Some weeks I get stuck in a salad rut. I rely on the same tired ‘ole veggies on the bottom shelf until they’re almost as tired of me as I am of them. And then… I remember rice vinegar. This is a traditional Japanese quick-pickled cucumber salad. You can get as crazy as you want with the recipe. Craving some heat? Add in some ginger juice or diced chilis. Looking for more color? Add rainbow carrots, red bell peppers, radish slices, maybe even try some cabbage. Whatever veggies you use, be sure to slice as thinly as possible.
1 cucumber (Persian or Japanese cucumbers are better, but an English cucumber will work as well)
1/4 tsp sea salt
3 Tbsp rice vinegar
1 Tbsp mirin (or sugar)
1/4 tsp shoyu (soy sauce)
1 tsp black (or white) sesame seeds, toasted
Rainbow carrots (or other veggies of choice), optional
1. Thinly slice cucumbers and carrots (if using). Add salt, stir to combine and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Then, squeeze all the liquid from the veggies, and set aside.
2. In a small bowl, mix the rice vinegar, mirin and shoyu together. Stir to combine. If using sugar, mix until all the sugar has dissolved. Taste, and adjust seasonings as desired. Be sure to adjust seasonings as there is quite the variety of shoyu and vinegar available.
3. Add vinegar mixture to cucumbers and carrots and mix well. Stir in sesame seeds. Eat immediately, or store, covered in the fridge for your next salad adventure.
If you have leftover dressing, store it in a jar in the fridge. Use it to dress your next salad, add a dash to steaming veggies, use it to season rice or quinoa. Go crazy with it.
Soundtrack: Storm. Yoshida Brothers