Sunomono (Japanese Cucumber Salad) 酢の物

Jump to Recipe Discussion
  • Need some cucumber inspiration? Try Sunomono or Japanese Cucumber Salad 4 ways! Marinated in vinegar, sugar, salt and soy sauce, this sweet & sour cucumber salad makes a perfect side dish. It’s light, healthy and incredibly refreshing! 

    Sunomono (Japanese Cucumber Salad) 4 ways (classic, octopus, baby anchovies, or crab).

    When cucumbers are at their peak in gardens and markets, we often find a few lingering around at the kitchen counter. If you are in need of some cucumber inspiration today, I hope you try this refreshing Japanese Cucumber Salad called Sunomono (酢の物). This is one of the most popular appetizers at the dinner tables in Japan, and it’s simple and very easy to prepare in a short time.

    Watch How to Make Sunomono (Japanese Cucumber Salad)

    Need some cucumber inspiration? Try Sunomono or Japanese Cucumber Salad 4 ways! Marinated in vinegar, sugar, salt and soy sauce, this sweet & sour cucumber salad makes a perfect side dish.

    What is Sunomono (酢の物)?

    Sunomono refers to vinegar-based dishes, and they are commonly served as a side dish to the main meal. ”Su (酢)” means vinegar in Japanese. These light refreshing vinegar salads are a great start to any meal as the sourness from the vinegar helps whet your appetite. 

    When we mention “sunomono”, it typically refers to Japanese cucumber salad. During the heat of summer and our bodies naturally gravitate towards ‘cooling’ food, this cucumber salad makes a wonderful seasonal side dish especially for grilled fish or meat.  Besides the fact that it’s so easy to whip up, the salad is tangy, crunchy and its health benefits are good enough reasons to enjoy on a weekly basis. 

    Sunomono (Japanese Cucumber Salad) 4 ways (classic, octopus, baby anchovies, or crab).

    Sunomono (Japanese Cucumber Salad) Variations

    We have a large variety of appetizers using vinegar and cucumber. Here are some examples:

    Today I’m making 4 variations with this recipe.

    • Classic (cucumber and wakame seaweed)
    • Cucumber salad with crab (I am allergic to crab, so I use imitation crab meat)
    • Cucumber salad with boiled octopus (you can get “octopus sashimi” in Japanese grocery store)
    • Cucumber salad with boiled salted baby anchovies

    Sunomono (Japanese Cucumber Salad) 4 ways (classic, octopus, baby anchovies, or crab).

    3 Tips to Make Delicious Sunomono (Japanese Cucumber Salad)

    1. Pick the right kind of cucumber

    Japanese Cucumber

    There are a lot of different kinds of cucumbers out there, but I like using Japanese cucumbers for their crunchiness and seedless texture. If you couldn’t find Japanese cucumber, you can use English or Persian cucumbers, but I don’t recommend regular (American) cucumbers as they have big seeds and too watery.

    2. Salt the cucumber

    For this salad recipe, salting the cucumber is an important step. It helps to remove excess liquid from the cucumber, which in turn yields a great crunch for the salad. 

    3. Add layers to cucumber salad

    I often add in wakame seaweed to cucumber salad for another layer of texture and for its beneficial nutrients. To top it off, you can garnish with toasted sesame seeds to give the salad extra fragrance and crunch. Of course, you’re always welcome to toss in other ingredients to the classic sunomono recipe, for additional color, nutrients, and textures.

    Dressed in nothing more but a simple combination of rice vinegar, sugar, salt, and soy sauce, the flavor of Sunomono is the perfect balance of sweet and sour. 

    Sunomono (Japanese Cucumber Salad) 4 ways (classic, octopus, baby anchovies, or crab).

    Don’t want to miss a recipe? Sign up for the FREE Just One Cookbook newsletter delivered to your inbox! And stay in touch on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram for all the latest updates. Thank you so much for reading, and till next time!

    5 from 1 vote
    Sunomono (Japanese Cucumber Salad) 4 ways (classic, octopus, baby anchovies, or crab).
    Sunomono (Japanese Cucumber Salad)
    Prep Time
    15 mins
    Total Time
    15 mins
     

    Need some cucumber inspiration? Try Sunomono or Japanese Cucumber Salad in 4 ways! Marinated in vinegar, sugar, salt and soy sauce, this sweet & sour cucumber salad makes a perfect side dish. It's light, healthy and incredibly refreshing!

    Course: Salad, Side Dish
    Cuisine: Japanese
    Keyword: cucumber salad, sunomono, wakame
    Servings: 4
    Ingredients
    Seasoning
    Variations (each ingredient is added to the recipe above)
    Instructions
    1. Gather all the ingredients.
      Sunomono Ingredients
    Make the Seasonings
    1. In a bowl, combine 4 Tbsp rice vinegar, 2 Tbsp granulated sugar, ½ tsp kosher salt, and ½ tsp soy sauce. Whisk well together. If the vinegar taste is too strong, you can dilute with a very small amount of dashi (or water).

      Sunomono 1
    Make Sunomono
    1. Soak 1 Tbsp dried wakame seaweed in water and let it rehydrate for 10 minutes.
      Sunomono 2
    2. Peel the cucumbers’ skin alternately to create stripes. Then slice them thinly into rounds.
      Sunomono 3
    3. Sprinkle ½ tsp kosher salt and gently rub them against each other. Set aside for 5 minutes. Salt helps drawing liquid from cucumber (so that the liquid from cucumber will not be released after mixing with seasoning).

      Sunomono 4
    4. Squeeze water out from wakame seaweed and cucumber. Add them into the bowl with seasoning and coat well. 

      Sunomono 5
    Variation 1 - Classic:
    1. Serve in an individual bowls or a large serving bowl. Sprinkle sesame seeds on top and it's ready to serve. Enjoy!

      Sunomono 6
    Variation 2 – with Imitation Crab:
    1. Cut 4 sticks of imitation crab into thirds and combine with cucumber and wakame seaweed mixture (from Step 4). 

      Sunomono 7
    Variation 3 – with Boiled Octopus:
    1. Slice the octopus thinly and combine with cucumber and wakame seaweed mixture (from Step 4).

      Sunomono 8
    Variation 4 – with Boiled Salted Baby Anchovies (shirasu):
    1. Combine shirasu with cucumber and wakame seaweed mixture (from Step 4).

      Sunomono 9
    To serve
    1. Serve in an individual bowls or a large serving bowl. Sprinkle sesame seeds on top and it's ready to serve. Enjoy!

      Sunomono 10
    Recipe Notes

    Recipe by Namiko Chen of Just One Cookbook. All images and content on this site are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission. If you’d like to share this recipe on your site, please re-write the recipe in your own words and link to this post as the original source. Thank you.

    Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on February 23, 2012.  The post has been updated in July, 2018 with a video and newly updated images.

    You Might Also Like...

  • Just One Cookbook: Essential Japanese Recipes

    Love Our Recipes?

    Leave A Comment

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    What type of comment do you have?

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

    Discussion

  • chinmayie @ love food eat wrote:
  • Medeja wrote:
  • Family Meals and Cooking Tips wrote:
  • Sissi wrote:
  • Sonia aka Nasi Lemak Lover wrote:
  • Debs @ The Spanish Wok wrote:
    • Nami wrote:
  • Belinda @zomppa wrote:
  • Tes wrote:
  • Mai wrote:
  • Ramona wrote:
  • Liz wrote:
  • kat wrote:
  • Tobias @ T and Tea Cake wrote:
  • Helene Dsouza I Masala Herb wrote:
  • Jeannie wrote:
  • Nancy/SpicieFoodie wrote:
  • [email protected] Journal wrote:
  • Maureen wrote:
  • A_Boleyn wrote:
  • PolaM wrote:
  • Cassie wrote:
  • daphne wrote:
  • Eri wrote:
  • Kath (My Funny Little Life) wrote:
  • Asmita wrote:
  • Cucina49 wrote:
  • Mr. Three-Cookies wrote:
  • Biana – Meal Planning Tips wrote:
  • Christy wrote:
  • tigerfish wrote:
  • Happy When Not Hungry wrote:
  • Fern @ To Food with Love wrote:
  • Hyosun Ro wrote:
  • Sandra wrote:
  • Mel wrote:
  • Sandra’s Easy Cooking wrote:
  • Alyssa wrote:
  • Yi @ Yi Resevation wrote:
  • Lillian wrote:
  • Pure Complex wrote:
  • Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella wrote:
  • mycookinghut wrote:
  • Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking wrote:
  • Luciana wrote:
  • Sarah @ Homestyle Cooking Around The World wrote:
  • Katherine Martinelli wrote:
  • Roxana Greengirl {A little bit of everything} wrote:
  • Reem | Simply Reem wrote:
  • Caroline wrote:
  • Valerie Brunmeier wrote:
  • Charles wrote:
  • Vijitha wrote:
  • Farwin @ Loveandotherspices wrote:
  • Claudia wrote:
  • Yue wrote:
  • Kiran @ KiranTarun.com wrote:
  • A Little Yumminess wrote:
  • Stephanie @ Eat. Drink. Love. wrote:
  • Raymund wrote:
  • Hotly Spiced wrote:
  • Jenny wrote:
  • easyfoodsmith wrote:
  • Norma Chang wrote:
  • rebecca wrote:
  • Kankana wrote:
  • [email protected] and Donuts wrote:
  • Carolyn Jung wrote:
  • Swee San @ TheSweetSpot wrote:
    • Nami wrote:
  • jack wrote:
  • Jeno @ Week Nite Meals wrote:
  • Grubarazzi (@Grubarazzi) wrote:
  • Jean (Lemons and Anchovies) wrote:
  • Lilly wrote:
  • Evelyn wrote:
  • Julie at Burnt Carrots wrote:
  • Food Jaunts wrote:
  • Pauline wrote:
  • Magic of Spice wrote:
  • Laura (Tutti Dolci) wrote:
  • Liz wrote:
  • Susan Wenzel wrote:
  • isea wrote:
    • Nami wrote:
  • bianca wrote:
    • Nami wrote:
  • Carl A Kaplan wrote:
  • Barbara wrote:
    • Nami wrote:
  • T wrote:
    • Nami wrote:
  • Sandra wrote: