Kaga cucumbers (a thick Japanese cucumber variety) are only known to a few! Here in Kanazawa prefecture, it is served with a thick (ankake). You can also use this recipe for overgrown cucumbers or winter melon.
You can use 400 ml water and 3 tablespoons light mentsuyu as a substitute for the dashi stock and usukuchi soy sauce.
This is a Kaga variety cucumber. It's just one of Kaga's vegetables that is in season. It's more than twice as thick and long as a common Japanese cucumber! Peel the skins before cooking.
Cut the cucumber into 3-mm thick slices. Although they look like regular cucumbers, the seeds are also large, like the cucumber itself.
Quarter the slices and scoop out seeds with a spoon. The slices in the background still have seeds, and the seeds of those in the foreground are removed.
Put dashi stock, sugar, and thick cucumber slices into a pot, and heat.
Once the pot comes to a boil, add the ingredients marked with a ★, and simmer for about 5 minutes.
They should have a nice crisp texture after boiling for around 5 minutes. If you prefer a softer texture, boil longer.
Add shredded imitation crab meat sticks, continue simmering, then remove from the heat and stir in the ☆ katakuriko dissolved in water.
While stirring, return to heat, and remove from heat once the broth thickens, then leave to cool.
It's better and the flavors are infused better after the dish has chilled thoroughly. On warm days, chill in the refrigerator.
Story Behind this Recipe
A native vegetable in Kaga prefecture, Kaga cucumbers are larger and wider than common Japanese cucumbers. The flesh is thick and has a dense texture, and can be used in cooking. It has such substance that it can even be featured in a main dish. In the summertime, serve this dish chilled, and the ankake thick sauce will cool you down nicely.
The imitation crab meat is optional. Minced chicken or shrimp also goes well in this recipe. Light soy sauce enhances the color of the fresh green cucumbers better than regular soy sauce. This dish will also be delicious if you use your homegrown overgrown fat cucumbers to make this dish, too.