All recipes are for 2 servings unless noted. Oil is canola oil and salt is kosher salt.


Kyuri to gyuniku no sarada / Japanese cucumber and beef salad

Sweet and spicy, a light salad with beef.


200g (large handful) thin sliced beef (for sukiyaki or shabu shabu)
1-2 Japanese cucumber
1-2 tsp salt (not in photo)
1-2 tbsp sake (not in photo)

For dressing
3 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp rice vinegar
1 1/2 tbsp sugar
1/2-1 tsp tobanjan chili bean paste
1 green onion


In a medium-size bowl, mix all ingredients for dressing. Set aside.


Cook beef.
Bring 3-4 cups of water to boil, and add sake.

Put each slice in boiling water, and immediately remove when color changes.

Cool on flat strainer or plate.


In the meantime, prepare cucumber.
Sprinkle generous amount of salt on cucumber, and rub against cutting board.

Rinse both cucumber and cutting board.

 Pound cucumber with rolling pin or pestle.
Don't worry if cucumber is crushed. This helps it to absorb the flavor of dressing.

Cut into 3-4cm pieces.


Thinly slice green onion.


When beef cools down, put beef, cucumber and green onion in the dressing bowl, and mix well.

  • Thin sliced beef is available at Asian grocery stores.
  • Beef with fatty parts gives a tender texture. Most of the fat will be eliminated during boiling in Process 3. 
  • Putting sake in boiling water is to improve aroma. Dry white wine can substitute for sake.
  • If tobanjan is not available, any spicy chili sauce works fine.
  • Sprinkling salt over cucumber and rolling against cutting board removes the waxy surface and brightens the green color of skin, reduces the bitterness of skin and helps absorb flavor while adding some saltiness.

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