Last Updated on July 8, 2021
Are you looking for a recipe that requires no cooking? Try this Cucumber with Umeboshi Paste. It’s authentically Japanese made with the traditional ingredient, umeboshi paste. This quick, healthy and delicious recipe is vegan, and has no added oil, takes only 3 ingredients to make!
Umeboshi is Japanese pickled plum. It’s salty and sour and you may find the taste to be overpowering when you take the very first bite. Don’t be scared! You just need to know what to do with it then it can be your next favorite Japanese ingredient to incorporate into your cooking. The most common way to eat umeboshi is with rice. However you can also use it as an ingredient to make delicious sauce or salad dressing!
In Japan, there are different types of umeboshi available;
- Plain (meaning pickled just with salt)
- With shiso perilla
- With honey
- With bonito flakes etc.
As you can see some are not vegan-friendly. Make sure to check the ingredients! They’re typically sold as a whole, meaning not a form of paste. I use the paste one for this recipe but if you can’t find it, don’t worry! You can buy the whole one, remove the seed, then place it on a cutting board and use a knife to chop it until it becomes a paste.
A lot of Japanese dishes are prepared with very minimum ingredients to highlight and focus on the natural flavors. To make this recipe, you need;
- English Cucumber
- Umeboshi Paste
- Toasted Sesame Seeds
Yes, that’s really it!
About the Cucumber
Now, the fun part of making this dish is to beat the cucumber. It’s a pretty common method of Japanese cooking. It partially crushes the flesh of the outer skin so the rough surface holds whatever the seasonings that you combine it with.
To beat the cucumber, simply place the whole cucumber on a cutting board. Cut both ends off then use a rolling pin to beat it gently until the outer skin slightly cracks and the inside feels tender. After that cut it into bite size pieces and get ready to season them.
How to Serve
The dish on its own can be a great appetizer or side dish. However, it’s the best to serve with a bowl of rice! It’s also pairs well with chilled sake or white/rose wine.
My homemade toasted sesame seeds add natural oil to the dish, as well as the nutty taste especially when I use ones that are freshly made. For me, I enjoy making dishes this way using only natural oil. However, if you prefer to add some richness, feel free to add toasted sesame oil. Obliviously, that will make the dish no longer “no added oil” but it’s perfectly delicious addition!
Try other recipes using umeboshi paste!
Cucumber with Umeboshi Paste
- 9-10 oz English cucumber
- 1 tbsp umeboshi paste (a paste of Japanese pickled plum)
- 1 tsp toasted sesame seeds
- Place a whole cucumber on a cutting board. Cut off both ends, then use a rolling pin to beat it gently until the outer skin slightly cracks and the inside (flesh) has slightly broken down.
- Cut the cucumber into bite size chunks then transfer to a prep bowl. Add umeboshi paste and toasted sesame seeds. Mix until the cucumber is evenly coated with the umeboshi paste.
- Umeboshi paste is very salty and sour. Be careful with adding too much.
- As a non-oil-free option, add a few dashes of toasted sesame oil for some richness.
- Any leftovers can be stored in the fridge for 1-2 days.