TOKYO | WASHOKU @ LIVING renewal in progress !!!

Authentic Japanese Cucumbers |神田四葉・相模半白きゅうり

As far as my memory goes, this year’s rainy season in Tokyo seem to go back to a norm cycle of raining since the start, early June to the present day. It has been wet, raining, drizzling, mizzle, downpour, cats and dog…name it, it has been raining a lot and still no signs of end proclamation yet from the weather bureau.

So this is our view from our kitchen, most everyday. Rather grim looking, not much sunlight.


This weekend, our family friend, who takes cares of a piece of farm land outside Tokyo has brought to us, an unusual cucumber which I personally have never seen. Cucumbers in Europe and/or the United States tend to be large in size, but Japanese cucumbers as like our nationality are dainty and small. Apparently these cucumbers are as large as ones encountered in Ireland and Los Angeles, to know it is called “Kanda Suyo Long Cucumber” and “Sagami Hanjiro Cucumber”.

さて、週末に我が家の友人で埼玉の方に畑を管理している人から珍しい胡瓜をいただきました。神田四葉胡瓜 (かんだすうようきゅうり)、相模半白胡瓜 (さがみはんじろきゅうり)というそうでどちらも私には馴染みのない胡瓜でした。神田四葉胡瓜 は細長く、30cmほどの長さと存在感は外国の胡瓜を伺わせます。相模半白胡瓜はお尻のほうが黄色くなっていて、半分くらいが白いきゅうりです。どちらもイボイボがかなりゴジラ風でサラダには堪え難い力強さを感じました。


「相模半白胡瓜 」江戸以前に渡来した華南系。 どちらも一晩考えて食材として使用してみました。

“Kanda Suyo Long Cucumber“, it’s origin seems to from China’s Shandong Province trailing through Korea to Japan. As there are many iboibos (spikes), it lookis somewhat stiff, but it has a crispy texture and softness.

“Sagami Hanjiro Cucumber” is a cucumber which it’s origin seems to be from south China, spread into Japan during the Edo period (around 1600). The flesh is almost white.

Kanda Suyo Long Cucumber | 神田四葉胡瓜

It took me overnight to figure what might be suitable for these unusual cucumber but this is a very typical Japanese way of treating pickled vegetables, ‘Tamara-zuke’ style.

  • Cucumbers are thinly sliced (with a vegetable slicer) and a pinch of salt added, leaving it aside for about 30 minutes, until the cucumber becomes quite soft and water oozing out from the flesh.
  • Using a paper tower, tightly squeeze and drain the water.
  • Add wafer thin ginger and myoga to the cucumber.
  • In a small sauce pan, boil 50cc of soy sauce, 10cc of vinegar, approx. 1 tablespoon of sugar, slices of red pepper (chili) and bring to boil.
  • Let it cool down before combining it with the cucumber.
  • たまり漬けレシピ 
  • 胡瓜をスライサーで薄くスライスし、少量の塩をまぶして30分ほど置いておく。水が上がってきたら硬く絞り、千切りの生姜とみようがを足しておく。
  • 小鍋に50cc程度の濃口醤油、10cc程度の米酢、大匙1杯の砂糖と鷹の爪を入れて、沸かしたら火を止めて冷まします。
  • お醤油の粗熱が取れたら胡瓜を混ぜ合わせます。冷蔵庫で保管。

Sagami Hanjiro Cucumber | 相模半白胡瓜 

At first sight, the white and large flesh seemed unsuitable for fresh salad use, to think these cucumbers were from China, I tried the typical Chinese way…sautéed cucumbers.

  • Cucumbers cut into medium thickness, not too thin, not too thick.
  • Using about 2 tablespoons of sesame oil, sauté the cucumbers in relatively high heat.
  • Add dried shrimps, 1 teaspoon of toubanjan (Chinese hot chili), 2 tablespoons of sake, 1 tablespoon of oyster sauce.
  • 豆板醤とごま油炒め
  • 胡瓜をやや太め(1cm弱)の斜切りにして、大匙2杯のごま油で炒める。胡瓜が透き通ってきたら、大匙2杯お酒と小匙1杯豆板醤と大匙1杯オイスターソースを入れて絡めれあげる。

I know these cucumbers are not attainable anywhere except in Japan, even here on rare occasions but this style of cooking can be applied to any cucumber (I think).

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