I’ve been in a cooking rut for about a month. I blame this diet. I can’t have bread, onions, garlic, pasta, soy, dairy, and specific fruits and vegetables. And something else I’m forgetting… oh yes, any type of condiment that you can think of. That leaves me most nights eating a simple piece of meat (normally chicken), a cooked potato (sans anything tasty), and a very boring raw salad.
I decided I needed to mix it up and bring more flavor to my pallet, so I looked in my cookbooks and came across this cucumber salad recipe. I had forgotten about this beloved salad, but it’s one of our favorites. I normally make it in the summer, since it is nice and cold, but really it’s fine any time of the year.
I’ve tried to make other salads and slaws with a cucumber base, just to test if I could make it better, but each time J and I agree that this recipe is superior. So, I’m going to stop trying other cucumber salads altogether; this will be my tried and true go-to cucumber salad forever.
It has garlic, sesame seeds and spring onions (all things that I can’t have), but I decided to live on the edge and hope for the best minus those secondary ingredients. And it turned out great! I used garlic powder instead of cloves and omitted the green onions and sesame seeds, and it tastes just fine. I made it twice in the last month and have been munching on it as a snack or side for lunch or dinner, and still am not tired of it.
Sidebar: I’m a big believer in writing in cookbooks. I always like to mark the date I first made the recipe and my initial thoughts right after. It’s so helpful later when you browse through your books! It looks like I made this dish for the first time 4/19/2011, just 10 days after we got married. That was about two days after we got back from our honeymoon! I have such fond memories of those days. :)
Anyway, on to the recipe. It’s pretty self-explanatory, but I want to emphasize the first phase, when the cucumbers soak in the salt and sugar for 30 minutes. You really shouldn’t skip this step, as I tried it once and it wasn’t nearly as flavorful. Hope you enjoy!
- 4 cucumbers
- 1 1/2 Tbsp kosher salt
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- 1/2 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
- 3 cloves garlic, minced (or 1 tsp garlic powder)
- Scant 1 tsp red chili flakes
- 1 Tbsp sesame seeds
- 6 green spring onions
- Peel the cucumbers, leaving a few strips of peel if unwaxed. Cut them in half lengthwise, and scoop out any seeds with a spoon. Slice thinly crosswise.
- Combine the cucumbers, salt, and sugar in a large bowl. Toss the sugar and salt evenly, and let stand for 30 minutes.
- Transfer the cucumbers to a colander and rinse and drain well, then squeeze out excess moisture with your hands. The cucumbers will have become soft and pliable but will still be bright green.
- In a serving bowl, stir together the vinegar, garlic, chili flakes and sesame seeds. Add the cucumbers and toss to coat. Thinly slice the green onions and sprinkle them over the top.
- Cover and refrigerate until well chilled, about 2 hours. At this point, the salad can be refrigerated for up to 1 day before serving. Serve cold.