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Here is the second part of Saturday’s Japanese dinner. For the full menu and a list of sakés, please have a look at part 1.

Sushi

For many, a Japanese dinner without sushi is unthinkable, so we had sushi. Good and easy finger food. I won’t include a recipe here as there are hundreds of places online where you’ll find good, detailed instructions on sushi making.

Takuan (pickled daikon radish) and  ume (pickled Japanese plum) + cucumber sushi are classic vegetable rolls. Avocado + yamagobo rolls are my creation, I think, as I’ve never seen them out there.

Yamagobo isn’t pickled carrot has I’ve heard it described before but pickled burdock root. Its crisp texture, mild bitterness and earthy flavour complement the rich and creamy avocado very well or at least that’s my non-Japanese-chef appreciation of it. Give it a try and tell me what you think.

Cucumber, wakame and tororo sunomono

Sunomono is a vinegary vegetable salad. This version had cucumber and 2 kinds of seaweed. Tart and refreshing, it’s a good palate cleanser after a richer dish.

Tororo konbu is a little harder to find but so worth it. I don’t think there’s any substitute for its flavour and texture. It’s basically kelp soaked in vinegar for a day, dried and shaved into hair thin silvery filaments.  It’s used in soups, as a flavouring for rice balls and in sunomono. I’m thinking smoked Tororo konbu could make an interesting substitute for bonito flakes (tuna, therefore not vegan) omnipresent in Japanese cooking. I’ll have to experiment with that.

Ingredients

  • 1 small cucumber, sliced thinly
  • 250 ml (1 cup) wakame seaweed, soaked, drained and cut into 5 cm (2″) pieces
  • 45 ml (3 tbsp) dry tororo konbu seaweed, torn up.
  • 45 ml (3 tbsp) rice wine vinegar
  • 10 ml (2 tsp) sugar
  • 2 ml (1/2 tsp) salt

Preparation

Put the cucumber in a bowl, add salt and set aside for 20 minutes. Squeeze cucumber to drain well. Mix vinegar and sugar in a bowl. Add wakame and cucumber and mix well.  Serve garnished with tororo konbu.

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