Sea Vegetables/ Vegan Recipes

Japanese Cucumber and Wakame Seaweed Salad

Japanese wakame and cucumber salad

This simple preparation is typical of a sunomono, any of a variety of vinegary cold dishes served as part of Japanese meals. A sunomono ranges from quite vinegary and salty to mildly vinegared with a hint of sweetness. For this refreshing rendition, we’ll explore the latter. This is traditionally made with Japanese cucumber, or kyuri, but since these aren’t readily available in western markets, firm English cucumbers make a good substitute.

Serves: 4

  • 1/2 cup dried wakame seaweed
  • 1/2 medium hothouse (English) cucumber
  • Fine sea salt
  • 8 ounces soft or medium-firm tofu, very well blotted and diced, optional
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons natural granulated sugar (coconut sugar works well)
  • 2 teaspoons tan or black sesame seeds

Cover the wakame with hot water and set aside for 10 to 15 minutes.

Slice the cucumber very thin. Place in a colander and sprinkly evenly and lightly with salt. Let stand for 10 to 15 minutes, then using a clean tea towel, press gently against the bottom of the cucumber to drain any excess water from the cucumbers. Then, if you’d like, slice them into matchsticks

Drain the wakame thoroughly and combine in a serving bowl with the cucumbers and optional tofu.

Add the vinegar and sugar and mix well. Let stand for 30 minutes or so, to allow the cucumbers and sea vegetables to marinate. The longer you can let this stand, the better. Stir a few times as the mixture marinates.

Just before serving, you can drain off some of the liquid if you’d like. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, and serve.

Originally published in the Sept. 2014 issue of Vegetarian Times.

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