Sunomono

Sunomono is a delicious and refreshing appetizer served in Japanese restaurants. Su (酢)is the Japanese word for vinegar, and mono (物) means “things”. Traditionally, sunomono is made with cucumbers and seaweed (also known as wakame), topped with sesame seeds and soaked in rice vinegar. Raw or cooked seafood can be added, as can any assortment of vegetables and herbs.

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).

Sunomono (酢の物)

The four recipes are Kyuri-su (cucumber sunomono), Tako-su (octopus sunomono), Kani-su (crab sunomono), and kaiso moriwase-su (mixed seafood sunomono).

When using other fish or seafood, I recommend using raw sashimi grade fish, but for those who do not care for raw fish, then steamed or smoked fish can be substituted.

PREP COOKING YIELD
45 Minutes 45 Minutes 4 Servings
PREP 45 Minutes
COOKING 45 Minutes
YIELD 4 Servings

Ingredients:

Sunomono Sauce

  • 1/4 cup  rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup mirin
  • 1/2 tsp granulated sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp dashi-soy sauce

Kyuri-Su (Cucumber)

Cucumber sunomono
Kyuri-su
  • 1 tsp granulated sea salt
  • 2 Japanese cucumbers (or 1 American cucumber)
  • 1 bulb myouga (Japanese ginger)
  • 2 TBSPs dried seaweed (wakame)
  • 1 TBSP white sesame seeds

Tako-Su (Octopus)

Octopus sunomono
Tako-su
  • Sunomono sauce
  • All ingredients for Kyuri-Su (above)
  • 50g chopped boiled octopus

Kani-su (Crab)

Crab sunomono
Kani-su
  • Sunomono sauce
  • All ingredients for Kyuri-Su (above)
  • 50g chopped crab meat (or imitation crab meat)

Kaiso Moriawase Su (Mixed Seafood)

Mixed seafood sunomono with shrimp, crab and octopus in a small salad bowl
Kaiso Moriawase-Su
  • Sunomono sauce
  • All ingredients for Kyuri-Su (above)
  • 50g chopped boiled octopus
  • 50g chopped crab meat (or imitation crab meat)
  • 12 uncooked sweet shrimp (sashimi grade)

Instructions:

  • Slice: Peel the cucumbers into a striped pattern and slice thinly
  • Leech: Place the cucumber in a mixing bowl, sprinkle with salt, mix lightly by hand and let rest for 30 minutes. Drain the water, rinse the salt off and blot with a paper towel to remove any water
  • Rehydrate: While waiting for the cucumber, add the dried wakame to two cups of hot water to reconstitute
  • Chop: Finely chop the myouga
  • Prepare salad: Prepare the salad by layering first the wakame and then the cucumber into for small bowls. Sprinkle myouga on top. For Kani-Su, Tako-Su, or Kaiso Moriawase-Su, lay the seafood on top. Pour the vinegar mix over each bowl. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve.

Notes:

  • If you don’t have dashi-soy sauce you can make your own.  Use 1 part Hon-dashi to 3 parts soy sauce.
  • If you cannot find myouga, use a small sliver of lemon or yuzu, chopped shiso, or some chopped mitsuba leaf to add flavor to the sunomono.
  • Uneaten sunomono should not be saved because it uses raw fish.

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