Seaweed with Cucumber and Daikon Ribbons
SEAWEED WITH CUCUMBER AND DAIKON RIBBONS Sunomono SERVES 6
Just as dried fish makes a popular Asian snack, so too does sea- weed, which lines the snack aisle of many Asian grocery stores. With sunomono, a distinctive Japanese dish, seaweed is reconstituted and mixed with ribbons of cucumber and daikon. Tossed with a sanbaizu dressing that is equal parts soy sauce, rice vinegar, and mirin, this sunomono salad is part of the izakaya repertoire.
In Japan, there is a seemingly endless array of seaweed, each with its own name and uses. Seaweed is harvested seasonally from the waters surrounding the Japanese archipelago, and the Japanese eat an enormous amount of this alkaline, nutrient-dense food, from nori (mainly used for sushi but also great out of the bag as a crunchy snack) and kanten (a.k.a. agar-agar, a vegetarian gelatin substitute) to kombu (perhaps the king of seaweeds, used for making umami-rich dashi). Wakame, used here, is a type of seaweed that is often found in soups and salads.
3 tablespoons dried wakame seaweed
½ large Japanese daikon, about 3 inches in diameter
3 medium Japanese or Persian cucumbers
2 teaspoons sea salt
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
3 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons mirin
Rehydrate the wakame by soaking the seaweed in a large bowl of water for about 1 hour. Use a vegetable peeler to peel and then create ribbons from both the daikon and the cucumbers, and place the ribbons in a medium bowl. Sprinkle the sea salt over the vegetables and let stand for a few minutes, so the salt can draw out the excess water.
In a separate bowl, mix together the rice vinegar, soy sauce, and mirin. Drain the rehydrated wakame and squeeze out the excess water. Drain off any accumulated water in the bowl of cucumbers and daikon and add the wakame. Pour the dressing over the vegetables and toss to mix. Serve at room temperature or chilled.