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


Kyuri to nagaimo no shoga-amazu-ae / Japanese cucumber and Chinese yam in ginger-flavored sweetened vinegar

A small, refreshing, pickle-like dish. Ginger gives a spicy punch to the sweetened vinegar dressing.

1/2 of recipe:
25 calories; 0.8 g protein; 0.1 g fat; 4.8 g carbohydrate; 4.2 g net carbs; 21 mg sodium; 0 mg cholesterol; 0.6 g fiber


1/2 kyuri Japanese cucumber (70 g in photo)
1.5-2 cm nagaimo Chinese yam (40 g in photo)
Pinch salt (max. 0.3 g; not in photo)

For shoga-amazu ginger-flavored sweetened vinegar dressing
2 tsp rice vinegar (kelp infused)
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp sugar
1 small knob ginger


Thinly slice kyuri, and sprinkle salt.

Mix well. 
Let sit for 10 minutes.


Meanwhile, grate ginger.
Mix rice vinegar, lemon juice and sugar.

Squeeze in ginger juice.
Mix well.   


Cut nagaimo into four, and thinly slice (in size that matches cucumber slices).


Squeeze out excess water from cucumber, and place in another (or cleaned) bowl.
Add nagaimo and shoga-amazu dressing, and mix well.

  • This is also good with kyuri alone or nagaimo alone. When making it with nagaimo only, cut nagaimo into thin slices or skinny sticks -- these forms work better with the dressing. Bulky pieces would make the dish taste rather bland.
  • I use kelp-infused rice vinegar in most cooking. Kelp mellows the edgy, pungent sourness of rice vinegar. If using straight rice vinegar, reduce the amount somewhat.
  • Kyuri is usually first rolled with salt (the technique is called itazuri) against the cutting board. This is to remove the small spines on the surface of fresh kyuri, brighten the green color and soften the surface for better flavor absorption. Because it leaves some sodium on kyuri even after rinsing, this process is skipped above. Very fresh kyuri is covered with very fine needle-like spines, especially toward the flower-end. Carefully rub them off while washing.
  • 40% of sodium of salt sprinkled on cucumber slices remains with cucumber after squeezing out excess water after 10 minutes. Above, roughly 0.1 g salt (approx. 40mg sodium) stays with cucumber.

(Last updated: September 24, 2014)

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