Refreshing Japanese Cucumber Salad (Sunomono)

Dive into the refreshing world of Japanese cuisine with this simple yet delicious cucumber salad, known as Sunomono. It’s a light, tangy dish that combines the crispness of cucumbers with a flavorful dressing. Perfect as a side dish or a palate cleanser between meals.


  • A handful of roasted peanuts (or toasted sesame seeds for a traditional touch)
  • Soy sauce (Tamari for a richer flavor)
  • Rice wine vinegar (or rice vinegar for a gentler tang; apple cider vinegar works too)
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely minced
  • A dash of chili oil for a spicy kick
  • A drizzle of sesame oil for depth
  • A sprinkle of sugar to balance the acidity
  • A pinch of red pepper flakes for heat
  • Fresh cilantro leaves, chopped (optional, skip if you’re not a fan)
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  1. Prepare the Cucumbers:
    • Thinly slice the cucumbers. If you have a mandoline slicer, it’s perfect for getting those paper-thin slices. Otherwise, a sharp knife will do just fine.
  2. Make the Dressing:
    • In a small bowl, combine soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, minced garlic, chili oil, sesame oil, and sugar. Mix well until the sugar is dissolved. Adjust the flavors according to your taste, adding more soy sauce for saltiness or sugar for sweetness.
  3. Combine and Chill:
    • Toss the cucumber slices in the dressing until they are well coated. Let the salad chill in the refrigerator for about 15-30 minutes. This allows the cucumbers to marinate and soak up all the delicious flavors.
  4. Garnish and Serve:
    • Just before serving, sprinkle the salad with roasted peanuts (or toasted sesame seeds) and red pepper flakes for an extra crunch and a bit of heat. If you’re using cilantro, scatter it over the top as a fresh garnish.

Enjoy your Japanese Cucumber Salad as a refreshing start to your meal or as a light snack on a warm day. It’s a versatile dish that pairs wonderfully with both traditional Japanese meals and modern dishes alike.