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Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Mực Nộm Dưa Leo (Octopus Cucumber Salad)

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The sun's harsh rays and hot summer heat here in Sacramento has been making me lazy and losing the will to cook and yet I still need to feed the family. 

Well, how about an octopus cucumber salad?

Crisp, cool, elegant, simple and yet well balanced, this salad is perfect for any summer meal. It's one of the salads that my girls and husband really enjoy. The seasoned octopus that I purchased from my local Oto's Japanese market has a delicate flavor, tastes sweet, and has a tender and only slightly chewy texture which I like. It adds contrasting bites to the refreshing crunchy cucumber slices, and the spicy, tangy, tasty radish sprouts.  The light, deliciously tangy taste of yuzu citrus flavored dressing brings out a clean, refreshing flavor to this octopus salad.  

Don't worry if you can't find this yuzu citrus flavored dressing. You can whip a similar salad up with just a few ingredients: soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, lemon juice, or lime juice, or yuzu juice, and sugar.  

Yuzu is a unique Japanese citrus fruit grown in East Asia. It is now inspiring fusion chefs throughout the world. I actually bought a small yuzu tree from Costco this late spring. It might take a couple years to blossom and produce fruit but I am waiting patiently. But you can find bottles of yuzu juice in some Asian markets.
RECIPE: Octopus Cucumber Salad

1 piece  sushi-grade seasoned octopus
4 Persian cucumbers or 1 English cucumber
1 pack radish sprouts
1 jalapeño, optional
shredded seaweed, for garnish
bonito flakes, for garnish
1/4 cup yuzu citrus flavored dressing
1 full teaspoon chili oil with crunch garlic, optional
Prepping Octopus

This sushi-grade seasoned octopus is typically pre-cooked.  It  costs around $31 per pound. This small piece I purchased costed me $7. I could have gotten a bigger piece so my daughters and I didn't have to fight for the octopus on the salad plate.

Slice octopus thinly. Set aside.

Prepping Cucumbers

Slice Persian cucumbers thinly. If used English cucumber, halve each lengthwise, slice cucumber thinly.  Set aside.
Prepping Radish Sprouts

Trim off  the roots of radish sprouts and discard.  Cut radish sprout into half.  Set aside.


Prepping Jalapeño

Slice jalapeño thinly. Set aside.
Prepping Yuzu Citrus Dressing

Shake up  the bottle of the yuzu dressing, then pour 1/4 cup of it to a small bowl.  If used chili oil with crunch garlic, mix a teaspoon of it to the yuzu dressing.  Set aside.

Tossing the Salad

In a mixing bowl, add the cucumber, octopus, radish sprouts, jalapeño, yuzu dressing and toss all together.  Serve as is or chill in the refrigerator for about 10-15 minutes.

Before serving, transfer octopus cucumber salad into a serving plate, garnish the octopus salad with a large pinch of shredded seaweed and bonito flakes.


Eat well.  Stay healthy. 

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