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easy vegetarian recipes

Cucumber and Wakame Sunomono

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Sunomono (酢の物) is a Japanese salad made with really simple ingredients: rice vinegar and soy sauce. Based on the ratio between rice vinegar and soy sauce, you can tweak the recipe to make either a nibaizu (二倍ず) or sanbaizu (三杯酢). Nibaizu uses 3:2 ratio of rice vinegar and soy sauce, while sanbaizu uses 3:1 ratio of rice vinegar and soy sauce. These two are the easiest to remember, but there are other ratios to create different dressing, and other ingredients can be added as well, such as sugar (or mirin), katsuobushi, and sesame seeds.

Left: Sanbaizu dressing made with rice vinegar, soy sauce, and mirin; Center: thinly sliced English cucumber; Right: soaked wakame.

Left: Sanbaizu dressing made with rice vinegar, soy sauce, and mirin; Center: thinly sliced English cucumber; Right: soaked wakame.

I am going to make a really simple sunomono using two ingredients: english cucumber and wakame. For the dressing, I am going to use a basic sanbaizu plus mirin, so I will need 3 tablespoon rice vinegar, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, and 2 tablespoon mirin. First, mix all the dressing ingredients and heat over a low heat in a sauce pot for 5 minutes. Then let it cool. If you are fond of this dressing, you can make a bigger batch and keep it in the fridge. But I usually just make some whenever I crave for refreshing and light salad since this is a really simple dressing recipe.

Cucumber and Wakame Sunomono

Cucumber and Wakame Sunomono

You can either use Japanese cucumbers (about 5), or one English cucumber. I like making stripes pattern on my cucumber, so I peel away some of the skin, then thinly slice the whole thing. Place the cucumber in a mixing bowl and sprinkle with salt to draw out excess moisture, this makes the cucumber crunchier. Rinse and squeeze out as much water as possible. For the wakame, soak 2 tablespoon of dried wakame in plenty of cold water for 10 minutes, then rinse under cold running water and squeeze out as much water as possible. Place cucumber and wakame in a mixing bowl, pour the dressing and mix well. Then sprinkle with a bit of toasted sesame seeds and mix again. Divide into individual servings, and top with some slivers of gari (pickled ginger) for a pretty contrasting color. Done!

Cucumber and Wakame Sunomono

Cucumber and Wakame Sunomono

Cucumber and Wakame Sunomono

Courses:

Cuisine:

Prep Time: 15 mins

Cook Time: 5 mins

Total Time: 20 mins

Serves: 4

Ingredients

  • 1 english cucumber
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoon dried wakame
  • Dressing
  • 3 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoon mirin (or sugar)
  • Garnish
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon gari (pickled ginger)

Instructions

  1. For the cucumber: Peel away 4 strips from the cucumber to make stripes pattern. Cut into thin slices. Place the cucumber in a mixing bowl, sprinkle 1 teaspoon of salt, then gently massage into the cucumber. Let it rest for 5 minutes. Wash under running water, drain, and squeeze out as much water as possible.
  2. For the wakame: Soak dried wakame in plenty of cold water for 10 minutes. Drain in a colander/strainer, then pour some hot water, then rise again under cold running water. Squeeze out as much water as possible.
  3. For the dressing: Place rice vingar, soy sauce, and mirin (or sugar) in a small sauce pot and cook over low heat for 5 minutes. Let it cool.
  4. To assemble, place cucumber and wakame in a mixing bowl, pour the dressing, and mix well. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds, and mix again. Divide into 4 servings, and top each with some slivers of gari. Serve immediately.

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