I love this dish and often order it as an appetizer in Japanese restaurants. It leaves me wanting more! I made it at home so I could eat as much as I wanted without feeling guilty about asking for refills. Japanese Cucumber Sunomono Salad Recipe
This side dish is sunomono*. It has a light vinegary aroma and great crunch from the Japanese or Persian cucumbers. This salad is very simple and can be prepared right before you eat.
Everything I need for this recipe is kept in my pantry. All I need to do now is to find some cucumbers.
Different types of cucumbers
This recipe won’t work with the regular large cucumbers that you can find in most supermarkets. These cukes are too big, too thick, too loaded with seeds, too dry, and too hardy.
After trying these smaller, crunchier cucumbers, I have decided to give up on those.
To do it right, Japanese cucumbers are the best choice. Persian cucumbers work just as well. These cucumbers are more crunchy and have a thinner skin that you can leave on. Because they are virtually non-existent, you won’t need to remove them.
Japanese cucumbers are available at my local Japanese market, or Trader Joe’s for the Persian variety.
These cucumbers are now being sold in many American supermarkets. Although they are not the same variety, I don’t know if it is. They taste great and work well.
These other varieties are fine by me, as they offer organic cucumbers that may be more difficult to find at Asian supermarkets.
How to quickly slice cucumbers
Whatever method you choose, the ultimate goal is to get thin slices without using your fingers.
You can quickly slicing up these mandolin slices if you have some cut-proof gloves. It’s a hassle to wash the gloves, but it is worth it if you are making large batches. The cucumbers made with the mandolin slicer are beautiful and uniform.
Don’t forget your food processor. You can easily slice 8 cucumbers in less than a minute if your food processor has a thin slicer attachment with a feed tube.
I don’t shy away from cutting these byhand with a chef knife . But if you want to cut 300 of any item, it takes time to maintain consistency with the thickness. However, it is possible to cut the slices by hand using a knife. To keep the slices thin, make sure to use a sharp knife. You can also use a simple grater.
Tips for making cucumber salad
Double the recipe and keep one for the next day! It is much easier to make double batches than to do it all again when you need it. It will be a wise decision. If you plan to serve the dressing on another day, make sure to keep the dressing on the side. Once you are ready to serve, drizzle the dressing on top and then sprinkle with toasted sesame seed.
Check out my other pickle recipes
- Vietnamese do chua
- Filipino atchara
- Chinese cucumber salad.
- You can also use my Asian dressing if you prefer a traditional salad.
What is a Japanese cucumber?
Japanese cucumbers are shorter and thinner than the typical cucumbers that you find in American supermarkets. They are usually about 12 inches long, which is a little longer than Persian cucumbers but shorter than the large English cucumbers you often find wrapped in plastic wrap. Japanese cucumbers have the same green skin as other varieties.
The bumps are usually small and not prickly. They are mild in flavor and not bitter so you can use them as a salad ingredient or add dressing to your favorite salad.
Are Japanese cucumbers supposed to be peeled before being used?
The skins of Japanese cucumbers are thin and have a mild-sweet flavor. They don’t need to be peeled. You can create a visual effect by peeling some of the cucumber skin to expose the whiter interior. However, I prefer the look and it is very pleasant.
Japanese Cucumber Sunomono Salad Recipe
- 2-3 crunchy Japanese or Persian cucumbers
- 1/3 tsp salt to draw out moisture
- 3 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp sesame seeds
- Take all the cucumbers and slice them very thinly.
- Toss in salt with your hands.
- Drain the cucumbers and rinse them well to remove salt. Finally, squeeze the cucumbers to get rid of excess moisture. You want to get rid of as much the water as possible. You don't have to squeeze as hard as you can, cucumbers will take it!
- Combine the sugar, salt, and soy sauce in a bowl until it is well combined. Then add to the cucumbers.
- Sprinkle with sesame seed and serve.