This delightful salad comes to you via my mom-in-law, Annette, who’s traveled extensively and is a gifted cook, among other things. While living in Tokyo years ago, she learned to make wakame kyuri su – a simple, delicious salad of wakame seaweed and fresh cucumbers with a delicate sesame dressing.
I’m not normally super into seaweed so I was surprised to find that I could not stop eating it the first time she made it for us. The flavors are unusual and harmonious and the texture is this great mix of chewy and crispy that’s super oishi (that’s Japanese for “yummy”). It’s also surprisingly easy to make and ridiculously good for you – seaweed is packed with minerals and vitamins.
The ingredients are simple – cucumbers, dried wakame seaweed, rice vinegar, sesame seeds, sesame oil, sea salt and a little bit of honey or maple syrup.
Start by preparing the cucumbers. Slice or grate them (a mandolin would work very well here, too), then add a bunch of sea salt and toss to combine. Let them sit for a bit to draw the water out.
While you’re waiting for the cukes, make the sesame dressing to give the seeds a little time to soften and soak up a little flavor. Mix the oil, vinegar, sesame seeds and honey and shake to combine. Then set it aside.
Then it’s time to soak the dried seaweed in cold water.
It should not sit for very long (five minutes tops) or it will get soggy. Then give it a rinse in fresh water, squeeze it gently and let it drain.
Now it’s time to rinse the salt out of the cucumbers and give them a few gentle squeezes to get the water out of them.
Combine the drained seaweed with the drained cucumbers and toss with the sesame dressing. Taste it all and adjust the seasonings to your liking if need be. Itadakimasu!
Wakame Kyuri Su – Seaweed Cucumber Salad
* 2 medium-sized organic English cucumbers
* 1/4 cup dried wakame
* 2 Tbsps black or white sesame seeds
* 4 Tbsps organic toasted sesame oil
* 3 Tbsps organic rice vinegar
* 1 Tbsp sea salt
* 1 Tbsp honey or maple syrup
1. If you’re using organic cucumbers (you should!) wash them well. If you’re using conventional cukes, peel them, then cut off both ends and slice it thinly using a box grater or a mandolin. Put the cucumbers in a bowl and sprinkle them with a tablespoon of salt and mix well – the salt will draw the water out of the cucumbers. Let sit for 30 minutes.
2. Make the dressing: combine the oil, vinegar, sesame seeds and honey and stir or shake to combine then set it aside to sit and so the sesame seeds can soften while you work on the seaweed.
3. Place the seaweed in a bowl or mixing cup and cover with several inches of cold water and let sit for 5 minutes. Don’t let this go on too long or the seaweed will get soggy. Then rinse the seaweed in water and give it a gentle squeeze to wring out some of the water and let it drain.
4. Rinse the cucumbers in water to remove the salt then gently squeeze them in large handfuls to drain and let sit for a minute in a colander or sieve to drain fully. Combine the wakame with the cucumbers in a serving bowl and toss with the dressing. Taste it and adjust the seasonings, as needed. Chill for at least half an hour and serve. It will keep in the fridge for up to two days but you may want to squeeze a bit of water out of it before serving if you do so.
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