I love this stuff, but every time I try to recreate it at home it doesn't come out right. It's edible, but it's just not right.
I went to an asian grocery store this weekend, and it seems like getting the octopus (already cut) from there is probably ideal, but it's too far from where I live.
Any secrets to recreating this dish at home?
Sunomono, as the link I'm going to give you points out, simply refers to a category of vinegared salads, which can be made with (or without) a variety of seafoods - crab, shrimp, octopus - one of my favorite sushi restaurants in Chicago (Ginza Fish) makes it with seaweed and cucumbers, and on top they put a few tiny raw scallops and a slice of raw salmon, along with a little dollop of crab meat. Then they sprinkle it with sesame seeds - it's great!
Here's the link:
Seems like you're fixated on octopus. There's a whole sunomono world out there! Explore!
Good point...sorry it came off like I was only about octopus sunomono...it's just the only one I've tried it at home with (well that and shrimp) and neither time did it work out correctly!
I actually prefer it mixed, with crab, fish and octopus.
Thanks for the article!
Just saw the article...one question...
Perhaps it's not the traditional way to do it, but most restaurants I've been to had a sweet vinegar sunomono, and I didn't see any sugar-like ingredients in the article. Does the sake add the sweetness? Or is it traditionally not sweet?
Thanks for the help!
If you use mirin it will add sweetness. Also some japanese rice vinegars have sugar or corn syrup added.
There are quite a few variations on the vinegar sauce you can use for sunomono. The simplest is rice wine vinegar and either sugar or soy sauce. Or you can use all three. After that the number of ingredients you use is up to your imagination. I use a mixture of rice wine vinegar, mirin, and then add either plain white vinegar or lemon/lime juice if it is too sweet or if not sweet enough some of that red or black vinegar. I sometimes have to add a bit of water or dashi if it is too acidic or a tiny bit of toasted sesame oil to get a smoky hint. Also a little salt can bring the whole thing together. I make a quart at a time at keep it in a jar in the fridge and it improves with a few weeks aging.
My favorite fish to use is mackeral. The vinegar sauce cuts the strong components of the mackeral and brings out all the best flavors. Yellowtail and snapper work well since the sauce brings up their mild flavors.
Be adventerous with the fish you use and add veggies in a thinly sliced, shredded, or grated form such as seaweed, daikon, cucumber, carrot, or fine noodles such as udon, etc.
Thanks for all the suggestions.
I ended up using rice vinegar, a bit of sugar, sake, a few drops of soy sauce, a pinch of salt and a little sesame oil. To that I added japanese cucumber, carrots, red onion, some green onion, small shrimp and fresh ahi tuna (sushi grade). The tuna cooked itself (through the acid in the vinegar) and it came out really nice. Still have a ton left over!
Oh, and one tip I found on most authentic recipes...
Salt the cucumbers (I did all vegetables) and let them sit in a strainer for about 15 minutes. The salt brings out the juices and also makes the cucumbers crispier. It also left a nice flavor on all of the veges. Wash them off before you toss them into the rest of the ingredients.