Sunomono (酢の物) literally means "vinegared thing" and refers to a Japanese cucumber salad, which is dressed with a sweet vinegar dressing. It's very easy to make from just a handful of common ingredients and makes for a nice contrast to other dishes in a meal with its crunchy texture and sweet and sour taste.

With crunchy cucumber and an oil-free sweet and sour dressing, sunomono is a quick Japanese salad made from just a handful of ingredients.

With the heat of summer descending upon Japan earlier this year, I’ve been craving fast, light food, and this Sunomono, along with a bowl of rice and miso soup has really been hitting the spot. To give it a bit more substance, I’ve added wakame and crab meat to my Sunomono, but it’s also pretty common to include other seafood such as octopus, shrimp, or fish cake. It’s also totally acceptable to leave the seafood out and roll with just cucumbers and wakame.

Wakame is a type of seaweed that usually comes either dried or salted. Depending on how it’s been preserved you’ll need to rehydrate it before using it. For the dried variety you can usually just soak it in the cold water and then wash it before using. For the salted variety, you’ll need to soak it in a few changes of water to remove the salt and rehydrate it.

Salted wakame seaweed before rehydrating for sunomono.

For the cucumber I like using Japanese cucumbers for their texture, vibrant colors, and lack of seeds, but if you can’t find Japanese cucumbers, Persian (a.k.a. Lebanese) Cucumbers, will work as well. If you can’t find those either, Hothouse (a.k.a. English) Cucumbers will work, but you’ll want to cut it in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds, before you slice it.

By salting and squeezing excess liquid from the cucumbers, it not only prevents the salad from getting watery, it changes their texture, giving the sunomono a sonorous crunch with every bite.

Sunomono is an easy Japanese side dish made from cucumbers, seaweed and an oil-free sweet and sour vinaigrette.

Sunomono is usually served as a side dish in a small kobachi bowl along with several other sides such as hijiki, kinpira, and goma-ae, but it can also work well as a stand-alone salad. While not traditional, I’ve also found that sunomono makes for a great topping for a bowl of chilled noodles, such as sōmen or udon.

For another delicious Japanese cucumber salad that’s dressed with sesame and miso, and served over rice, check out my Hiyashijiru recipe.

Sunomono (Japanese Cucumber Salad)With the heat of summer descending upon Japan earlier this year, I’ve been craving fast, light food, and this Sunomono, along with a bowl of rice and miso soup has really been hitting the spot. To give it a bit more substance, I’ve added wakame and crab meat to my Sunomono, but it’s also pretty … Continue reading “Sunomono (Japanese Cucumber Salad)”

Summary

  • CourseSalad
  • CuisineJapanese
  • Yield4 small servings
  • Cooking Time0 minutes
  • Preperation Time5 minutes
  • Total Time15 minutes

Ingredients

260 grams
Japanese Cucumbers (~2 cucumbers)
1/2 teaspoon
salt
45 grams
wakame
2 tablespoons
rice vinegar
1 tablespoon
sugar
1/4 teaspoon
salt
4 pieces
crab meat (optional for garnish)
1 teaspoon
toasted sesame seeds (for garnish)

Steps

  1. To make sunomono, salt the cucumbers to improve their texture and taste.
    Slice the cucumbers as thinly as possible and then add the 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Toss to coat evenly and then let the cucumbers rest for 5-10 minutes.
  2. Rehydrated wakame seaweed for sunomono.
    Rehydrate the wakame according to the package directions and chop into bite-size pieces.
  3. The salt makes the cucumbers release water, making them crunchy instead of crisp.
    Once the cucumbers start sweating liquid, you can massage them with you hand to speed up the process. When the cucumbers become translucent they are ready to be squeezed.
  4. Grab the cucumbers with your hands and squeeze as much water from them as you can.
  5. Make the vinaigrette for sunomono with rice vinegar, sugar and salt.

    In a non-reactive bowl, whisk together the rice vinegar, sugar and salt until the solids are dissolved.

  6. Stir the sunomono together before serving.
    Add the squeezed cucumber, and wakame to the vinegar mixture and toss everything together to coat.
  7. Serve the sunomono in small kobachi bowls, and garnish with crab meat and toasted sesame seeds.