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


Kyuri to hanaho no sunomono / Japanese cucumber and perilla flowers in sweetened rice vinegar

The softly refreshing taste and aroma of pink shiso flowers add a pleasant touch to this standard kyuri dish.


1 kyuri Japanese cucumber
Several shiso perilla flower spikes
Salt (to roll cucumber and sprinkle on sliced cucumber; 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 salt on cucumber, and roll with fingers of both hands against cutting board.
Rinse off salt, thinly slice cucumber, place in a bowl, sprinkle salt, and gently mix. 


If perilla spikes come with leaves, cut lengthwise into two or three (2-3 cm wide strips), and thinly slice crosswise.
Remove perilla flowers from spikes and set aside.
Add perilla leaves to cucumber,  and gently mix. Let sit until water comes out of cucumber, at least 10 minutes.
Squeeze out extra water from cucumber and perilla leaves, and place in another (or rinsed) bowl.


Meanwhile, mix all ingredients for sunomono dressing.


Immediately before serving, add perilla flowers, and mix.

Add sunomono dressing, and gently mix.

  • Hanaho are perilla flowers, usually pink ones. They are often used as a garnish for sashimi at restaurants.
  • The color of perilla flowers darkens after 10-20 minutes when salted; therefore, they are added at the very end. The flowers also take on the brown hue of soy sauce if marinated; add them at the last minute before serving.
  • Sunomono means a dish with rice vinegar dressing.

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