|Posted on October 5, 2009 at 6:53 PM|
When one of my films premiered in Tokyo a few years ago, my friend Yumiko whom I have known since I was 13 years old gave me this handmade grater in the shape of a crane as a present. In Japan, the crane, along with the turtle, is the symbol of longevity and good luck. At first I regarded this grater as something to admire and not as a tool for my kitchen. I kept it in the original box and it sat in my closet next to the jewelry box, as if waiting for its turn to be worn one day. But no, that's not what this metal crane was born to do. I finally let the bird out of the box the other day and put it to use in my kitchen. This tin plated copper crane works very well as a grater, especially with ginger. If you look at the surface of the grater, you can see its rows of sharp teeth. They are individually cut by hand. Unlike the plastic and stainless steel graters that I have, this artisinal grater makes a smoother and creamier grated ginger. The grater is also lovely to look at so you can bring it right to the table. Today, I made a wakame and cucumber sunomo with grated ginger.
Cucumbers soaking in salt water
Wakame and Cucumber Sunomono
1 medium European cucumber or 2 persian cucumbers, peeled and sliced thinly, 1/8 inch thick pieces
2 tbls dried and cut wakame seaweed, reconstituted in water
1 tsp peeled and grated ginger
1 tsp salt
Rice Vinegar Dressing
3 tbls rice vinegar
1 tbls Yuzu or any citrus juice (lime, orange, lemon)
2 tsp sugar
1/2 tbls soy sauce
Dried wakame can be found in cut size pieces or larger
pieces which you will have to cut up.
In water, Wakame is back to its happy self.
Make the vinegar dressing by combing the vinegar, soysauce, sugar, citrus juice and dashi. You can make the dashi 2-3 days in advance and use the dashi for making Miso Soup if you like.
Reconstitute the dried wakame in a bowl of water. It will expand to about triple in size.This will take about 2 - 5 minutes, depending on the size of the seaweed. If you have uncut wakame seaweed, cut them in 1/2 inch pieces before you dehydrate them. Squeeze out excess water and set aside. (Note: You don't want to let the wakame dry out so if you are not planning to make the sunomo right away, leave the wakame in the bowl of water and keep it in the fridge for up to a couple hours.)
Peel and slice the cucumbers into 1/8 inch thick pieces. Rub 1 teaspoon of salt and transfer the salted cucumbers to a bowl. Fill with enough water to cover. Let stand in the brine for 5-10 minutes in the fridge. Drain water and squeeze out excess water.
When you are ready to serve the sunomono, take the wakame out of the water and squeeze out excess water. Combine wakame and cucumbers in a serving bowl. Toss together. Make a nice mound. Season with the vinegar dressing and garnish with grated ginger. Serve immediately.
Additonal garnish: You can sprinkle roasted sesame seeds if you like.