I have often thought I was Japanese in a former life. Yes, I know I have also claimed a past-life connection with many a culture whilst in the midst of a culinary-inspired orgasm. What can I say? The way to my heart is through my stomach. The mouth-watering taste sensations of Thai, Vietnamese, Italian and Spanish cuisines (just to name a few) have bewitched me on more than a few occasions, transporting me into a pleasure-induced coma with delusions almost powerful enough to make me surrender my beloved Australian passport and move across the world just for the food!

However, as wonderful as the cuisines of so many nations are, if I had to name one as my all-time favourite or "desert island delight" it would have to be Japanese food. 

My Japanese friend Mikaho, who is really like my second sister, the kindred spirit who has mopped up the blood this year and helped me heal my heart. Mika was literally the first friend I made when I moved to L.A to start my degree at UCLA almost 20 years ago. (Ouch! Has it been that long?) Fortunately, the stinging realization of the years that have passed is sweetened by the rich enduring friendship/sisterhood that has grown from a lifetime of shared experiences. Mika and her gorgeous boys, Rei and Kai, welcomed me into their home when I moved out to L.A with a loving embrace that continues to feed and nurture me. I will always cherish the time I spent living with them -- the late night conversation, bottle-of-wine debriefs, games of UNO and so many other fun times, and we are just getting started.

But one of the best things about living with a Japanese family? The food! Mika is a phenomenal cook, with a natural flare for flavours, and I admit without any hesitation or embarrassment that I am suffering chronic withdrawals now that I no longer have daily access to her inspired Japanese dishes. Mika is my number one foodie, who I trust to lead the way to every heavenly bite in L.A. No-one "nose" how to eat their way around this town better than her!

So, I post this simple little Japanese seaweed and cucumber salad in honour of Mika today. I can never have enough seaweed in my trough. But I acknowledge that it is not always palatable to everyone else. Seaweed and cucumber salads are bursting with flavour, but they are often made with sauces that contain a lot of sugar. We have modified a traditional favourite using fresh raw lemon juice and coconut nectar, making this salad a quick, easy and spectacular introduction to seaweed. 

I love you Mika.

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Vegan Seaweed and Cucumber Salad

Super Seaweed and Cucumber Salad

salad ingredients:

  • 4 cups cut wakame soaked for 10 minutes and then rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups julienned cucumber
  • 1 Tbsp gomasio for garnishing

dressing ingredients:

  • 3 Tbsp wheat free tamari
  • 4 Tbsp brown rice vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp cold pressed sesame oil
  • 4 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tsp freshly minced ginger
  • 3 tsp coconut nectar
  1. Mix together the seaweed and cucumber in a large bowl.
  2. To make the dressing throw all the ingredients in your Vitamix and pulse a few times until well combined. Or just gently beat with a whisk or fork.
  3. Toss the dressing through the salad and garnish with some gomasio or plain sesame seeds.
  4. Serves 8


the best way to clean your blender

After blending up something sticky, gooey or smelly, just place a few drops of soap in the carriage with some warm water and blend on high until all of the congealed food slips away from the blades and sides. Then repeat this process. Then rinse with water and presto! Clean carriage. 
If you have smells or stains repeat this process with some bicarbonate of soda or lemon juice and water. 
Check out the video on A No Hassle Way To Clean Your Blender that I did as part of the Chow Tips Series.

I LOVE seaweed salads. Can’t wait to give this one a go. Loved the story Tess :)


Trust Mika (& Tess) - has to be good!


I love seaweed salads and this one is great.


My daughter served this up to me the other day! She showed me your site so i could let you know how wonderful i thought it was. Your site is very well presented. Well done

Elizabeth Carrington - Feb 27, 2011 at 12:18pm #

This was yummy Tess! Thankyou for sharing all of your super easy recipes :)


YUM!!  Thank you for the link, this looks fantastic thank you!!


I love seaweed salads and this one was fantastic.


I am glad you all enjoyed this recipe.
MIka is an AMAZING cook!

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