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


Kyuri to benibana no sunomono / Japanese cucumber and safflower in sweetened rice vinegar

A typical cucumber dish comes to life with the addition of bright safflower petals.


1 kyuri Japanese cucumber
1 tbsp dried safflower petals
Approx. 1 tsp salt (for cucumber prep; not in photo)

For sunomono dressing
2 tsp rice vinegar
1/2 tsp mirin
1/2 tsp usukuchi soy sauce
Generous pinch sugar (not in photo)


Sprinkle generous pinch of salt over cucumber, and roll with both hands on cutting board to get rid of spines on skin and brighten color.
Thinly slice, place in a bowl, sprinkle pinch of salt, and gently mix.
Let sit until water comes out, about 10 minutes.


Soak safflower petals.


Meanwhile, mix all ingredients for sunomono dressing, and set aside.


Squeeze out excess water from cucumber, and place in another bowl (or return to rinsed bowl).

Squeeze out excess water from safflower petals, place in cucumber bowl, and mix.


Pour sunomono vinegar dressing, mix, and serve.

  • Sunomono is a small side dish typically prepared with vegetables or seafood; it is dressed with rice vinegar, something salty (salt, soy sauce) and something sweet (sugar, mirin). The dressing often contains dashi to tone down the taste.
  • Rolling cucumbers in salt effectively removes the fine prickles on skin (a sign of freshness with many Japanese cucumber cultivars). The cucumber above was super fresh and its prickles were quite sharp. Rolling in salt also brightens the skin color. But I often skip the process when prickles do not bother me and if the cucumber will be thinly sliced.
  • Dried safflower petals are available at Chinese herbal medicine stores and some Mexican grocery stores.

No comments: