Some people consider side dishes as mere accessories to a meal. But, in Asia, especially in Japanese and Korean cuisines, side dishes are integral to a meal. That means cooks spend as much time and effort on them as they do on main courses.
The ingredients are pantry staples. For the dressing, there’s rice vinegar, sugar, salt and soy sauce. There is only one vegetable that goes into the salad. Cucumber, of course. Japanese cucumber, to be more precise.
Japanese cucumber is slimmer than the more ubiquitous English cucumber. The flesh is firmer and less watery. And that makes it ideal for making this salad. The extra step of salting the cucumber slices to remove excess liquid gives the vegetable a wonderful springiness for better mouth feel.
Japanese Cucumber SaladRecipe by
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons white sugar
- ½ teaspoon rock salt
- ½ teaspoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
- Place the wakame in a bowl, pour in warm water and leave to rehydrate.
- Rinse the cucumber, pat dry, slice thinly (a mandoline slicer is useful), place in a bowl, add the salt and toss.
- After ten minutes, squeeze the wakame to remove the water then cut into one-inch lengths.
- Squeeze the cucumber slices and discard the soaking liquid.
- Stir together all the ingredients for the dressing (make sure the sugar and salt are fully dissolved).
- Place the cucumber slices and wakame in a bowl and drizzle the dressing over them.
- Add the sesame seeds, toss and serve.