Pickled cucumber salad is one of our favorite side cold dish. Not only is it refreshing, and cooling and it goes with just about everything. It is crunchy, hydrating, and bursting with flavors. It comes together in less than 15 minutes, but the flavors intensify if you let it marinate for a few hours. This dish tastes even better the next day! We had a pizza party for my birthday, and we made it to balance the starchiness of the pizza. It was awesome!
English cucumbers are perfect for this dish because they are long, don’t have many seeds and coil beautifully. Most cucumbers have a waxy coating that help retain moisture during transportation. It can easily be removed by mixing a tablespoon of baking soda with a tablespoon of lemon juice with a little water and use it on a towel to wipe the was off.
The trick to get a cucumber to coil is a two part cut.
I am sure that this slicing technique has a different name, but the result looks just like a beautiful coiled snake so that’s what I am calling it! Very similar to Hasselback potatoes, cucumbers are sliced vertically using two chopsticks so that the bottom remains connected.
Then you flip the cucumber over and make light diagonal cuts in the area that is still connected. Be careful at both tips to not cut through. This magically creates a soft coil that opens up. It is pretty cool.
Softening the cucumber
It is recommended to sprinkle some salt over the sliced cucumber to make them sweat a little. By releasing some of the water, the cucumber can better absorb the pickling juice. Don’t skip this step! It only takes a few minutes!
Combine some soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, minced garlic cloves, red pepper flakes or chili paste.
The key is to heat some oil and quickly pour over the sliced cucumber. This sizzles the spices and marinade into the cucumber.
Finish with some sesame seeds and fresh cilantro.
Make extra because it will go quickly
Pickled Chinese Cucumber Salad
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 tbsp agave, maple or brown sugar
- 1 tsp sesame oil (regular or toasted)
- 2 cloves of garlic minced
- 1 tsp chili flakes or chili paste
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 tsp white sesame seeds
- 1/3 cup fresh cilantro
Prepare the cucumber
- Remove the wax by placing the cucumber in a bowl of lemon juice, baking soda and water.
- Place a chopstick on either side of the cucumber.
- Using a sharp knife, make vertical cuts stopping on the chopsticks.
- Flip the cucumber over and make diagonal cuts.
- Place the sliced cucumber in a shallow bowl.
- Sprinkle a little salt over the cucumber and set aside for 5 minutes.
Make the marinade
- Combine 2 tbsp soy sauce, with 2 tbsp rice vinegar, sweetener, 1 tsp sesame oil, minced garlic, red chili flakes. Pour on the sliced cucumber.
- In a small pan, heat up 2 tbsp of oil with a pinch of salt. Carefully pour over the cucumber.
- Using a spoon, scoop some of the marinade and drizzle in between the slices.
- Sprinkle some sesame seeds and freshly chopped cilantro.