When I’m pushed for time and need an extra vegetable dish, this rangiri cucumber yuzu salad is the recipe I turn to most often. Essentially a cucumber sunomono (vinegared salad), it provides a nice splash of acidity and colour alongside fish, chicken, rice or miso soup. Rangiri or ‘random-cut’ refers to the chopping technique, or rather the visual effect it creates. It’s actually not random – or complicated – in the slightest. Read on for all the info and a few ideas for variations!
rangiri cutting technique
Often, you’ll see very finely sliced cucumber in this kind of dressed salad. If you don’t core and salt the cucumber first, however, such slices will end up limp and watery. That’s why, in a hurry, I prefer the crunchy, angular shards created by rangiri. To make salad-sized rangiri pieces from a regular cucumber, just do the following:
- For two servings, take between 1/3 and 1/2 of a salad cucumber, excluding the ends.
- Optionally, remove alternate strips of the cucumber skin using a vegetable peeler.
- Halve the section of cucumber lengthways and cut each half into 3 equal triangular batons.
- Place the first length at an acute angle to the knife blade and cut one piece from the end.
- Maintaining the same knife angle, rotate the baton to its next face and cut another piece.
- Repeat step 5, making sure the cucumber’s skin is on one face of each piece.
N.B. For larger rangiri pieces, we usually rotate a long, whole vegetable (e.g. a carrot) by 1/4 between cuts. Here, to make smaller pieces, we’re slicing the cucumber into six triangular batons. Rotating these by 1/3 between cuts means you will have to skip one cut every so often to avoid making a piece with no skin. Just rotate once more and carry on.
recipe: rangiri cucumber yuzu salad
A quick cucumber salad with a hint of citrus.
- 1/3 to 1/2 salad cucumber
- 1 tsp dried grated yuzu peel (or fresh grated lemon zest)
- 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 2-3 tsps soy sauce
- Chop the cucumber into small rangiri pieces as described in the article above.
- In a bowl, dress the cucumber pieces thoroughly with the other ingredients. There is no need to marinate.
- As indicated, you can substitute fresh grated lemon zest for dried yuzu peel in this recipe. (I will not assume you have easy access to fresh yuzu!)
- If you wish, you can swap the citrus for shichimi or black sesame seeds.
- The dressing above is based on what I term ‘classic’ nihaizu (two cup vinegar), i.e. roughly equal parts soy sauce and rice wine vinegar. If you want to mix it up a little, have a look at my guide to sunomono dressings!