Sunomono is a traditional Japanese dish made with vegetables, usually cucumbers, soaked in vinegar. Vinegar is used in many Japanese dishes including tsukemono pickles and the ever popular Nanbantsuke.
Sunomono makes a wonderful appetizer or salad. The vinegar is good for your body and the dish is light and delicious. As long as you have some cucumber and vinegar in the refrigerator you are good to go with this dish. Serve it up on nice china and your guests will never realize what a simple dish this was to prepare.
Here are four different variations of sunomono. All of the recipes use the same vinegar sauce and start with the same basic ingredients, cucumber, wakame, Japanese ginger, and sesame seeds. If you do not have Japanese ginger, you can make it without, or substitute a small slice of lemon, some chopped shiso leaf, or other herbs to create your own unique flavor.
Although this recipe calls for Japanese cucumber to be used, any cucumber can be used in its place. Japanese cucumber is smaller around than typical American cucumbers, so when using American cucumbers you should use 1 cucumber for every two Japanese cucumbers, and cut the cucumber in half, lengthwise, before slicing.
The recipe also calls for rice vinegar, mirin (which is a Japanese sweetener), dashi-soy sauce, and wakame, which are all readily available at any Asian grocery store or online through Amazon. You can also make your own dashi-soy (see the notes below). As with many salad recipes, you can be as creative as you want and create your own amazing variations of sunomono.
Try this authentic Japanese dish out and let me know what you think in the comments section below. I’d love you to share any delicious variations that you come up with.
First posted in July 2021, reposted in August 2023.