Monday, September 3, 2012

Sunomono - sweet and sour cucumber salad

This has been a family favorite for a long time.  We first tasted it in Szechuan restaurants in Hong Kong.  A very small dish of it would be served along with deep fried peanuts and kimchee as an appetizer before your food arrived.  As soon as you sat down you would be given some of these things, like chips in a Mexican restaurant.  

The Complete Asian CookbookMy recipe is my own, as I can find none like it.  But I think I got my original idea form the Complete Asian Cookbook by Charmaine Solomon, which is my all time favorite Asian cookbook.  I got the book on a sale table at Swindon Book Co. in Hong Kong, one of my absolute favorite bookstores.  It's still located at 13-14 Lock Road, Tsimshtsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong. When I would be going to have lunch in Hong Kong with Riley we would often meet at Swindon's.  Then in Portland when there was a very lovely bookstore called Scribner's in Pioneer Place we would say we would meet for lunch at Swindon's and we always knew that we meant Scribner's.


a cucumber, peeled, seeded and quartered lengthwise.

Take the strips, hold them together and cut them in quarter inch pieces by cutting on the diagonal.  Don't make thin slices, as that makes the salad all wibbly wobbly, and you want a nice cucumber crunch.

rice wine vinegar
salt and pepper

These last ingredients make the dressing.  The best thing is to make it to your own taste.  It's meant to be sweet, but not too sweet.  It's meant to be sour, but not too sour.  You need a pinch of salt, and a dash or two of pepper is always nice.  The salad tastes best if made fairly soon before serving.

You can add any extra ingredient you like to this salad.  I think that for my children the simplicity worked very well.  But for complexity you can add radishes, seaweed, sesames, bell pepper, scallions, ginger, etc, etc.