Wakame Cucumber Salad

Chuka wakame, or seaweed salad, is a must-have appetizer for me whenever I get sushi. Typically strands of wakame seaweed are mixed with very thin slices of cucumber and a dressing of vinegar, soy sauce, sugar and chili flakes. It’s delicious, though difficult to replicate at home. But since seaweed is rumored to be incredibly good for you, here’s a variation that’s worth a try.

[Prep: 25min / Cook: –]

Ingredients

– 1/4 cup dried wakame seaweed
– 1 large cucumber
– 1/2 cup edamame (soy beans)
– a few sprigs of fresh coriander
– 2 Tbs white vinegar
– 1 tsp sugar (white or brown)
– dash of ground ginger
– dash of garlic powder
– 1 Tbs sesame oil
– sesame seeds

Steps
  1. In a small bowl or cup, cover the dried wakame with cold water and let sit.
  2. Meanwhile, rinse the cucumber and cut into thin slices and chop the coriander.
  3. Put the cucumber slices and seaweed into a clean cloth or paper towel and ring out as much water as possible. Transfer to a big bowl with the soy beans and coriander.
  4. In a separate bowl, mix the sugar into the vinegar until the sugar basically dissolves. Stir in the ginger and garlic powder.
  5. Top the cucumber and seaweed with the vinegar mixture, sesame oil and a sprinkling of sesame seeds. Mix through the salad.
  6. Ready to eat!

[Serves 2]

Recipe adapted from Teriyaki and Coriander Salmon with Cucumber Salad,
Waitrose Kitchen September 2012
Variations
  • Spice it up if you dare by adding a sprinkling of chili flakes on top, a touch of chili to the vinegar mixture or by mixing in thinly sliced red chili
  • For an interesting change of pace, you can use a few broken-up sheets of nori (dried seaweed) instead of wakame
  • Add a smattering of rice or quinoa and up the proportion of soy beans to make this a full vegetarian main rather than a side dish
Notes
  • Where on earth do you get wakame? Well, I get these cute bags of dried wakame in the Chinese/Asian supermarket. If you don’t have easy access to one, take a look in the Asian or Japanese area of the international foods section at your grocery store.
  • As always, you can use fresh chopped garlic and ginger instead of the powdered form. If you chose to use fresh, mix it in directly with the seaweed and cucumber rather than in the dressing.
  • I recently read that a secret to achieving thinly sliced vegetables is to run the vegetable along the slicer in the middle of a cheese grater. Worth a try if you have one.
  • If you want to be fancy and have time to spare, the original recipe I based this on calls for placing the cucumber slices in a colander, coating it in salt and waiting 1-2 hours before you wring out the water. This process allows the salt to draw more water out of the cucumber and subtly changes the texture of the cucumber.
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