This Japanese starter, combining rehydrated seaweed and cucumber, really didn't sound very appetising but it was surprisingly tasty. Each individual ingredient separately wasn't particularly nice - the seaweed had a pungent fishy taste like anchovies, the cucumber strips were salty and the vinegar sauce was very acidic - but they all come together in perfect harmony. The star ingredient that really makes the dish is the surprising Ume Plum Sesame Seeds that add a lovely nutty topnote.
Kyuri No Sunomono
4g (half a jar) of dried Wakame seaweed
2tbsp Ume Plum Sesame Seeds
100ml rice vinegar (I used white wine vinegar)
1tbsp soy sauce
This month's Japanese-themed Kitchen Trotter box included a jar of dehydrated Wakame Seaweed.
It looks a bit like tea leaves when you put it in a bowl, but it has a very strong fishy smell, reminiscent of the sea.
Add cold water and leave for 10 minutes to rehydrate. It will double or even triple in size so a little goes a long way. Drain and squeeze out as much water as possible.
Peel and thinly slice the cucumber into strips. Lay out on a plate and sprinkle with salt, then leave for 20 minutes, to remove excess water. Rinse thoroughly to remove as much salt as possible (but they will stay quite salty). They should go quite soft and ploppy. Carefully squeeze out excess water with kitchen roll or a clean tea towel.
Combine the vinegar, sugar and soy sauce to create a dressing. Stir until the sugar has totally dissolved.
Put the cucumber strips in the bottom of individual ramekins, put a dollop of seaweed on top, drizzle with the vinegar dressing and sprinkle generously with Ume Plum Sesame Seeds.
It's a surprising blend of flavours that creates a light, refreshing and undoubtedly healthy starter.
Fancy trying some other Japanese dishes? How about Horenso No Shira-aé and Kamo No Teriyaki & Yakisoba (Teriyaki Duck with Soba Noodles)?