Daikon and Cucumber Sunomono Salad

Japanese Cucumber and Daikon Sunomono Salad. Eiichi Onodero/Emi Kimata/Getty Images
    25 min

Japanese cuisine has many different types of salads, but one of the most traditional is known as "sunomono", which is a salad simply seasoned with rice vinegar, salt, and sugar. While the salad can be made with almost any type of vegetable, one of the most common ingredients is cucumber. In general, sunomono is best made with Japanese cucumber, however, substitutions may include Persian cucumber, baby cucumbers, or English cucumbers.

As far as vegetable combinations for sunomono, the following are some popular pairings (links to recipes are provided where available):

  • cucumber and wakame (sea kelp)
  • cucumber and carrot
  • cucumber and persimmon fruit
  • cucumber and shirasu (baby anchovy fish)
  • daikon radish and carrot
  • daikon and chili peppers

The daikon and cucumber sunomono salad presented in this article is quite traditional, since Japanese daikon radish is often used in sunomono, but often it is the main ingredient in sunomono, one example is this recipe for spicy, tangy and sweet daikon sunomono available on the About.com Japanese food blog here. 

Sunomono salad is often served as a side dish, or one of many okazu dishes in a typical Japanese meal. It may also be served as an appetizer. The salad may be served in very small portions in individual dishes, or it may be served in a large bowl, "family style".

While sunomono may be served immediately, I recommend chilling it first, for a very refreshing dish. This recipe may be made ahead, up to a day before and chilled in the refrigerator. The salad is quite refreshing when chilled, especially when served during warmer summer months.

Article Edited by Judy Ung

What You'll Need

  • 1 small piece daikon radish, peeled and thinly sliced into half or quarter rounds
  • 1 small cucumber, thinly sliced into rounds
  • 5 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt

How to Make It

  1. Remove external skin and hair of daikon radish, and thinly slice.
  2. Slice cucumber thinly.
  3. Put cucumber and daikon slices in a large bowl and sprinkle with salt. Allow the vegetables to sweat for about 5-10 minutes. You'll notice excess liquid form at the bottom of the bowl.
  4. Wash off the daikon and cucumber slices, then drain through a strainer. Lightly squeeze the vegetables to remove any excess liquid and put in a clean bowl.
  5. In a separate small bowl, mix rice vinegar and sugar together until incorporated well.
  6. Pour the vinegar mixture over the cucumber and daikon slices. Allow the flavors to meld by setting aside for about 15 minutes.
  7. Serve into individual dishes or a large bowl. Alternatively, chill the salad for 30 minutes or until cold.