mandolin to slice the cucumber thinly and red onion is the easiest and quickest way to get perfectly uniform, thinly sliced vegetables.
- I like to use a Japanese mandolin. It is one of my most prized and essential kitchen tools. I practically use it every day!
- You must be careful and methodical when using such a tool not to harm your fingers, as all mandolins are incredibly sharp.
- My advice is to work slowly and get comfortable with the tool.
- If you are uncomfortable using a mandolin, you can work with the same precision and care to achieve a similar result with a knife.
- It is instructed above to take the onion and lob off the blossom end. Then, place the onion on the flat side down and slice directly through the root. Place the one-half flat side down, and slice directly through the root again to make a quarter. You are using this one quarter for the salad and will slice off the root end of the quarter to slice it on the mandolin.
- However, the onion half and other quarter piece of onion still hold the root. Thus, keeping the root intact will hold all the layers and flavor together and help when cutting the onion for future use!
- I always keep toasted sesame seeds (black and white) in my pantry!! It saves you time, hassle, and fear of burning them in your toaster oven. You can usually find them pre-toasted in most Asian markets. Trust me; they are a complete game-changer for your panty!
So simple, and so delicious! I made this for a BBQ side and everyone loved it!
Thank you so much, I’m glad it was a success!
Made this for my kids on a busy week night and it has insta my become a fan favorite! So simple, so clean, so delish! Thank you!
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