Salted Kelp Cucumber Salad

This is a 5-minute, 5-ingredient recipe for salted kelp cucumber salad. It makes a super quick side dish to go with any meal. A cucumber salad cannot get any faster and easier than this.

Salted Kelp Cucumber Salad Recipe

See Also:


Salted Kelp (Shio Kombu)
I bought a packet of Japanese salted kelp (Shio kombu, 塩こんぶ) from Daiso for S$2 and I fell in love with this ingredient instantly. It is the main ingredient that provides the umami oomph to this quick cucumber salad. If you like salty & savoury flavours with an umami depth, you should check out this ingredient too. According to the packaging, the salted kelp can be used for onigiri, stir-fries, pickles and more.

Salted Kelp (Shio Kombu)

On closer look, there is crystallised salt on the surface of the kelp which will dissolve when the kelp comes into contact with liquids.


Salted Kelp Cucumber Salad (Step 1/3)
Cut the cucumber to uniform chunks. Optional: Rotate & cut the cucumber (pictured above). This gives a different presentation to the usual cut cucumber.

Salted Kelp Cucumber Salad (Step 2/3)
Add a small handful of salted kelp …

Salted Kelp Cucumber Salad (Step 3/3)
… followed by vinegar (from Daiso), a mini packet of bonito flakes (also from Daiso) and sesame oil.

Note: The bonito flakes are optional. On one occasion of making this salad, I added a packet of bonito flakes and I really liked it! You can skip the bonito flakes if you don’t have this ingredient, or if you want to keep this cucumber salad vegan.

Salted Kelp Cucumber Salad Recipe
Mix everything well, season to taste and the salted kelp cucumber salad is done!

Black Fungus (Ramen Topping Recipe)
A simple & quick pickled cucumber like this will make any simple Japanese dish become a more complete meal. On a busy weekday after work, I served the cucumber salad with a bowl of ramen topped with black fungus, scallions & fish cake. 

Salted Kelp Cucumber Salad

This 5-minute cucumber salad keeps well in the fridge overnight, although this recipe is so easy that I recommend making and eating it on the same day for maximum freshness.

If you skip the bonito flakes, add more salted kelp to taste.

Check out the step-by-step photos on the previous page.


  • 1 medium Japanese cucumber (about 160g)
  • a small handful (5 grams) salted kelp (Shio kombu, 塩こんぶ)
  • 1/2 tbsp clear vinegar
  • 1 mini sachet (2.5 grams) bonito flakes optional
  • 1/2 tbsp sesame oil add more if the salad is too dry


  1. Cut cucumber to small uniform chunks. Optional: Rotate & cut the cucumber for a different presentation.
  2. In a large bowl, add the rest of the ingredients. Stir through to mix well, making sure all the kelp is moistened & slippery. Alternatively, put all the ingredients in a tightly lid food container and shake energetically until everything is well mixed. Season to taste. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Cooking Note(s):

  1. If the cucumber salad not salty enough to your liking, add more salted kelp to taste.
  2. The bonito flakes are optional but I like that they add a different umami depth to this cucumber salad. Skip this ingredient if you want to keep this salad vegetarian.