In Japan, noodles are not usually involved, and sunomono is usually served as a small side dish with many other foods. The name "sunomono" refers simply to the food ("mono") and the fact that it is served with vinegar ("su") Any number of sunomono dishes exist depending on the season, the region, and the mood of the Chef. Vegetables are particularly popular and taste lightly "pickled" from the vinegar in the dressing.
Tosazu from Kochi in Japan
Two very basic recipes are the starting points for sunomono dressings. NI-HAIZU mixes two ingredients ("ni"=2) soy sauce and rice vinegar. SAN-BAIZU adds a third ingredient, sugar ("san"=3). Dashi (a Japanese stock made from dried tuna and seaweed) can be added, as with the "tosazu".
Sunomono is an excellent option for vegans and vegetarians as neither meat nor seafood is necessary as the main ingredient, nor in the dressing.
Another popular Japanese salad is "GOMA AE". Outside Japan this is almost always served as a blanched spinach with a sweet sesame or peanut dressing. Actually, "goma" means sesame and "ae" means dressing. Other green vegetables such as asparagus, green beans or rapini are commonly served as "goma ae" dishes in Japan. Crushed sesame seeds, soy sauce and sugar are the main ingredients. Peanut sauce and creamy, overly sweet dressings overpower the veggies and are not preferred in Japan.
Heard of soba, somen and/or unagi? They are a few Japanese summer favourites! Stay tuned for more, have a great week!