There are some cuisines that most of us only experience when we go out to eat, perhaps imagining that they are thorny to attempt at home. One of them seems to be Japanese food. Even sushi aside, it just seems like it might be complicated or difficult or that the ingredients will be hard to find. This simple cucumber salad will let you dip a toe into this cuisine.
This salad is as easy a salad can be – sliced cucumbers plus a dressing. It just draws upon some ingredients common in Japanese – and other Asian – cooking.
Sesame Oil and Sesame Seeds
Sesame is a very common flavor in many Asian cuisines, Japanese amongst them. Toasted sesame seeds are a common and delicious way to finish a dish with a bit of extra flavor and crunch, not to mention visual appeal. Sesame oil adds wonderful toasty flavor to dishes, though it should be used sparingly as it can be quite potent. Keep sesame oil in the fridge, especially after you open the bottle, as it can start to turn rancid at warmer temperatures.
This is a lower-alcohol version of rice wine, with a bit of sweetness. It’s great in dressings.
This Japanese horseradish paste is often blended into soy sauce and used as a dipping sauce for sushi, but it can add heat to dressings and sauces. Sometimes it is sold powdered, and you need to add a bit of water to turn it into a paste.
This clean fresh salad is the perfect simple side for any Asian meal – and takes less than 10 minutes to make.Tweet This
There are many other Japanese ingredients worth exploring, but this is a great start. Sometimes you just need a light and crunchy salad as part of an Asian meal – this is a 10 minute perfect answer. (Also check out one of our all time favorites: Japanese Restaurant Salad Dressing.)
What to Serve with Japanese Cucumber Salad:
- Japanese Meatballs with Ponzu Glaze
- Mongolian Beef
- Teriyaki Chicken and Beef Skewers
- Angel Hair “Ramen” with Shiitake Mushrooms, Tofu, Baby Bok Choy, and Scallions
- Tonkatsu-Style Cutlets
- Chicken Yakitori
Other Cucumber Salad Recipes:
- Thai Cucumber Salad
- Tomato, Avocado and Cucumber Salad
- Pork Schnitzel with Quick Pickley Cucumber Salad
- Greek Tomato and Cucumber Salad
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Japanese Cucumber Salad
- 1 tablespoon unseasoned rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon mirin a type of rice wine; optional
- ½ teaspoon wasabi paste
- ½ teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- 2 scallions white and green parts, trimmed and very thinly sliced
- 8 Persian or baby cucumbers thinly sliced
- Toasted sesame seeds to garnish, white or black; optional
- In a medium bowl mix together the rice vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, salt, mirin (if using) wasabi paste, sesame oil and scallions. Add the cucumbers to the dressing, and toss to coat.
- Transfer to a shallow serving bowl and serve topped with nori, sesame seeds and pickled ginger slices, if desired.
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