10 Mar 2017
Japanese cucumber salad is a very common refreshing side dish or appetizer. This dish is a palate cleanser more than anything else - wakame seaweed paired with thinly sliced cucumber and a thin slice of kumquat to make it interesting, served in a sweet rice vinegar dressing. It's a nice way to come off the rich steak course that preceded it.
You may be frustrated that the recipe for the sweet vinegar doesn't come with exact quantities. This is because quantities vary depending on the taste of the ingredients you're using, and I just eyeballed mine until I got a taste that I liked. In general, rice vinegar and sugar are the most prominent ingredients, the sugar balancing the strong sourness of the vinegar. Mirin is added sparingly to sweeten and neutralize a bit, soy sauce even more sparingly to add salt and depth, and dashi to neutralize even more if needed. This dressing will be best if you buy the best rice vinegar you can find; I haven't had much luck with the Marukan stuff.
For 4 servings.
1 1/2 Tbsp dried wakame seaweed
1 Persian cucumber, or Japanese if available
Sesame seeds, for garnish
Daikon sprouts, for garnish