Friday, January 20, 2012

Cool Tools Plus a Tasty Asian Cucumber Salad

Whether you are eating a raw lifestyle or just trying to eat more fruits and veggies there are some kitchen gadgets that make food prep a lot simpler. Below are some of my favorite discoveries and to show what you can do with them I will be demonstrating their use with a simple yet delicious
Raw Asian Cucumber Salad or better known in Japanese as Sunomono Salad.
A Saladacco Spiralizer

A Spiralizer

This is a Saladacco Spiralizer and it has revolutionized how we think of pasta. No longer do we need wheat and gluten when zucchini, squash and cucumbers can easily take their place, thanks to spiralizers.

This is a handy little tool for making spiralized noodles, and thin slices. You set the blade with a slicing style, either noodles or slices, cut a vegetable (the straighter the vegetable the better) to fit inside the top chamber, in this case a cucumber, center it on the tiny spike, put the top on with the gripper holding the vegetable in place and turn the handle. It's very easy.

The sliced vegetable ends up in the catch basin in the bottom.

For sliced, the vegetable will come out in a ribbon of attached rounds. For noodles no cutting is required. They will be as long as the cut vegetable with the longest being about 3 1/2 inches.

A zucchini spiralized into thin noodles

Saladacco cucumbers left- Mandoline- right

The Mandoline

Another great tool for thin uniform slices and even to julienne is the Mandoline. I originally purchased a stainless steel model that was more expensive but I was surprised to find the vegetables did not move easily over the blade and subsequently the slices came out uneven, ripped and pretty much ruined. This one works so much better, with less effort and was cheaper too and with the catch basin it keeps things a lot cleaner as well.

One word of warning here: as with all mandolines or blades, you have to be very careful and always use the guard to protect your fingers. I have heard many a story of people slicing their fingers, and always without the guard. Don't get cocky!

This unit has various blades that you select for different cutting styles as well as a turn dial on the side that raises and lowers the platform to adjust the thickness of the slices. You simply place the food item flat on the surface and with the guard on top, run the item over the blade.

 A peeled cucumber ready for slicing
The Saladacco sliced cucumbers (top) vs Mandoline sliced (bottom)

For a comparison, I sliced half the cucumber with each, using the thinnest setting on the Mandoline. The Saladacco slices paper thin with the Mandoline slicing at almost twice that thickness.
For the Sunomono Salad the Saladacco size is perfect!

Julienne Peeler

This is a handy little number when you just need to do some quick julienne slices and don't want to get out the mandoline. It's a peeler with little teeth. There is no variation so it's just one size. It's sort of the reverse of a Mandoline in that you drag the blade across the fruit or vegetable.

Julienne Peeler
Julienned Carrots
and now for the salad....

Sunomono Salad (Japanese Cucumber Salad)

This is my favorite thing to order at our local Japanese restaurant. 
I have them hold the crab that is customary in it and I could eat like 3-4 servings. I don't but I could! But now I can make it at home!
It's light and refreshing, slightly sweet yet tangy. 

Asian Dressing Ingredients
1 Large English cucumber- peeled and thinly sliced (English due to fewer seeds and thinner skin.)
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp agave
1/2 tsp nama shoyu
2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tsp sesame oil (optional)
1 Tbsp sesame seeds
a few shreds of carrot

Peel and slice cucumbers. Sprinkle slices with salt, toss and let sit 10 minutes. Gently squeeze out water.

Mix all ingredients except sesame seeds well and then toss with the cucumber. Place in individual bowls, adding a few pieces of carrot to each and then sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve immediately.

For a more authentic salad add some soaked Wakame (seaweed) strips to the salad. I was out of it at the time of this post or I would have included it. It's a great way to get your sea vegetables in but the salad tastes great without it too.

Printer friendly

I hope you try some of these gadgets out or at least give the salad a try.

A spiralizer


Treesa said...

That julienne peeler looks so handy. I think I'll have to add it to my kitchen gadgets! :)
Do you like your mandoline? I had one I hated and ended up giving away. I'd like to get a new one, but I'm not sure which one to get. It has to be easy and safe to use (which my last one was not, even though it cost a fortune for a little kitchen tool).

Jodi~GettingRaw said...

Treesa, I think you will like the little julienne peeler! I DO like my mandoline! As I mentioned I had another that I got at Costco that was horrible and much more expensive. It was hard to use and I felt scared every time I tried to cut something because it slid so sloppily. This one is both easy and safe, plus I like that the "cuttings" are contained.


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