This dish is something I often eat as an appetizer at Japanese restaurants and it always leaves me craving more! So I decided to make it at home. It has a nice and light vinegary smell to it, with great crunch.
This dish is called sunomono, and it’s a super simple salad made with cucumbers that you can just throw together right before a meal.
I keep everything for this recipe stocked in the pantry, so all I have to do is find some cucumbers and I’m good to go!
Types of cucumbers
The regular cucumbers you’ll find at most supermarkets just won’t work for this recipe–don’t do it! Those cukes are too large, the skin is too thick, and they’re loaded with seeds.
You want to go for Japanese cucumbers to do it right, otherwise Persian cucumbers do the trick. These varieties are crunchier, and have a thin skin you can just leave on. You won’t even need to remove the seeds, since they’re pretty much non-existant.
I find Japanese cucumbers at my local Japanese markets, otherwise Trader Joe’s works for the Persian variety.
Lots of American supermarkets have started to carry these in the last few years too, sometimes referred to as hot house cucumbers. To be honest I’m not sure if it’s a different variety or what, but they taste very similar and work great too.
How to slice cucumbers quickly
If you have a mandolin slicer with some cut-proof gloves you can make quick work of slicing these up. However, doing it by hand works just fine too.
Make a double batch and save a second batch for the next day’s meal! It’s much easier to double up than to redo the whole thing when you want it again. You’ll be glad you did :). Make sure to leave the dressing out on the side if you’re planning to serve it on another day though.
Sunomono Salad Recipe (Japanese Cucumber Salad)
- 2-3 Japanese cucumbers or 4 Persian cucumbers
- 3 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp sesame seeds
- Slice cucumbers thin
- Sprinkle with salt, wait 5 minutes, then squeeze cucumbers to remove water (don't be afraid!)
- Mix rice vinegar, sugar, soy sauce until dissolved, then add to cucumbers.
- Sprinkle with sesame seeds